Dr. Tywana Groce does not want you to hate visiting the dentist, but she understands if you do.
After practicing dentistry for almost 10 years, she says her high self-esteem is the reason it doesn’t bother her when people say they dread the dentist.
But she also aims to make her patients’ visits as comfortable as possible by providing nitrous oxide, also referred to as laughing gas, and she recently started doing IV sedation to help patients feel less nervous.
Still, she said she understands nerves might not only be generated from fear of the dental cleaning alone. There’s also the possible fear of being judged or of not being able to afford care.
“They’re either afraid of the dentist or maybe they’ve had a bad experience… You have people from all different walks of life,” Groce said.
That includes patients who speak a different language. This is why Dr. Groce strives for diversity within her private practice, as she understands patients might feel more comfortable, especially if language barriers are a factor. Currently, two people at Groce’s office speak Spanish fluently to ensure her patients are making decisions they understand completely.
She also wants to make sure her patients understand their insurance without the headache, which she says she hears quite often. Ensuring better communication and understanding all scopes of dental health, even the insurance side, is one of Groce’s goals.
Groce is a member of the Minority Business Accelerator, a program created to promote diversity within economics in the city. At first, she says she was hesitant to participate but wanted to understand how to grow her business, which is often not taught in schools of dentistry. Since the program focuses on all aspects of business, Groce finds the program helpful as it allows participants to “learn some things that you never really think about.”
Born in 2012 as the brainchild of the Greenville Chamber’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative, the MBA program went statewide in 2021, thanks to a grant from Bank of America. Now helping startup-business owners in Charleston and Columbia as well as Greenville, the program supports and scales high-potential minority-owned firms by providing training, access to business coaches and access to large corporations.
For her part in the program, Groce developed a strategic growth plan spanning from 2022 to 2026.
It gave her a chance to detail her vision to have a “diverse team, accept a diverse clientele, and be willing to see those patients that are often rejected and forgotten.”
And yes, that includes those who are afraid of the dentist too.