In 2021, the Watson family dental practice will be 100 years old.
It all started with my grandfather, Dr. Harry Watson, Marquette University Class of 1921. His graduation composite photo hangs in my office, along with his diploma (in Latin). Many of the names on this photo most of us might recognize.
We still have a handful of his patients coming to our practice to this day. I feel fortunate enough to see how he did things without high speed hand pieces, and air and water spray. These elderly patients, who saw him near to the end of his life, still have gold inlays and crowns in their mouths remaining in perfect condition after 65 years. He was one of the founders of The American Academy of Orthodontics for the General Practioner (AAOGP), an entity that still exists to this day. He was involved in organized dentistry and served as president-elect of the Greater Milwaukee Dental Association from 1958-1959.
Dr. Harry Watson, Sr. (left)
My father, Dr. David Watson, joined him in practice in 1955 at his office on 20th and Capitol in Milwaukee, until my grandfather’s death in 1960. At the time of Dr. Harry’s death, he had 100 ortho cases in various stages of completion. My dad had to learn ortho quickly, which he did. He finished all of Harry’s cases and began his own. In 1969, Dr. Dave moved to 76th and Capitol, where he practiced alone until I joined him in 1983. My dad was the head of the dental clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital, which taught the twin wire orthodontic techniques to other dentists from all over the country.
We both practiced at that location until 1991 when we moved to Menomonee Falls, where we continued until Dr. Dave retired in 2000. I stayed by myself until I moved my practice to my current location in Germantown in 2006.
It was like having the knowledge of the ages at my fingertips. Unfortunately, none of my children have gone into dentistry so the run will end with me. What a ride it’s been!