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Grass Valley dentist keeps practice going despite office fire

Katrina Paz
Special to The Union
Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

It takes a definite perseverance to succeed in business. In fact, in today’s economy, it takes a certain resolve just to get by. Add a fire to the mix and you might expect anyone to just throw in the towel, but Dr. David Gabor merely dusts himself off and rebuilds. It’s a feat which is more admirable considering he retired from dentistry several years ago.

Gabor bought a small dental practice from Dr. Bruce Golder just weeks before the office was destroyed by a fire June 28. Gabor had been in Utah on vacation when he received a 4 a.m. phone call with the news of the fire.

“Having just purchased the practice, I was happy as a lark with the business,” Gabor said. “And then the fire, it was a big surprise.”

Gabor had already lost some of the practice’s former patients with the turnover, then lost more with the fire. The insurance company was quick and responsive, and he was able to quickly relocate to a new location just 50 yards away, but much of his equipment suffered severe smoke damage and needed to be cleaned or replaced, which took time. The local dental community was supportive, and Dr. Mark Winger stepped up to let Gabor use an office to see a patient who needed immediate attention.

“It was a really big help and simply kind of him,” Gabor said.

A love of his craft also strengthens his resolve — that and perhaps a bit of nudging from his wife. Though he retired several years ago, his wife urged him to go back to work after she felt he looked “bored.” The couple had moved to Sacramento where his wife works as a cancer researcher for the University of California, Davis. Gabor began working at a clinic for low income patients in Sacramento, where patients and procedures are aplenty.

“Things happen very fast there. It’s a different pace, but very rewarding,” Gabor said. “We help people who might otherwise have nowhere to go.”

Gabor then came across Golder’s practice and thought it would be a nice balance to his work at the clinic. He works two to three days a week and is just now beginning to really get back to business with all of his equipment and supplies finally coming out of storage in the last few weeks.

He carries on though with his chin up. He comes from a long line of doctors, dentists and oral surgeons. His family moved to the U.S. from Hungary when he was 16 and after years of observing the craft, he began to professionally follow in his family’s footsteps in 1968, even serving as a dentist in the Navy for a while.

“Dentistry is a precise practice. I appreciate the combination of art and science,” he said.

Dr. Gabor is located at 316 South Auburn St. and is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and occasionally Wednesdays. For information, call (530) 477-7944.

Katrina Paz is a freelance writer in Grass Valley.

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