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Berkeley dentist carries on household legacy

Berkeley dentist carries on household legacy

BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) – It’s not day-after-day you get your enamel checked by a Bay Space legend.

Berkeley-based dentist, Dr. Thomas Arnold has spent practically 50 years educating his sufferers correct oral hygiene.

With a relentless smile on his face and round the clock power, he has certainly made his mark on the Bay Space.

KRON4’s Noelle Bellow discovered he’s carrying on a uncommon legacy began by his grandfather.

“I needed to create one thing that relieved worry and anxiousness about coming to see the dentist.”

Dr. Thomas Arnold is often known as “Dr. Completely happy Tooth.”

Dr. Arnold and his spouse and associate Dr. Wendi Wilson created the “Dr. Completely happy Tooth” character within the late ’80s.

Collectively they visited faculties dressed as a six-foot molar armed with a smile and a toothbrush and floss. They taught children fight cavities and dental decay, even passing out a comic book ebook they created.

“I put a number of time into it and power in it. Hopefully, it did some good.”

“Dr. Completely happy Tooth” was an enormous hit by means of the ’90s. Dr. Arnold has obtained quite a few awards and recognition over time.

And although he doesn’t don the costume anymore, relieving sufferers’ fears remains to be his every day observe.

“In 2024 will probably be 50 years since I’ve practiced dentistry within the Bay Space.”

He’s been in the identical location your complete time. 

In actual fact, the workplace positioned on Martin Luther King Junior Approach in Berkeley was initially run by Dr. William Pittman, the very first Black dentist to open a observe within the East Bay again in 1930.

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“It was once known as Grove avenue. Grove avenue was the colour line the place all of the Black of us lived on this facet, and the white of us lived on the opposite facet.”

Dr. Pittman practiced there for nearly 50 years too, so a dentist has been on this similar location for nearly 100 years.

Having a Black dentist to look as much as wasn’t new for Dr. Arnold although. His ardour for the profession began when he was only a younger boy visiting his grandfather, Dr. Thomas Louis Hunter, one of many first Black dentists within the South.

“I simply form of knew that is what I needed to do.I noticed the respect folks gave him. The form of work he did. I simply all the time needed to be like papa hunter.”

In actual fact, Dr. Arnold is a third-generation medical skilled. He, his grandfather, and his father, who was a medical physician all attended Meharry Medical School in Nashville.

Within the Black group that was very very totally different throughout these instances.

“We weren’t accepted into the bigger white faculties. We needed to go to Meharry for dentistry or medication or Howard college for dentistry or medication.”

He stated being amongst different black lecturers and college students was a pleasant consolation zone, however in 1972 he’d get a suggestion to embark on a brand new path after being one in all simply three graduates accepted into the dental residency program at Mount Zion in San Francisco.

“After I received accepted, all my classmates had been jealous.”

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And whereas his acceptance was spectacular, it additionally introduced on a brand new problem as a result of, for the primary time, Dr. Arnold was studying from and alongside folks of a special race.

“I felt insecure for a few week after which I believed ‘oh shoot.. they don’t know any greater than I do know! So, I form of went on from there.”

When requested about his largest lesson discovered, Dr. Arnold stated “no person was any higher than me. I used to be simply pretty much as good as anyone else, being a Black man.”

Now, practically 78 years outdated, Dr. Arnold remains to be practising with delight and a smile educating his sufferers and paving the best way for the following era of dentists.

I form of have a look at myself as being an important grandfather in dentistry being a Black dentist working alongside a various group of dental hygienists.

Physician Arnold has no plans to retire quickly, however he hopes if and when he does his dental workplace will proceed to serve the group for many years to return.

“I simply need this entire space to recollect they’ve good dentists of their neighborhood that they’ll go see.”