Through The Generations

September 13, 1995|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

It would be easy to say that there's a dentistry gene in the Resh family.

Hampstead dentist George D. Resh Jr. swears he didn't pressure his sons, James and Kevin, into joining the practice. Nor did his father, who set up shop in Hampstead in 1925, talk him into becoming a dentist, George Resh insists.

"I just like to do things with my hands," said Dr. Resh, who recently earned a mastership award from the Academy of General Dentistry. "I liked helping people with their health and I knew, if I could, I wanted to do something with people and the public.

"I thank God there's a person on the other end of those teeth. If I just wanted to work with teeth, I'd go work in a lab somewhere."

Three generations of Reshs have practiced dentistry at Main Street and Houck Avenue in the small brick building George Resh's grandfather used as a general practice doctor in the early 1900s.

"We like to say, 'Since 1893, four generations of health care,' " Dr. Resh said, acknowledging that he fudged the slogan to be able to include his grandfather, Daniel Milton, in the count. "He was a horse and buggy doctor. He'd go deliver a baby in the morning and stay until breakfast."

Things in the world of dentistry have changed drastically since his father began practicing in 1925, said Dr. Resh, who has continually upgraded his knowledge of new dental techniques while studying to receive his mastership in dentistry.

A mastership, awarded to 85 dentists in the United States and Canada this year, requires a dentist to receive a fellowship award from the Academy of General Dentistry, said Holly Luicart, academy spokeswoman. Then, the dentist must complete 600 hours of continuing education -- 400 of which are in hands-on training -- to receive a mastership, she said.

Fellowships, often awarded to dentists in their late 30s, require 500 hours of continuing education classes within 10 years, Ms. Luicart said. Academy members must complete 75 hours of classes every three years, she said.

"We do stuff a lot faster than Dad did," Dr. Resh recalled. "Also, now we bond things to the teeth, while before you used to have retaining wires for dentures. Enamel bond is one of the big things that is different."

To earn his mastership, Dr. Resh, 65, often took three days of classes and then worked on an assigned project for six months, he said.

Students were then required to present their findings, complete with slides, to the class.

"I always did like to learn stuff," Dr. Resh said. "It is above and beyond what is required."

Class topics included things such as advances in partial dentures, implants and oral surgery.

But Dr. Resh said his favorite specialty is orthodontics.

"We've done so much with orthodontics in the last 15 years," he said, noting that braces are now glued to the teeth, eliminating the need for spacers. "Now, we can change the whole profile."

General dentists are certified to practice orthodontics, he said. He started offering orthodontics to his patients in 1971.

What keeps Dr. Resh practicing is the people. "I feel like I'm doing a service," he said, noting that he has no plans to retire. "When you take people out of their pain, they feel like it's a miracle.

"My Dad died with his boots on, I guess I will too. I just have fun doing what I'm doing."

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