For almost 40 years, Dr. Joe Forgey has made Noblesville children’s teeth brighter, healthier
Dr. Joe Forgey estimates than in his job at Pediatric Dentistry of Noblesville, he’s seen or had his hands in thousands of mouths since he opened the practice in 1977.
“The last 15 years I’ve seen lots of second generation and some third generation,” he said.
Forgey attended Butler University to be a basketball coach and science teacher but the nature of the small college made him question his career path.
“The school was so small that most of my classmates were going to medical or dental school,” he said. “I thought, ‘Maybe I ought to consider to going to dental school.’ It was something I never thought about before.”
After graduating from Butler in 1970 and dental school Indiana University in 1975, Forgey completed a two-year pediatric dental residency at Riley Hospital for Children. One of his classmates, Steve Mullin, was from Noblesville and while he wanted to practice in a bigger city like Denver, suggested Forgey give his hometown a look.
“It was the right size but still small when I came here in 1977,” Forgey said.
In his 38 years, Forgey has had offices three different buildings – all in the same proximity. The first was the former Riverview Health Professionals Building where he had 1,200 square feet. After 15 years he moved to the old Pink Pig Building and renovated a former restaurant and real estate office into a 3,000 square feet practice and added Dr. Chad Hazelrigg. Seven years ago the practice built a new 6,000 square foot building at 106 Lakeview Dr. and added Dr. Charles Fuhrer.
“It’s been almost 40 years and I’ve never left the same parking lot,” Forgey said.
Noblesville was quite different when Forgey first began his practice.
“There weren’t hardly any specialist – dental or medical – in this area,” he said. “I did a lot of things I now refer out. There were no oral surgeons close. Now everything you need in medical dental you can get.”
Forgey also joked that the old saying with you had to drive to 86th Street for movies and restaurants. It then became 96th Street, then 146th Street.
“Now I find I don’t have to leave Noblesville for anything,” he said.
One thing that hasn’t changed in Forgey’s career is the tools of his trade.
“We’re doing a lot of the same but we have much better materials to work with,” he said. “It’s pretty much the same tools refined to do things a little easier and better. They had it pretty well figured out in 1970. The materials are much better. They are a lot more aesthetically better looking than what we had back then. Also x-rays are all digital. That’s one of the nicer things.”
The biggest change in the city that has impacted Forgey is the growth, particularly in the number of schools.
“There were three then. Noblesville barely needed a pediatric dentist in town,” he said.
As a way to educate youth on dental hygiene, Forgey began visiting local schools and speaking to kindergarteners and preschoolers about their teeth. He began in 1980 and has been doing it ever since at schools in Noblesville, Fishers and Sheridan.
“Twenty percent of the kid population still gets most of the cavities for the same reasons: they don’t get to the dentist soon enough, they eat way too much sweets and sugar, and they don’t brush enough. That’s stayed the same,” he said. “The disease that most children have more than anything else is dental decay. Why? Because we can’t get our hands on them soon enough.”
Fuhrer, who joined the practice after dental school and his residency, said Forgey is the best mentor he could ever have asked for.
“From dentistry to life I’ve learned a lot from Dr. Forgey. He never has a bad day. He’s a glass half-full kind of guy. Very seldom do I see him without a smile on his face,” he said. ““All three of us came here to work and live here and we wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Forgey’s way with patients and their parents is one aspect Fuhrer said he constantly learns from
“His bedside manner is something I try to emulate with my patients,” Fuhrer said. “Nobody does it better than Dr. Forgey.”
Pediatric Dentistry of Noblesville sees patients ages 0 through 18, but Forgey said the most business is ages 13 and younger.
“We see special needs folks over 18,” he said, “and some college kids still come back and see me.”
Meet Dr. Joe Forgey
Education: Carroll High School (1966); bachelor’s in biology at Butler University (1970); IU School of Dentistry (1975); Pediatric Dental Residency at Riley Hospital for Children (1977).
Family: Wife, Cynthia, who died in 2011; five children and five grandchildren.
Hobbies: In the first half of my adult life it was youth sports (Noblesville Boys & Girls Club, Noblesville Youth Soccer Club and Noblesville High School). Now I’m a runner/walker. I’ve done two marathons in past two years and many mini marathons. I also like to travel including trips to South Africa and Russia for dentistry. I’ve been around the world and there’s a lot more to see before I croak.
For more information, call 773-3617 or visit http://noblesvilledentistry.com.