Dentist's practice going strong for 65 years

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Rose Sharp, 100, has been seeing Charles F. Tremont for her dental needs for more than 40 years.

"He makes you feel real comfortable ...if he hurts me, I let him know," the Glassport woman said of the longtime dentist.

Melva and Joseph Lugares, both 79, have been patients of Dr. Tremont for the past 30 years.

"He is very good in all he does -- he is a wonderful person and a wonderful dentist," the Versailles woman said.

On June 5, Dr. Tremont, 87, will celebrate his 65th year as a private practicing dentist and will continue to see patients in his Versailles practice at 4617 Walnut St..

"I'm blessed with good health and steady hands," he said of his longevity.

Dr. Tremont grew up in the village of Buena Vista in Elizabeth Township, where he attended the four-room, eight-grade Buena Vista Grade School. He recalled that the two grades in each room were separated by a large cast-iron, wood-burning stove.

After graduating from McKeesport High School, he entered a five-year accelerated dental program at the University of Pittsburgh.

"The seed was planted by my father. Dad had a friend who was a dentist, and he thought it would be good for his own son -- and he was right.

"The first month in dental school I felt like a sponge trying to absorb all that I could," Dr. Tremont recalled.

Upon graduation, with honors, in 1947, he worked as an instructor in the dental school, followed by a stateside stint in the Navy as a dentist during the Korean War.

His first private dental practice was with the late R.J. Shelton, near Dr. Tremont's current practice. Dentist Charles Jones joined them in 1953.

In 1961, Dr. Tremont bought his current property site.

He and Dr. Jones maintain separate practices in the building and share two laboratories.

Dr. Tremont's office manager, Janice Wasil, began work Sept. 7, 1971.

"We haven't changed a system in our office," said the Elizabeth Township woman. She uses a traditional filing system and typewriters.

Her only brush with computers is the telephone menu she encounters when contacting insurance companies.

Today, Dr. Tremont is in the office from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. four days a week, with most of his procedures being immediate denture work and some cosmetic dentistry. He also does general dentistry such as fillings and extractions.

He refers crown and bridge work to Dr. Jones, who, in turn, refers denture work to Dr. Tremont -- their respective specialties.

On his off days, Dr. Tremont can be found on a golf course or at the Elizabeth Township home he shares with Helen, his wife of 60 years. The couple have four children, including a son, Timothy J. Tremont, who is an orthodontist in White Oak.

Among their nine grandchildren is Andrew Tremont, who is attending dental school at the University of Michigan.

The biggest change in dentistry over the years, Dr. Tremont said, is in the types of materials and the number of technologies utilized today.

The biggest challenge, he said, is in the continuing education to keep up with the advances and employ the new procedures.

Earlier this year he underwent instruction at the University of North Carolina in which he learned new techniques in prosthetics and about new materials.

"It keeps you sharp," he said.

Training also is required for renewal of his dental license every two years.

Dr. Tremont said he has no wish to retire, as in his paraphrasing of a wall plaque in his dental offices: "If you like what you're doing you never work a day in your life."

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Margaret Smykla, freelance writer:


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