Since moving to the D.C. area in 1971 I’ve always gone downtown to the dentist – to the Dupont Circle or Farragut Square neighborhoods – even when I lived in the suburbs. I never challenged the need for the schlep because the best professionals are in the city, right?
But since moving to Greenbelt and learning that EVERYONE uses local dentists, I’ve dared to go local myself and no one’s more local than the McCarl Dental Group just 3 blocks away from me on Ridge Road at Gardenway. I’d noticed the practice for their attractive landscaping, shown here looking more subdued than usual – it’s November, so pansies will have to do – but still well tended. And I’ve noticed them in the News Review, where their ads are always the largest. Every single week. I appreciated their support for the community, also exhibited in this blog post about our 75th Anniversary Gala, where I noticed 25 McCarl staffers in attendance. And that event wasn’t cheap.
So I signed up for their new-patient introductory offer, and visited twice more for much-needed work, and was happy to notice some stark differences between McCarl and the downtown practices I’d stuck with for so long.
– Everyone in the office was friendly, more so than I’d come to expect in a dentist’s office.
– Here’s the view I had during my cleaning! You don’t see this on K Street, N.W.
– I learned that the first Dr. McCarl opened this practice in 1938 as Greenbelt’s pioneer dentist. The third generation of McCarls have now joined the practice, which somehow manages to operate their business out of two GHI homes plus an addition. I’ve experienced the challenges of co-op renovations myself and I bet it hasn’t been easy for them to stay. But since they have, it’s a hoot to be in a block-home bedroom just like my own, but in the dentist’s chair.
– It was Clayton McCarl, Jr. who filled me in on McCarl family history while removing some of my more decrepit fillings on their way to being replaced with a crown. I managed with a mouth brimming with instruments to ask if he’d ever considered doing anything else for a living and learned that he’d thought of opening a youth sports center at one time, and that he’d once been told he should be a game-show host. Which I can totally imagine, with his all-American looks and chipper personality, both of which come through in this video about whether certain drinks stain your teeth. In marked contrast to my last dentist, Clayton also seems to be nice to his staff.
– As expensive as crowns are these days (and of course I have no dental insurance), it was still cheaper than I’d have paid downtown. For a cost comparison, I asked one of the McCarl staff how much they charge for a dental implant – the most expensive procedure I’ve ever had or hoped to have. Five years ago I paid over $6,000 for one implant, which today I’d be billed $3,800 for by McCarl. Still a lot of money, but a big improvement over downtown prices.
– The lower prices are despite the McCarl practice being MORE high-tech than my former dentist’s, at least based on the instruments and practices I observed.
– In an emergency, one of the four McCarl dentists would be available, compared to the one-dentist practices I was used to.
– If too doped-up from anesthesia or gas to drive home, I could just walk the three blocks from 28 Ridge.
Sorry if this post seems like a total suck-up, a ploy for a free cleaning perhaps, but I’m just that happy I made the switch. Now if I could just find a Greenbelt-based doctor because I’d LOVE to leave the unresponsive gang at Potomac Physicians Associates. Recommendations, anyone?