BREVARD COUNTY — When you’re passionate about the job you do, the personal interactions you make on a daily basis become more meaningful.
Dr. Gerald Bird has been serving the community in many ways than just providing a dental practice since he opened his own oral and maxillofacial surgery in 1985. He also serves on the board of the Florida Dental Association (FDA) and for 22 years he has been involved at a local level with the annual Tooth Trot 5K.
Yet it was still a surprise to Dr. Bird when the FDA decided to announce that he would be recognized as the Dentist of the Year.
“It was pretty humbling and not expected,” Dr. Bird said. “They surprised me pretty good with that one. When you’re going about doing what you think you’re supposed to be doing to help your profession, and then your peers recognize you, it was such an honor.”
Not many professionals know what they want to be growing up, but for Dr. Bird, he was interested in going into the dental field at a young age.
“I’ve wanted to be a dentist since I was 10 or 11 years old,” Dr. Bird remarked. “At one point in college, I was thinking of going into medicine instead of dentistry, and then when I got into dental school I realized through the years that oral and maxillofacial surgery is the bridge between medicine and dentistry.”
With February as children’s dental health month, Dr. Bird said his wife and a fellow dentist’s wife were inspired to create a fundraiser to bring attention to those services. Thus, the Tooth Trot 5K was born.
For 22 years, the Tooth Trot 5K has benefited the Give Kids a Smile program, which in Brevard County, offers children a free dental exam once a year at Eastern Florida State College in Cocoa.
“One of the biggest struggles we have is getting parents to bring their children to the clinic on a Saturday,” Dr. Bird said. “We try to get the word out as best we can. We get about 100 children to come out, and we usually have enough dentists who volunteer that day that we could serve more.”
In addition to serving the needs of his own practice in Cocoa, Dr. Bird spends part of the year traveling to Washington D.C. or Tallahassee as a representative of the FDA. Currently he serves the board as the second vice president.
Dr. Bird’s dental practice is located at 96 Willard St., Suite 105, Cocoa.
For more information, call (321) 631-7000 or visit www.drsbirdandjohnson.com.