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A toothache sparked Dr. Wilbur Manchette’s interest in dentistry when he was a child and now he is possibly the oldest practicing dentist worldwide. (Photograph: Noi1990/Shutterstock (left); Courtesy of Alisann Elpers (right))
0 Comments Jun 27, 2017 | News Americas

American dentist still practicing at 93

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EVANSVILLE, Ind., USA: Dr. Wilbur K. Manchette is probably one of the most passionate, dedicated and experienced dentists in his field. Even though the 93-year-old could be enjoying retirement, he is not considering ending his career at the All In The Family Dental practice in Evansville any time soon.

In an interview with Dental Tribune Online, Manchette, who practices dentistry three days a week, spoke about his work routine. “We begin the morning with prayer with the entire office in attendance and go over the dentists’ and hygienists’ schedules. There are four dentists and four hygienists to coordinate,” he said. On a typical workday, he performs crowns, bridges, restorations, dentures and many other procedures on an average of five to eight patients.

Manchette’s interest in dentistry began when he visited a small-town dentist to have his toothache treated as a child in the eighth grade. After military training, graduating from the Saint Louis University School of Dentistry and serving two years in the Korean War, he eventually started practicing dentistry in 1952. Now, 65 years later, his career is as old as the age at which most people retire. However, according to Manchette, he could not think of a better way to spend his time, as long as he is healthy enough to work in his own practice.

“I am physically able and still enjoy doing dentistry. Many friendships have been established through the years, patients have become friends. Doing dentistry has become a way of life and I would miss it if I weren’t involved. I work three days a week so I do have partial retirement. I can’t think of a better vocation I could have chosen,” Manchette explained.

Looking back on his long career and the many decades that he has been practicing dentistry, Manchette also reflected on the technological developments in the dental field. Among other things, he especially enjoys the advantages of paperless records, digital radiology, diamond burs, bonding technologies and 3-D scanning.

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