March 2011


Author: Mark Kreuzwieser | Photographer: Photography by Anne

Love and humor are as abundant as smiling pearly whites in the dentist’s office of Dr. Timothy Gross’ Dental Excellence at 15 Bow Circle on Hilton Head Island. If Gross doesn’t have his patients cracking up with his wit and jokes, he has them enthralled with his focused passion for healthy teeth and interest in their well-being.

“We want our patients to come in and feel like family,” said Gross, a Sewickley, Pa., native and graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and the university’s School of Dental Medicine. “We treat people the way Melissa and I and our children want to be treated.”

The laid-back, familial vibes hit you when you first walk in: Gross’ wife Melissa, is likely to greet you, and staff members Bobbie Apple and Marie Gaymon will engage you with their unique personalities and professional manners.

“I am always so very impressed by their level of professionalism and patient care,” Melissa said of Apple, treatment coordinator and Gaymon, dental hygienist. “Both are exceptional.”

And, there’s little time to sit in the comfy, den-like waiting room worrying. “There’s no TV in the waiting room,” Gross said. “We don’t keep people waiting. I want people to come in and know that they are special, that they are our guests. We want to become their friends.

“That’s something I’ve always worked toward, to be like family, to get to know patients’ children, to treat their children, and then their children’s children,” he continued. You see, Gross has no plans to ever retire. “I’ll always be a dentist, even when I’m old, it’ll be at least a hobby. I come from another practice that had four generations of patients. I think that’s important,” he said.

“We are a family practice. That’s our style, it’s all about relationships. I don’t run from treatment room to treatment room. I give all my attention to one patient at a time.” That’s about three or four patients in the morning, and another three or four in the afternoon.

After practicing in Pittsburgh for nearly 17 years, Gross decided to make Hilton Head, the family’s favorite vacation spot, their permanent home. “One day, we just looked at each other, said our kids are still young, and we threw caution to the wind and sold the practice, the house and started from scratch,” he said. “I was renting a space, and still commuting a bit back up to Pittsburgh, and Dr. (Kenneth) Gudz said he was selling his office. We closed the deal January 31. It’s a wonderful office, very comfortable and relaxed, with state-of-the-art technology.”

As further proof that Hilton Head is the center of the universe, Gross’ very first patient here was down vacationing from… Pittsburgh. “We got to talking, and I thought, ‘what a coincidence,’” Gross said.

Love at first ‘bite’?
Gross and Melissa met when she was a head-turner in second grade, and he was a man of the world in fourth grade at the same school. Though they continued to attend the same schools through high school, Melissa said, “We were just friends, growing up knowing each other, but we weren’t high school sweethearts. I’ve known Tim for a long time,” she added with a wink, “when he had hair.”

After high school, the two went their separate ways, but as fate would have it, they met again when she was 27 and he 29. “I was working a second job as a waitress at a popular restaurant and he came in for dinner,” Melissa said. “It was as simple as ‘Hey, Tim,’ and here we are 15 years and two kids later.” (The couple has a daughter, 10, and a son, 9.)

We’re not saying that you should expect Robin Williams to work on your teeth, but Gross has the touch of the funny, kindly and caring next-door neighbor who looks after your property or your pet when you leave town for a trip. He has that special touch that makes people feel at ease. “Tim has always had a wonderful sense of humor which he uses every day to make his patients feel at ease,” Melissa said.

Probably the biggest gift the dentist has going for him is his passion, not only for people but also for his profession. He holds a fellowship at the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Cosmetic Dentistry after years of classroom and hands-on training in cosmetic reconstructive dentistry followed by a grueling exam process. He is one of less than one percent of all dentists to achieve the fellowship. When he travels to Las Vegas Institute, or anywhere his hundreds of hours of continuing education take him every year, it’s all business.

It may sound corny, but it’s obvious in every part of his character that dentistry is something he was born to do.


• General and comprehensive dentistry for children and adults and seniors
• Cleanings and exams • Cosmetic dentistry, whitening, natural-colored fillings and veneers
• Mercury-free fillings and mercury removal from existing fillings
• Crowns and bridges
• Dental implants
• Root canal therapy
• Extractions
• Orthodontics, Invisalign ™, conventional and clear braces, 6 Month Smiles
• Dentures and partials
TMJ and headache therapy
• Performance-enhancing athletic mouthguards.


For more information, contact Dr. Timothy Gross’ Dental Excellence at (843) 342-7700 or visit

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