The legacy of a local dentist’s office is not only about the several different doctors who, passing the torch gradually from one to the next, have carried the practice through many decades, but it also encompasses core values of family, integrity and community that have been maintained
over the years.
Family Dentistry currently has two full-time dentists and about 17 staff employees between two locations, said Adrianna Scouten, office manager. The Corry office is located at 62 W. Columbus Ave., adjacent to Northwest Savings Bank. The Union City office is at 77 N. Main St.
Dr. Scott Pruckner, who joined the practice as an associate in 1988, and Dr. Randy Clapp, who joined in July 2021, are the practice’s current partners. Dr. Chip Zieleski, who practiced there for about 40 years, is considered to have retired as of August, according to Pruckner.
The practice was originally founded by the late Dr. John Mohr, who began his work in downtown Corry as early as the 1950s. At some point prior to Zieleski joining him as an associate in 1982, Mohr moved to the current Corry location, and that office was later renovated in 2001.
It is unclear at what point the practice became known by its current name.
Zieleski eventually bought Mohr out, and he and Pruckner were partners for over 30 years before Zieleski’s recent retirement.
Pruckner said Zieleski and Mohr began the Union City office in the mid- to late-80s. It started as what’s called a satellite practice, which was housed in a Medical Arts Building behind the former Union City Memorial Hospital. Then, the office was opened at its current location in the mid- to late-90s.
Mohr died in May at the age of 98.
Currently, Clapp and Pruckner each spend two days a week in Corry and two days in Union City, with Clapp alternating locations on Fridays. This way, there is one dentist at each office every day.
Around 40 or 45 patients are seen daily at each office, the dentists said, and the total number of patients numbers in the thousands. Scouten noted they come not only from Corry and Union City, but as far away as Clarendon, Pennsylvania. Still others are from Warren; Titusville; Erie; Wattsburg; Waterford; and Clymer, New York.
Pruckner said he likes seeing third generation patients — that is, the children and grandchildren
of people he treated at the beginning of his career.
“It’s kind of nice to see that full circle,” he said.
For Clapp, the most rewarding part is the aesthetic dentistry, or seeing people gain confidence because they are able to make improvements to their smiles.
“That’s the stuff that’s really satisfying,” he said.
Scouten, Pruckner and Clapp all noted that at the center of big changes in the industry is often an advancement in digitalization. Everything from record-keeping to conducting scans and X-rays has worked its way through various stages of computerization. Significant advances have also been made in things like orthodontics, implants and periodontal treatments. Still, Scouten feels the practice as a whole does a good job keeping up with new developments in the industry. “The doctors are great about keeping on top of what’s going on in the dental world,” she said. “What I like about the office is, they don’t jump on the bandwagon of every single thing, because a lot of things come and go.” Scouten said the dentists tend not to follow trends before lengthier research can be done, which allows them to keep patient costs down. And, in Scouten’s opinion, this outlook is well-received by patients.
“I think our patients just appreciate that our doctors are willing to be more conservative, listen to the patient and not push any certain treatments,” she said. “It really is a family atmosphere, with all of us working together. They are very much into listening to what the patient wants.”
One major challenge Clapp, Pruckner and Scouten each mentioned was a Covid-induced hiatus, during which only emergency situations could be handled. However, with less routine assistance available, Scouten said she thinks the pandemic actually helped instill in people the importance of maintaining their dental hygiene and getting a routine check-up every six months. Pruckner agreed, adding that young people in particular seem to be grasping the importance of fluoride treatments more so than before. Dealing with insurance companies, which can sometimes tend to dictate treatment and not increase reimbursements even as expenses go up, can be another obstacle.
Regardless, the practice tries to participate with every insurance company possible, and, to help patients with high costs, there is a discount plan available for those who don’t have dental insurance.
“They’re always willing to work with people as much as they can,” Scouten said.
Family Dentistry’s hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Both offices are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
For more information, visit www.familydentistrycorryuc.com.