NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Whether it's ravaging teeth or historic old buildings, decay is no match for a longtime dentist.
Contemplating the idea of relocating his West Marshall Street practice, Dr. Brian Carp had cast his eye on a historic edifice a few short blocks away — the old Bake Meister building, a onetime landmark that sat in deteriorating abandonment since shutting down its ovens more than five years ago.
"It's the first building you see when you come into Norristown from Jeffersonville and I think people are appreciating that we rehabbed this historic property," Carp said, sitting in a back room office of the reinvigorated property that's warmly in tune with the serene decor of the huge waiting room up front.
"I thought it would be beneficial for Norristown to restore an abandoned property that had been so well known since the 1930s or 1940s. We took it down to the steel frame and gutted it and added about 2,000 square feet. We're getting a lot of positive feedback from patients who are saying it's really nice of you to choose this property and stay in Norristown."
Carp Dental has rehabbed the old Bake Meister building for its new facility.
The renewed respectability for the 1325 W. Airy St. property has been just one of the many perks enjoyed by Carp Dental Associates since the move last May.
"Our following comes from everywhere, besides residents of Norristown, from people driving through Norristown to get to work, and the surrounding areas," Carp said. "Half of our patients are commuters or passers-by and I knew that some of them might have come to West Marshall Street and not felt that comfortable there and wouldn't return. But since moving here it's exploded. It's been an incredible response. We have so many new patients we can't even handle all of them right now."
Ample parking is more than icing on the cake here: it was the impetus for relocating in the first place.
"They installed parking meters on West Marshall Street last winter that made it pretty difficult for us to continue, because we're a pretty large dental practice," Carp allowed. "When you have meters going for 25 cents that give you 10 minutes and you're going to a dentist office, there are only so many spots on the street and it becomes very difficult. Instead of me throwing my hands up and saying 'I'm out of here, I've had enough,' we looked into this property."
Digital X-rays. Drill-free laser dentistry. Intra-oral cameras. On-site lab. Same day dentures.
None of these innovations could have been imagined by Dr. Jack Wenof when he launched the roots of the Carp Dental practice on West Marshall Street in 1935.
But they're all standard for Carp's modern day operation, which features four general dentists, an oral surgeon, a lab tech, and a prosthodontist-periodontist for adult and pediatric patients.
Nailing down the lab work right on the premises instead of shipping it out is one of Carp's niches, Carp said.
"I don't know of any other practice in the area that has a lab tech. That allows patients who wear dentures to get the work done in the office while they're waiting."
The faint-of-heart who prefer the "wake me when it's over" approach to their dental care continue to take advantage of a procedure started by Carp's former partner, Dr. Lawrence Moses, years ago.
"We've always had these patients that were nervous and Dr. Moses used to do sedation, put them to sleep and kind of built up this group of phobic patients that he would take care of," Carp said. "And we still have patients that come in and the oral surgeon does the sedation and I do the dentistry."
Carp, who earned his degrees from the University of Maryland and Temple University School of Dentistry, came on board in the mid-1990s, partnering with Moses until his retirement.
"What's unique about this office is that our staff has been here for over 30 years," Carp said. "Our assistants have been here almost 40 years. Some were with Dr. Wenof. Many of our patients who once saw Dr. Moses in the 1960s and '70s still return with their families today."
Carp is proud of the fact that the process of upgrading to a nicer facility did not result in increased fees for patients.
"I considered moving to West Norriton or King of Prussia, but I am sure I made the right decision because so few businesses are committed to staying in Norristown," he said.
Information from: The Times Herald, http://www.timesherald.com/