Dr. Billie Sue Kyger, DDS, Selected to Receive Ohio Dental Association
Distinguished Dentist Award
By Stephanie Pilgrim
For well over 20 years of service to the dental profession and dental education, Dr. Billie Sue Kyger, DDS, will receive the 2011 Ohio Dental Association Distinguished Dentist Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Association. The award will be presented on Friday, Sept. 16, at this year’s Callahan Celebration of Excellence, held in conjunction with the 145th ODA Annual Session in Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. Kyger first became involved with organized dentistry through the American Student Dental Association. “I knew that dentistry was not just going to be my job, but a lifelong passion,” she said. “During that year [at the American Student Dental Association], ASDA passed a resolution in the ADA to give dental students the first seats as members of the House of Delegates. That significant accomplishment was just the beginning of an incredible journey in organized dentistry that has been such a special part of my life.” She then went on to become the national Vice President of the American Student Dental Association from 1982-83.
On receiving the 2011 ODA Distinguished Dentist Award, Dr. Kyger said it is very gratifying. “I am extremely grateful and proud to be the recipient of this distinguished award,” she said. “The greatest honor one can receive is to be recognized by your peers ‘at home’. I have been truly blessed to have both exceptional mentors and friends throughout my professional career.”
For almost three decades, Dr. Kyger has been actively involved in organized dentistry. She says becoming involved in organized dentistry was one of the best professional decisions she made as a young dentist. “A young practitioner has a wonderful opportunity to network with other dentists and be a part of the constant transformation of their profession,” she said. “I can honestly say that I have gained so much from my experiences and cannot imagine my career without my involvement in organized dentistry.”
“Dr. Kyger has served as a mentor and example to me and all young members in our society,” wrote Dr. Hans Guter, President of the Rehwinkle Dental Society in his nomination letter. “She has demonstrated that you can serve your profession, run a successful practice, be a leader in your community and most importantly have a wonderful family.”
“Throughout her career, Dr. Kyger has exemplified exceptional leadership and unfaltering dedication to the profession,” said Dr. Thomas Matanzo, President of the Ohio Dental Association. “She is an asset not only to her community, but also to the practice of dentistry.”
Dentistry has provided many memorable experiences for Dr. Kyger; however, some stand out more than others. “The privilege of serving as president of both the Ohio Dental Association and the Ohio State Dental Board has been a very special part of my dental leadership experience,” she said. “While the two entities have many similarities and many differences, the common goal of improving oral health care for our patients remains the top priority for both the ODA and the Board. There were challenges and celebrations with both organizations, but at the end of the day, the experience was priceless!”
Dr. Kyger also notes what she believes to be the most important thing she has learned through dentistry. “While hard work, commitment to excellence and solid business practices are essential keys for success, it is the way you treat and care for your patients that is the most important,” she said. Her work in the field of dentistry is far from over. When asked about her goals for the future, Dr. Kyger explained her passion. “I have a very strong commitment to both organized dentistry and to dental education. I hope to remain active in the ADA and ODA and become more involved in dental education,” she said. “Constant learning is the heart of a good professional while commitment to organized dentistry is the energy of the future.”
Dr. Kyger received her BS in Pharmacy from The Ohio State University in 1979. After receiving her DDS from OSU in 1993, Dr. Kyger began her career in dentistry in Gallipolis, Ohio where she has practiced for 27 years.