In this fam­ily, you’re born to be a den­tist

The Washington Times Weekly - - Page Two -

HAGER­STOWN, Md. (AP) — Dr. Ron­ald Tooth­man fol­lowed in his fa­ther’s foot­steps and es­tab­lished an or­thodon­tics prac­tice in Hager­stown 30 years ago.

Now his son, Dr. Jef­frey Tooth­man, 28, is do­ing the same. He be­gan his res­i­dency in or­thodon­tics July 2. Ron­ald lives in Chewsville with his wife, Colleen Tooth­man.

“Where else would a den­tist live?” he quipped.

Both men said their last name does draw a few raised eye­brows, chuck­les and ques­tions.

“They ask, ‘Oh, did you change your name?”’ Ron­ald said. “Ev­ery­body says some­thing about it.”

While the an­swer is no, he said he has had some fun with the name. He has li­cense plates that read “Tooth 1” and “Tooth 2.” And his boat? Tooth Ferry. “He’s re­ally cap­i­tal­ized on the name and em­braced it,” Jef­frey, a 1997 Smiths­burg High School grad­u­ate, said of his fa­ther. “That’s some­thing I haven’t re­ally done yet.”

Ron­ald Tooth­man’s fa­ther, Dr. Ge­orge Tooth­man, who is now de­ceased, was an or thodon­tist. Ron­ald’s grand­fa­ther, Plen­nie Ge­orge Tooth­man, was a gen­eral den­tist.

“It seems that I grew up with den­tistry as the fam­ily busi­ness,” he said.

But for years, Ron­ald said, he didn’t think he would fol­low that path. He wanted to be an en­gi­neer un­til col­lege, when he re­al­ized that wasn’t for him.

“Then I thought, ‘Gee, maybe I’d like to be a den­tist,”’ he said.

Af­ter four years of den­tal school, Ron­ald worked for his fa­ther at his of­fice. “I re­ally en­joyed it,” he said. He en­rolled at East­man Den­tal Cen­ter, which is part of the Univer­sity of Rochester (N.Y.) Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

Ron­ald Tooth­man started his Hager­stown prac­tice, which also has a Cham­bers­burg, Pa., of­fice, 30 years ago. His part­ner is Dr. Tom Barra, who mainly works in the Cham­bers­burg of­fice.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from high school, Jef­frey en­rolled at Buck­nell Univer­sity in Lewis­burg, Pa., and said he al­ways thought it was pos­si­ble he would have a ca­reer in den­tistry. He re­ceived a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in physics and phi­los­o­phy, and en­rolled in den­tal school af­ter grad­u­a­tion.

“Grow­ing up, I liked the hours that (my fa­ther) kept,” Jef­frey said. “I liked that (his of­fice) was a re­laxed place to work. I knew what I had grow­ing up, I’d like to give to my kids.”

That in­cludes hav­ing time to spend with fam­ily. Ron­ald Tooth­man and his wife have three chil­dren: Jef­frey; Ron­ald Tooth­man Jr., who lives in Bal­ti­more; and Aimee Cata­nia, who lives in Fred­er­ick, with her hus­band, Vince, and their three chil­dren, Vin­nie, Rachel and Colleen.

In 2005, Jef­frey grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Mary­land Bal­ti­more’s den­tal school and en­rolled at East­man Den­tal Cen­ter for the two-year fel­low­ship he re­cently com­pleted.

Dur­ing den­tal school, he was able to work with pa­tients and is look­ing for­ward to do­ing the same dur­ing his res­i­dency in or­thodon­tics.

“When you get to see pa­tients and help peo­ple . . . I re­al­ized what you do helps peo­ple and de­cided this is what I want to do,” Jef­frey said. “You can make a dif­fer­ence in peo­ple’s lives.”

As­so­ci­ated Press

Den­tal Des­tiny: Dr. Ron­ald Tooth­man, right, and his son, Dr. Jef­frey Tooth­man, carry their name well.

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