By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now
NEWTON—Retired dentist Dr. Terry Davidson has seen thousands, if not millions, of teeth in his 41-year practice in Newton, and now that he turned in his gloves, Dr. Andrew Mettman has taken over.
Davidson officially retired Dec. 3, which is the day Mettman took over, although Mettman didn’t start until Dec. 6 because Dec. 3 was a Friday.
Davidson began his practice in 1980, the year he graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry, which also is where Mettman graduated, only in 2014.
Davidson had his office on West Sixth Street for 30 years before moving to the Main Street location.
“I had a good staff I hated to leave,” Davidson said. “I’ve been seeing a lot of people since they were in their teens, and now they’re in their 60s. They become part of the family.”
Things changed during the years, like technology, Davidson said, adding technology is better now than anything they dreamed about.
“Wonderful changes in technology,” Davidson said.
There are things he’ll miss.
“All the good relationships and wonderful people, and you just hate to leave,” he said. “A lot of good people out there.”
“The best part about it is it’s a community,” Mettman said. “There’s a lot to live up to.”
Davidson said he used to hear patients talk about how much pain they suffered at the dentist’s office when they were kids, and now they don’t hate going to the dentist because their experiences aren’t painful. That’s how much dentistry has improved.
“That’s the best compliment is people tell me it was a relaxing experience,” Mettman said. “I like getting to know somebody.”
“I heard it every day two or three times,” Davidson said about pain going away.
Mettman said he tries to undo people’s fear of pain and that there’s no better feeling than turning a dental-phobic person around.
“The equipment has improved so much over the years,” Davidson said, adding years ago, people used to have to spit in a bowl, but now they don’t.
After dental school graduation, Mettman practiced for about five years in Wichita, and he also practiced in Dallas and Kansas City.
“I always joke when I leave a city, the [professional ball] team goes south,” Mettman joked.
Office manager Ann Davidson retired, as well.
“That’s the nice thing about Ann, she made the transition so easy,” Mettman said. “She’s just great.”
Davidson also spoke highly of his wife.
“She’s so organized to a ‘T,'” he said. “I’m amazed at how smooth the transition was. It was all because of her.”
Each man wanted to go into dentistry for his own reasons.
“I started off wanting to go into medicine,” Davidson said, adding he saw some of his physician friends up all hours delivering babies and decided he didn’t want to do that.
“I realized I wanted to go another route and ended up in dentistry,” he said.
Mettman’s father is an orthodontist, and watching how his father saw people as children and through their braces and then seeing their children had a positive influence on his decision. In addition, his brother practiced as a dentist for three years before going into another line of work.
“I know I wanted to work with my hands and I have wanted to work in the sciences or medical field,” Mettman said.
The two had positive things to say about each other.
“Every experience I’ve had so far with every patient is how lucky they felt having Dr. Davidson as their dentist and having him care for them,” Mettman said.
“The people I meet since I retired that were patients of mine, I ask have you met the new dentist, yet?” he said.
They say yes, and they like him, Davidson said.