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Q&A with with Sanibel resident Dr. Mark Corke

By Staff | Sep 24, 2009

Dr. Mark Corke is one of those people you can’t help but be relaxed with. He is a fun-loving, compassionate dentist who is dedicated to his family and living a healthy life.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Baltimore County Maryland, just north of Baltimore City.

What brought you to Sanibel?

My wife Terry and I honeymooned on Sanibel in September 1986.

As many people do, we fell in love with the island.

We began to return for vacations, soon decided that this was where we wanted to retire, but after having children the reputation of The Sanibel School influenced us greatly. Once on vacation we met a little boy on his bike in front of Bailey’s and talked to him about what it was like to grow up on Sanibel. He talked about how he was free to ride his bike all over the island, he even invited us home to meet his parents! We did not take him up on the offer but this charismatic little island boy was an inspiration for moving our family here in 1998.

What do you enjoy most about living on the island?

There are so many activities on the island that promote a healthy lifestyle such as biking, swimming, the Rec center, good friends, the serenity of the beach and being surrounded by nature.

We hear you are a dentist what drew you to that profession? How long have you been a dentist and what do you specialize?

Baltimore Maryland is the home of the University of Maryland Dental School, the first dental school in the world. Dentistry, being a mix of art and science attracted me to it.

You have to have three dimensional perception to create artistic dentistry that rivals and even improves on nature. I have been a dentist for 31 years and have now attained fellowship status in the Academy of General Dentistry. This means I have completed 500 hours of continuing

education and was recently notified that I passed the rigorous examination. I enjoy using lasers and my CEREC machine for one visit CAD CAM ceramic crowns that I fabricate right in my office. I love giving people the straight teeth they always wanted with orthodontics.

How can people get over their fear of going to the dentist? We hear you are known for making visits pleasant and – gasp painless. Why is that?

My passion is relaxation dentistry. The goal of relaxation dentistry is to be able to deliver treatment to even the most fearful patient using the latest sedation techniques, sometimes making it their first pleasant dental experience.

We start with a friendly caring staff and then for treatment we utilize any of these; lasers, nitrous oxide gas, oral sedation, IV sedation and The Wand, a computer that delivers the numbing in an advanced gentle way to create profound anesthesia.

What do you

recommend folks do to keep their mouths healthy?

I like to educate people about how their diet affects dental health and how to practice the proper oral hygiene. My philosophy is to encourage patient visits based on the concept of the prevention of disease, not waiting till it hurts. Many people don’t realize that an unhealthy mouth can cause complications to other areas of their body. For example periodontal disease can contribute to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

What is your most rewarding dental experience you had with a patient?

I remember one dear patient of ours, a man in his 60’s who was deathly afraid of coming to the dentist.

On his consultation visit he was literally shaking as he told me about his lifelong history of terrible dental experiences. We reassured him that he need not be embarrassed as he was not alone, citing the many patients that have told us of similar experiences. Treatment was begun under IV sedation and after many pleasant visits resulting in a new smile we could see his trust increasing. Over the years as his confidence grew we were able to treat him using just nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Then one day he proclaimed with a big smile on his face that he did NOT need anything today!

Word on the street is that you and your wife Terry are into all around healthy living and eating organic. What do you do to live healthy?

We follow CHIP, the cardiovascular health improvement program. This is a high fiber diet that lowers your cholesterol and keeps you at a healthy weight. Go to chiphealth.org to find a program close to where you live, it can save your life.

When you are not fixing teeth and

brightening smiles what do you do for fun and relaxation?

I enjoy being outdoors on this wonderful island. I like to bike, take beach walks, read, work in my garden and cook.

What is your family life like?

I have a wonderful family, a wife of 23 years, two teenagers that bring joy to my life, an active 88-year-old mother-in-law that many islanders know and love and a funny golden retriever mix. We are a very close family that enjoy spending time together.

What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I have over 15,000 songs on my ipod. Being an avid music lover I have been collecting music since 1965.

What are your long and short-term goals?

Long term I would like to retire and enjoy Sanibel even more, enjoy good health and travel. Short term I am working on taking my dental practice to the highest level possible.

You tend to be pretty happy-go-lucky and relaxed. What do you consider the source of your happiness?

Family and friends keep me happy. I am truly blessed.