Unlike most, I’ve never had a fear of the dentist. I’m sure it has something to do with my pediatric dentist, Dr. Wolkstein. I loved Dr. Wolkstein. His office, in the basement of the now Kaiser San Jose building, was always bright and cheery. His staff seemed so nice. His skills at hiding those hideous dental tools made getting any dental work done a breeze. But it wasn’t until I left for college and had some major dental work completed after a losing my wisdom teeth, that I came to really appreciate the bedside manner of Dr. Wolkstein.
As a child, Dr. Wolkstein seemed incredibly old. But doing the math now, he’s probably just a few years older than my parents. I had assumed that he had long ago retired before a quick Yelp search on Pediatric Dentists brought back a result for a Dr. Wolkstein. It turned out to be his son, “Dr. Greg,” but a quick look at his website revealed that my Dr. Wolkstein… the dad of the new Dr. Wolkstein… practiced with his son. I immediately called the office to set up an appointment for my own child.
Walking into his new office (“new” being a relative term here, I haven’t seen the dentist since I was 14) was a blast from the past. The paintings on the wall were fresh from the 70s and 80s. On one shelf sat the children’s encyclopedias that I read as child. The baskets of vintage Lincoln Logs brought me back to the times I spent waiting in the lobby for my brother. My brother’s mouth was so small that Dr. Wolkstein extracted most of his baby teeth before those teeth were ever loose. My brother still wore braces to straighten his teeth, but Dr. Wolkstein saved his bite.
My son loved Dr. Wolkstein. Even when he told the kid that he’d have to pull the two front teeth if they don’t naturally fall out in the next week. It seems my son may have inherited my brother’s small jaw. We may be seeing lots more of Dr. Wolkstein in the future.