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Crowns and bridges don't exactly top the list for favorite dental procedures.

Unless you're Mark Crego. Then, they're definitely your favorites.

'I'm rebuilding somebody's smile,' the dentist said.

Crowns and bridges cover natural teeth, which means they can be used to hide a multitude of sins. Don't like your color? Consider crowns. Need to fix a gap? Maybe go for a bridge.

Whatever the solution, Crego said he enjoys seeing the often immediate transformation, and not just of a patient's smile.

'You're really going to see a transformation of a patient. They're going to see their smile change, and they're going to see their personality come out,' Crego said.

It's just one of the things Crego still loves about his work, nearly 20 years after opening Mark Crego Dental, which was recently renamed Midtown Dental Care.

'We're transitioning,' admitted Crego, who started his practice alone in 1995.

Back then, it made sense to fly his flag under his own name. But, about 10 years ago, dentist Laura Russell joined the team. And, a few years after that, another dentist, her sister, Annmarie Hoyme also came on board.

Suddenly, Mark Crego Dental didn't quite cover it.

So, late last year, Crego began the transition to Midtown, a name that evokes the North Avenue dental office's location.

Beyond the name, little else has changed.

Inside, the office still looks more like a house than a dental practice, with a fireplace and other homey touches meant to put patients at ease.

And Crego still brings the same wonder for the work that first inspired him as a little boy.

'I always liked working with my hands and makings something; I made model cars and model airplanes. So I like small detail things. And I knew I wanted to get into some sort of health care where I would have a long-term relationship with patients.'

Dentistry has given him the chance to not only connect with patients, but also with his community.

'I feel like you either need to be helping people who are less fortunate and need help or you just need to stay involved in the community. That was something I learned growing up. I need to support the people who support me,' Crego said.

For Crego, that's meant partnering with the Lions Club, which collects old eyeglasses and sunglasses, which are then distributed around the world for people in need. He also donates dental services to low-income patients through Donated Dental Services.

'Over my 20 years, we've probably seen close to 100 donated dental services patients,' Crego estimated.

And, in Wauwatosa, the home he adopted after graduating from Marquette University, Crego makes free mouth guards for local high school athletes.

'Any kids in sports, we always want there to be a mouth guard. And we don't want anything cost-wise prohibiting that,' Crego said.

JUST THE FACTS

BUSINESS:Midtown Dental Care, 8726 W. North Ave.

WEB:www.midtowndentalcare.org

PHONE: (414) 258-5351

OWNER: Mark Crego

INCORPORATED:1995

TYPE OF BUSINESS: dentist

PEARLS OF WISDOM:'I get to see the completion of everything. Maybe (patients) have something they want to do with their smile; you get to see the before and after and how it can help them and change their lives in some cases. It can be very emotional.'

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