Having someone poke around in your teeth likely isn’t anyone’s ideal way to spend time, but oral surgeon Dr. Cabel McDonald, who’s new to Longview, might alleviate anyone’s anxiousness with his casual Southern charm.
McDonald, 38, is the youthful new owner of Longview Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery on 11th Avenue, which he purchased on July 14.
McDonald grew up in Seminole, Texas, near Lubbock, and began dental school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City on a military scholarship. He said he originally planned to become an orthodontist, then a general dentist — until he actually had to perform dentistry while stationed at Fort Lewis.
“In the Army, you realize very quickly that if you’re a general dentist, you only get to do certain things,” McDonald said. “Everything that’s a little more advanced goes to the specialists. I didn’t want to be on the ‘fill-and-drill line,’ where all you do is make a hole and fill it. So I decided to specialize.”
McDonald said he developed an interest in oral surgery while helping to re-configure soldiers’ faces after suffering battle wounds in the Middle East.
“From 2007 to 2008, the war was escalating, and the trauma was coming back,” he said. “These people were going to need reconstruction. That’s where the oral surgery took off, because I was interested in the O.R. and the hospital and being able to help people.”
After 10 years practicing with the Army, McDonald said he needed a change.
“I knew I … wanted to get out of the military, so I looked for practices for sale, and (Longview Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery) was a very good practice,” McDonald said. “I came in and saw it, met Dr. Timothy Nelson, the previous owner. I fell in love with him and the building.”
However, McDonald joked that there is one aspect to his new location that he’s looking to change soon.
“I do want to get rid of the teal (carpet),” he said, chuckling. “I love the building, but we’ve got to bring it back up to 2017.”
According to McDonald, an oral surgeon performs dental implants, extractions, removes wisdom teeth, and can diagnose oral cancer, among other things. And unlike a dentist, where patients typically just walk in and make an appointment, McDonald’s patients are referred to him by their dentists.
Because of this, he said building connections with local dentists is key.
“I try to meet them, take them to lunch, do whatever just so they can be introduced to me,” McDonald said of local dentists. “I stay affiliated with the local dental society here, so they constantly see me.”
The former owner of the private practice, Tim Nelson, said McDonald’s youthful spark and years of experience should be a great asset to the community.
“It’s a pretty demanding profession, and I’m now 64, so it’s a definite improvement that he is young,” Nelson said. “However, he has had five years of experience in the Army since competing his oral surgeon residency, so he’s not somebody that is green and unable to meed the demands of the profession and give excellent care. I can tell that is just a great fit.”
McDonald said although he’s only lived here for a few months, he and his wife, who teaches at Mint Valley Elementary, already love Longview.
“I’m very happy to be in the area. We do want to be involved in the community, just like Dr. Nelson. He left really big shoes to fill, and a great legacy, and we hope to fill that.”