Kids laughed with glee as District 153 teachers and administrators were dropped into a tank of chilly water during the Foundation 153 fun fest on Aug. 25. Nearby, staff from Lisa Grant Orthodontics, the sponsor of the dunk tank, were collecting money for the foundation.
The joy and giving of a fun activity like that might exemplify Grant's approach to her practice. Wearing braces and other orthodontic appliances might not always be comfortable, but Grant and her staff find ways to compensate.
Grant is celebrating 25 years in business, and she said her goal is always to make the orthodontic experience a fun one for her patients.
"We have so much fun," she said. "Our entire team is very much excited to meet our patients, develop relationships with them. We like to surprise and delight them."
For example, Aug. 6 might have been just another day at the office, but it was National Root Beer Float Day, and that provided the staff an excuse to serve frosty treats to patients.
Grant said she was always attracted to the medical field and initially planned to be a doctor. After she met her future husband, Cary Goldberg, who was studying to be a dentist, she decided to switch to that field. Goldberg currently is a partner at the Center for Dental Excellence in Flossmoor.
When she considered a specialty, memories of her own experience with braces guided her decision.
"It was a happy time. It was always really fun," she said.
She found that orthodontic work is an opportunity to bring more than a pleasant experience to her patients. Improving dental health and personal appearance can have sometimes dramatic effects on patients' self-esteem and confidence.
That's why Grant has been active in Smiles Change Lives, a nationwide nonprofit organization that supports orthodontic services for children from low-income families. In 2016, Grant received a Gini Award from Smiles Change Lives for her efforts to provide free orthodontic work to underserved families in the South Suburbs and Northwest Indiana.
Grant also participates in a variety of community events and supports various causes, especially projects that contribute to schools and education. She was one of the local professional women who participated in the second annual Girls STEAM Ahead event sponsored by the Homewood Science Center.
The event brings teen girls with interest in science, technology, engineering, arts and math careers together with professional women from those fields. Grant said she enjoys mentoring young people who are interested in the dental profession, so she really appreciated the opportunity to meet a number of young women at the science center event.
She also offers job shadowing for young people who want to spend time at her practice, seeing what the work of an orthodontist is like.
Another cause dear to her heart is breast cancer awareness. Her mother suffered from the disease, so Grant devotes time and makes contributions to breast cancer awareness campaigns, especially the Susan Komen Foundation.
Every October, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, for each new patient Grant receives, she donates $100 dollars to the Komen Foundation.
Grant started her practice in Flossmoor in 1993 and moved to Homewood six years ago.
In that time, new technologies have had an impact on orthodontia and on patients' experience.
Just going to a paperless office environment has made a big difference, she said. Patient records are easier to keep and access, which saves time and is better for the environment.
A recent addition is a scanner that makes images of a patient's teeth so the old impressions using putty are no longer necessary. That helps get braces designed faster and makes the process more comfortable for patients, she said.
She and Goldberg have two daughters, Kendall, who is a filmmaker living in Los Angeles, and Jolie, who is studying business at the University of Southern California.