David Mengel graduated top of his class at Golden Key College and Bay City College in Sacramento, CA. Sacramento was home for David; his father, a dental laboratory technician, owned and operated a successful dental laboratory there. David says his involvement in the “dental lab business” was a family affair; he and his brother worked with their father in his laboratory and, even today appreciates the hands-on skills he learned from his father. As a young man, he realized he enjoyed the business. He learned the artful skill involved and required to actually fabricate dental appliances and he was good at it.
Perhaps it was happenstance that led him to Reno, NV, where he met Dale Neiswender. David had never heard the word denturist until that meeting with Dale which introduced him, and eventually his family, to a whole new horizon. Dale was head over heels involved in the challenge of winning professional recognition for denturists in Arizona so they could practice independently. David wanted to also be involved and visited the people in Arizona who were spearheading the project. He knew denturists could serve the prosthetic dental needs for patients and provide superior service without the need for a “middleman.” In most cases, the dentist, who had little to no education about dentures would have to outsource the task to a dental laboratory which added to the extra time and expense for the patient. David was intrigued and wanted to get involved. He eventually moved to Arizona and opened his business and his family soon followed.
The struggle for independence in Arizona was not easy; it required enormous effort and expense. Since the issue has always been a popular “people” issue they were able to generate a lot of support from Arizona citizens especially the senior population. The small group persevered and secured enough signatures to get the issue placed on the ballot as a referendum; it won by the highest percentage of any issue ever placed on the Arizona ballot. Of course, with regulation came compulsory education, so after completing the required pre-med courses at Phoenix College and sitting for the Arizona State Board Examination, David received his Denturist License.
He says if he could offer advice to anyone wanting to pursue a career as a denturist it would be to get the best education possible. He has an interest in promoting education for denturists and believes setting a high standard is the answer for national recognition. He says that someday he would enjoy teaching students at a denturist college.
David is faithful to his profession…..he has been a member of the National Denturist Association, USA for many years and participates in the association activities. He serves patients at his clinic in Youngtown, AZ. Again, his humility is obvious when he says he owes the success of his practice to his associate, Mark Yates, DDS and to his staff. He finds his chosen profession rewarding and says, “I absolutely enjoy my profession. It is such a ‘rush’ to help people by providing a new smile that enhances their confidence.”
Those who know David also know that his other passion is flying, however, David says, he likes anything that goes fast; he enjoys sailing, motorcycling and piloting his small aircraft. If that were not enough to keep someone busy, he also enjoys flying his remote-controlled helicopter.
David insists he was only a small part of the success in Arizona and appeared a little embarrassed to be Spotlighted, “I was supportive, of course, but it was the other people in Arizona that carried the torch more than I. He insists they are the ones to be honored. To name just a few, people like Jim Fauci who was the president of the Denturist Association of Arizona at the time, and Thomas J. Everett who spearheaded the referendum, Tom Caldwell and Steve Wikstrom. They are the true pioneers. I owe my professional career to these gentlemen and the others who worked so diligently and unselfishly to have denturists recognized and licensed in Arizona. I will be forever grateful to them.”