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Dr. Mark Shull - Retire? - Heck no, the weed-free yard will have to wait

By Darlene Bowers
“If I retired, I’d have a weed-free yard,” exclaims Mark Shull, whose dentistry practice has been a part of Main Street in Ada since 1962.

Mark has absolutely no plans to retire, though. Ask him how he got started in dentistry and he laughs and then relates the events. “Well my birthday is on Halloween so I started school at age 5 and then entered college at age 17.”

Mark began as a pre-pharmacy student at Capital University in Bexley, Ohio, but after the first semester decided he was then terrible at math so he changed to pre-med with a chemistry minor.

About his senior year, Mark decided he did not want to be a medical doctor and decided to take the dental aptitude test. Mark says he did well on the test and it [dentistry] has been a great choice. Mark attended the College of Dentistry at The Ohio State University and graduated in 1958. Soon after graduation Mark volunteered for service in the U.S. Army and served 4 years and 16 days. However, Mark is adamant to point out that he was never near combat.

Mark’s dentistry service to Ada began in 1962 located above the current Reichert’s store where Alger and Robert Tipple’s father/son dentistry had been located. Mark moved his practice in 1969 to a new building across the street to 120 S. Main in 1969 where it remains today. 

“I started with belt-driven hand pieces which were quite slow,” states Mark. “In the Army we had a few air-driven hand pieces, but not like now,” explains Mark about the changes he has seen in dentistry over the years.

“We used to recommend hard toothbrushes and thought that flossing did more harm than good,” adds Mark about times gone by.  He also recalls using no aprons or bibs during X-rays and not using masks or gloves, now all standard procedures. “Of course we always washed hands frequently,” adds Mark.

Mark is quick to answer when asked what he enjoys most about his occupation. “The people,” he says. “I try to treat everyone as a friend. I’m too old to worry about titles. Many patients just call me Mark, and that’s fine with me,” he says, genuinely pleased. 

Mark’s best advice for good dental health is to stay away from sweets and away from chewing tobacco. Mark also recommends brushing 2-4 times per day and flossing daily. “I have never seen anyone lose their teeth from taking too good of care of them,” states Mark.

New patients are always welcome and office hours are Monday through Thursday. Mark can be contacted at (419) 634-5901.

Mark is active in Ada Kiwanis and has always been active with the Lutheran church both in Ada and also in Lima.

So what would Mark be doing if he were not a dentist? It hearkens back to that weed free yard. “I love being outside; maybe a landscaper,” he muses as he shares a lovely photo of a vignette from his backyard featuring a piled stone raised bed he built himself.

Mark also recalls his labor intensive brick driveway for which his family’s help was enlisted. Mark met his wife, Julie, as a classmate at Capital, and they married on Aug. 28, 1955, during dental school. Now with three grown daughters, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, Mark lovingly relates proud grandfather stories and shares that the couple still keeps in touch with a close group of friends from their days at Capital through annual reunions.

“I still enjoy it,” shares Mark about his dentistry practice and says that many of his patients tell him he can’t quit. Before coming to Mark’s practice, one patient told Mark all others wanted to do was pull his teeth. This patient now boasts still having every tooth he had when he first came to Mark’s office 50 years ago.

The weed-free yard will have to wait.