Dentists host annual skating party

November 19, 1997

Dentists host annual skating party


Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Nearly 200 patients were more than happy to see their dentists Tuesday night, but they didn't show up for yearly checkups and cleanings.

It was their annual visit to the Red Bridge Park Roller Rink on Philadelphia Avenue, where Chambersburg dentists and orthodontists Dr. Thomas Barra and Dr. Ronald Toothman treated patients, their friends and families, to a free night of roller skating.

"It's a fun thing to do for the patients. It's a good way to get to know them outside the office," said Barra, who gave up his white lab coat in favor of blue jeans, a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of roller skates.


In its 10th year, the idea for the skating party evolved from the dental office's employees and it was originally held as a costume skating party around Halloween, Barra said.

"It's just because we like to have fun in our office and this lets us get to know our patients aside from the office atmosphere," said Lori Avey, treatment coordinator at the Lincoln Way East office in Chambersburg.

The dentists, who have worked together for 13 years in two offices, also host a roller skating party at the end of the school year for their Hagerstown patients.

For 11-year-old Sasha Rockwell, the skating party makes up for all of the dental work she's had to go through in the past three years as Barra's patient, including the pulling of a lot of teeth to make room for braces, she said.

"But it's worth it for when I get older," Rockwell said.

The dentists, hygienists, lab technicians and other office employees got to see their work firsthand since most of the adults and children at the roller rink wore big smiles.

They looked the other way when their patients passed them slurping soda, eating chips or chewing gum, all available at the roller rink's snack counter, even though Barra joked that they try not to have sweets available.

With the prospect of having two front teeth pulled Friday because of overcrowding, Joshua Mason, 8, had his own reason for attending the skating party.

"I hope I get them knocked out tonight," he said, grinning.

His twin brother, Brandon, won a prize in one of the drawings in which the dentists gave out sweatshirts emblazoned with the office logo and sports bags.

"It's a fun family thing to do with the kids," said Denise Walter, enjoying a soft pretzel smothered in cheese while her daughter, Nicole, 9, was circling the rink.

Just before joining his friends on the rink, one boy blurted out, "this is better than a free toothbrush any day," before skating away.

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