Edward S Andochick

After 52 years as a dentist in Frederick, Dr. Edward S. Andochick will be retiring on Wednesday. Taking over his practice will be his daughter, Dr. Lori L. Andochick.

Staff photo by Sam Yu

Dr. Edward S. Andochick ends taking care of peoples' teeth Wednesday after 52 years. A recent open house drew 250 people, including Andochick's first patient he saw in October 1962, who stopped by to thank the dentist.

Saying goodbye to the Frederick practice seems surreal, said Andochick, 82.

"It hasn't hit me yet," he said. But when so many people showed up at the open house and shared generous feelings and warmth, "I realized that maybe I did touch some people's lives."

Andochick's wife of 59 years, Pat, played a key role in his success. She was a cheerleader in high school, and he was a basketball player, "and we've been dribbling ever since," he said.

"She's the most important person in all of this," Andochick said. She was a registered nurse and encouraged him to go to college.

"She worked hard, raising four children and put me through school," Andochick said. "We had three children before I got out of dental college, so she deserves a tremendous amount of credit, and she doesn't know what she's going to do with me now that I'm retiring."

The couple have four children and four grandchildren. Lori Andochick, also a dentist, who has worked with her father for 20 years, will take over the practice, and her daughter, is thinking about making the practice a third-generation business.

The early years

Andochick's dental work began in the old professional building on North Market Street that is now home to Volt restaurant. He worked with Dr. Thomas J. Allen for seven years. Later, Dr. Gene Poirier, an internist, invited him at 516 Trail Ave., and he has been in the same location since January 1970.

He brought what is believed to be the first dental hygienist to Frederick, Andochick said.

"I had to educate people about what a dental hygienist does, and how it's important for me to focus on actual dental procedures while they clean teeth," Andochick said.

Digital technology has made for faster outcomes in the dentist's office, Andochick said. With traditional dental X-rays, a patient had to wait until the dentist develops the film, whereas, digital radiography develops the picture almost instantly and projects it onto a computer screen.

"I think it's one of the brightest new phases of dentistry; it diminishes radiation, some say by 60 percent, others say by 90 percent, and any time you can diminish a bad thing is a good thing," he said. Materials a dentist uses have also improved over the years.

Everyone thinks about cosmetic dentistry, he said, but his philosophy has always been prevention, comfort, health and function.

"We don't put cosmetics in front of those four things," Andochick said. "For instance, there's no sense getting yourself a beautiful smile on a poor foundation, so if you have periodontal disease, we're concerned with getting your mouth healthy first."

Sometimes, it takes a while for people to get his message about good dental care. 

"I've had patients come in and say, 'you know, Dr. A, I'm finally flossing after 40 years. We beat them with the same message and it finally sticks."

Andochick credits his staff, who have worked with him for 27 years, for his success. "They've made this such a wonderful journey for me. That's made it fun for me and that's why I've lasted this long."

Excellence is a two-way street, the dentist said. The team knows what he expects of them and it's worked like a fine-oiled machine, Andochick said.

Lori Andochick said she won't be the dentist she is today if it had not been for her dad.

"When you have 250 people come through just to say thank you is a testament to how they love and respect him," Lori Adochick said. "Walking into an established practice made me want to follow that path."

There have been some tense situations working with her father, "which is normal and healthy," Lori said, and it has enabled both of them to grow not only as better dentists but it has also fostered a better relationship between them.

"I've learned so much from him, and after 20 years, he's given me the confidence to know that I cannot only maintain this practice, but also grow it for the future."

Follow Ike Wilson on Twitter: @ikewilson99.

(4) comments

allweins

Dr. A is one of a kind and so is Dr. Lori. They are true caring dental professionals. I went through a terrible time with my teeth and do not know what I would have done without the two of them helping me after hours, during the holidays. You don't find this type of care just anywhere. Best of luck on your retirement Dr. A.

Dwasserba

Wow, old school.
My dad was a DDS who put health before cosmetics also but had a very definite aesthetic sense. When he made a partial, one tooth would be just a hair out of line to preserve a natural effect. He was not a fan of whitey white teeth, thinking of dental services as "sales," or advertising. Ever.
In retirement he experimented with the greater artistic freedom of watercolor and became locally known for it. You're an artist, sir. Find your new expression.

OTOU68

Thank you Dr. A for all of your love, care and concern. You are the standard in every way.

dcg326

Looks great for 82.

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