Thursday, September 19, 2002

Dental practice bridged ages

Dentist kept current over 50 years of new techniques

By Laura Baverman,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Dr. Jacque Cain used steel, belt-driven hand tools in his first dentistry in 1952.

        He treated patients after World War II who hadn't had dental treatment since before the war.

[photo] Dr. Jacque Cain will keep busy on his 10-acre horse farm.
(Tony Jones photo)
| ZOOM |
        In his early years, he worked 12 hours a day, six days a week from a home at Rapid Run Road and Glenway Avenue in Covedale. Dr. Cain just six weeks ago hung up his drill and announced his retirement at age 77, after 50 years of dental practice.

        Dr. Cain moved to Cincinnati in August 1952 after completing six years at Ohio State University's pre-dental and dental schools.

        He worked for 10 years out of the Rapid Run home until he, his accountant and several others opened the Western Hills Professional Building on Glenway Avenue by the Covedale Theater. He spent the next 40 years of practice in that building.

        Dr. Cain estimates that he served more than 300,000 patients throughout his career.

        In the early years of his practice, there was no dental insurance. His patients paid the full amount for his services, and there were few complaints.

        Beginning in the '80s, he provided insurance through Dental Care Plus and Delta Dental, companies that allowed him to set his own fees. While Dr. Cain lost patients because he wasn't a provider through many insurance companies, he never believed that his practice suffered.

        Dr. Cain was also always up-to-date on the technological developments in the field.

        “It was very interesting to see things being developed, means of helping to control disease that we hadn't had before,” he said.

        In order to keep up over the years, Dr. Cain joined several study clubs and helped to form the Queen City Dental Seminar to improve dental practice and technology in the Cincinnati area. He also took courses at the University of Kentucky and at Ohio State to learn about periodontal disease, an infection of the gums, and occlusion, the way the teeth meet together and function.

        Innovations excited him because they made dental practice easier on him and his patients.

        Beginning in 1960, Delhi Township resident Thomas Hoffman sold dental technology to Dr. Cain. In 1961, he became one of Dr. Cain's patients.

        Mr. Hoffman supplied more than 300 Cincinnati dentists in his 40-year career but rated Dr. Cain's devotion to his patients and to growing dental technology at the top of his list.

        Jane Heimlich met Dr. Cain when she was writing a health-care column for the Enquirer in the 1980s. After the article, she became a patient.

        “He was so forthright, so honest and so reassuring,” she said. “You know that when you sit in his chair, you are in good, good hands.”

        For other patients, Dr. Cain was the only dentist they ever knew.

        Sister Mary Ann Jansen, Order of St. Ursula, began seeing Dr. Cain when she was 11 years old in the early 1960s. What she remembers most about him was his appreciation of his job and his high standards.

        “I don't think of Dr. Cain as just a dentist. He was really an artist in life,” she said.

        Several months ago, Dr. Cain began to look toward retirement. He spoke with his accountant to prepare his records and found that another dentist, who owned a practice just three doors down from Dr. Cain's, was looking to expand.

        Soon after, Dr. Cain met with Dr. Lawrence Hagen, a 1979 graduate of Ohio State's dental school and a Finneytown native.

        “I met him on Saturday, gave him a letter of intent on Monday, had lunch on Friday and signed the contract on Sunday,” Dr. Hagen said.

        The proceedings went so quickly because Dr. Hagen offered to buy all of Dr. Cain's equipment and accounts receivable.

        Beginning Aug. 5, Dr. Cain's 1,269 patients were transferred to Dr. Hagen's practice as well as his hygienist of 18 years.

        “I look up to him (Cain) as a mentor. How he kept up over the years is amazing,” Dr. Hagen said.

        He and his assistant, Dr. Jeff Miller, now serve more than 5,000 patients with the acquisition.

        Out of practice for more than a month now, Dr. Cain is as busy as ever building a horse stable on his 10-acre Sayler Park farm.

        His granddaughter's aging horse will reside there as well as other horses needing homes.

        While he misses his patients and his work, he has enjoyed keeping busy around the house.

        To him, a 50-year career was all in a day's work.

        “I'm surprised people are interviewing me about my practice. It's just been a normal life to me,” he said.


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