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Family's been fixing smiles for three generations

July 03, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Dr. Hillary Wade received a special honor when she graduated in May from the University of Maryland Dental School.

Hillary said her mother, Dr. Margaret Wade, and her grandfather, Dr. Richard L. Harrison, were permitted to walk with her across the stage as a tribute to the family for producing three generations of dentists.

"It made me feel really proud," said Hillary Wade, 25. "I was glad they both could be there for me."

Harrison, 82, said the family practice began when he opened an office in downtown Hagerstown almost 60 years ago, when a tooth extraction cost $4.

"People didn't take care of their teeth at all," he said. "... They didn't have insurance."

Margaret Wade, 52, said her interest in dentistry surfaced when she started working in her father's office.

The experience prompted her to earn a degree in biology from Hood College, and later to enroll in dental school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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Margaret Wade said she graduated as a doctor of dental surgery in 1982 and joined her father's practice, which by then had moved to 1825 Howell Road.

Harrison said the duo practiced in harmony until he retired in 1998.

"She kicked me out," Harrison said jokingly.

In 2001, Margaret Wade moved the practice up the street to its current location at 1855 Howell Road.

"We try to do comprehensive work here so people don't have to go somewhere else," said Margaret Wade, adding the practice offers everything from simple cleanings to root canals.

Like her mother, Hillary Wade said that her interest in dentistry began when she started doing odd jobs around the office.

She said she eventually was given the responsibility of laying out dental instruments before her mother saw patients.

Hillary Wade graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in biology before she entered dental school.

The hardest part about being a new dentist is diagnosing unfamiliar cases, Hillary Wade said, but she knows that her mother is right around the corner to offer help.

"We're very compatible," Margaret Wade said. "I want to enjoy being with my daughter. It's been a great career."

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