‘Wisdom Tooth Guru’ feels pull of retirement | Area News

In the summertime of 1986, Dr. Edward Urig wanted an X-ray device to examine damaged jaws, so he haggled with Century Lender in Santa Fe to sell him a single it had just lately seized.

“I received lucky because another oral surgeon experienced just up and walked out of his observe,” Urig explained. “It was probably truly worth $3,000.”

The lender also bought Urig an previous barbershop chair with a hand pump, enabling him to examine some of his to start with fractures.

Following 35 several years as an oral surgeon in his individual apply, as very well as Santa Fe’s unexpected emergency rooms and volunteer clinics, Urig, recognised to some as “the Wisdom Tooth Guru,” is retiring this month.

“Of course, I stopped counting,” Urig explained. “But I can estimate rather strongly that I pulled 39,000 sets of knowledge tooth in my occupation.”

Urig, 67, grew up in Colorado Springs, Colo., and resolved he desired to be a dentist when learning at the College of Northern Colorado. There he met his wife, office supervisor and bookkeeper, Debbie Urig, who grew up in Santa Fe.

“Medical faculty and particularly the residencies are truly, definitely hard on doctors. As an undergrad, most of my close friends who experienced long gone on to health-related faculty and all the health professionals I knew growing up acquired divorced,” Urig claimed. “The dentists were being not. I didn’t want to get divorced.”

The Urigs moved to Santa Fe right after he concluded his oral surgery residency at the University of Iowa and started looking for a place to set up a observe. The initially damaged jaw he examined on the old barbershop chair was the son of an upholsterer, who later on served spruce up the workplace.

“I saw a pair of previous dentist chairs going by on the back again of a truck. I stopped them and said, ‘Don’t take these away, drop them off, and we’ll swing a deal with the dentist,’ ” Debbie Urig recalled. “It had just so occurred that Ed’s pretty very first affected individual was a jaw fracture whose father was an upholsterer.”

In the 1980s and ’90s, Urig states he was referred to as into the emergency area four nights a 7 days, mainly for jaw fractures from fights and motor vehicle accidents. Through the working day, he stored escalating his apply by pulling wisdom tooth through, perfectly, word-of-mouth advertising.

“I possibly gained 20 lbs getting dentists to lunch to be equipped to develop my exercise with referrals,” Urig stated. “For oral surgeons, knowledge tooth are what pays the expenses.”

A person of Urig’s extra unforgettable patients was Joni Brenneisen, who set off obtaining her wisdome tooth eradicated until eventually she was 55 owing to a anxiety of needles and operating rooms.

“I have constantly been scared to demise of needles, but he was capable to speak me into it,” Brenneisen explained. “I was mountaineering in Bandelier the upcoming working day. When I located out he was retiring, I begun brushing my enamel 3 occasions a day since I just cannot imagine locating any one as superior as him.”

By the mid-’90s, when Urig moved his follow to Clinic and St. Michael’s drives, he experienced noticed quite a few of his trauma people experienced a need to handle and fix facial scars lengthy after surgical procedure, so he commenced researching beauty medical procedures. With a laser cure, he started out resurfacing the edges of face wounds to make them less apparent.

In addition to his personal practice, he volunteered at a cleft palate clinic for kids and for the Villa Therese Catholic Clinic, which not too long ago broke ground on a new midtown facility following much more than 80 yrs on the grounds of what is now the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

Urig has one particular much more working day of comply with-up appointments for the latest surgeries ahead of retirement. The Knowledge Enamel Guru said he’s on the lookout forward to time with his two children and other activities not involving oral surgery.

“So a lot of a man’s identification is in what he does. I had a challenging time permitting that go,” Urig stated. “When you end a vocation as a health practitioner, it is not just about you going for walks absent from the perform. It’s about all the patients.”