Those are more than just words to Drs. Will Current Jr. and Charles Nason at Current Dentistry in Gastonia.
Will is following in the footsteps of both his grandfather, Dr. Alfred Cornelius Current, and of his father, Dr. Bill Current.
Family legend has it that as a boy young Alfred Current had a paper route and was saving money to buy a bicycle.
A nagging toothache intervened and the boy had to make a choice between purchasing that bike and getting his tooth fixed properly.
He chose to save the tooth and an interest in dentistry was born.
He went on to dental school and in 1923 joined Dr. Ralph Falls’ dental practice, located on the fifth floor of the Commercial Building in downtown Gastonia.
Son Bill, who retired from active practice about eight years ago, followed his father into the profession and became not only a leader in the field of dentistry but in the community as well.
In addition to serving four terms in the N.C. House of Representatives, Bill Current was instrumental in establishment of the Gaston County Dental Clinic and in getting the city of Gastonia to first fluoridate its water supply.
Nason, meanwhile, follows in the footsteps of his father, Dr. Ron Nason, a periodontist in Gastonia for many years.
Together, the two men represent five generations of dental care in Gaston County.
Will, 48, is a 1990 graduate of Ashbrook High School. Following his father into the dental profession was not a sure thing during his high school and college years at UNC Chapel Hill.
“I really thought I might want to be a high school social studies teacher,” he said. “And my bachelor’s degree is actually in history. But I hedged my bets all through college. I was probably the only history major who also took organic chemistry.”
In the end, family heritage won out and Will applied for admission to the UNC School of Dentistry as a senior.
“Dad was a huge influence, not only on that decision, but on my whole life,” Will said. “The appeal of getting to come back home and work with him was a big attraction.”
Working with his father proved to be even more satisfying than Will had imagined.
“He was such a good teacher,” Will said of his dad. “So very patient. It was good to know that someone always had your back.”
Will has four boys of his own now, twins Jack and Henry who are 17, Tripp who is 15, and George who is 12. All attend Gaston Day School where his wife, Susanne, is a teacher.
Charles joined Will in the practice in May of this year.
Like Will, a Gaston County native, Charles is a 2008 graduate of Gaston Day who received his bachelor of science degree in exercise physiology in 2012 from Elon University.
Unlike Will, Charles was certain early on that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father Ron, although he chose to pursue general dentistry rather than periodontics.
“My dad has always been my best friend,” he said of his father. “I wanted to emulate him, not just professionally, but as a man, as a person.”
Charles chose general dentistry because, “I like a little bit of everything. I like the challenges that general dentistry brings.”
Charles and his wife, Mackenzie, are expecting their first child, a girl, in early February.
Both men speak of how the most rewarding part of their profession is getting to develop one-on-one relationships with their patients
“Health care is too often a commodity,” said Will. “A true relationship with a patient is essential. Outcomes are so much better when the whole person is treated.”
Both men also spoke of the cohesiveness of the Gaston County dental care community.
“Someone always has your back,” said Charles. “No matter what specialists we are working with, there is always a tremendous level of respect and cooperation.”
Bill Poteat may be reached at 704-869-1855 or [email protected]