Academy Dental traces its origins to 1979 when Dr. Garth Duff returned to his hometown to practice dentistry. Dr. Duff purchased a private practice at 179 Academy Street and, over the years, became a Presque Isle institution. Many of Academy Dental's current patients numbered among Dr. Duff's original patients.
The early practice had the great fortune of hiring a tremendous original team of loyal, hardworking, bright, and consistently consistent employees. Of these, Mary Delong, Anne Dicker, and Sue Sager still practice their craft at 179 Academy Street today. Their familiar faces help our patients experience a comfort and continuity of care unique to Academy Dental.
In 1995, Dr. Duff merged his practice with that of Dr. Norma Desjardins. Together, they founded Academy General Dentistry (AGD). A native of Van Buren, Dr. Desjardins brought with her a tremendous addition to AGDher St. John Valley patients. She also brought ambitious plans for the new partnership. Together, Dr. Duff and Dr. Desjardins were fortunate to have a bevy of dental professionals join their team. These outstanding new hires included Margaret McPherson, and Sandi Bouchard.
As the practice began demonstrating significant growth, Dr. Desjardins and her husband Paul purchased the practice real estate and built the current clinical section. In 2002, the "new and enlarged" building was opened to patients. A more accessible and patient friendly workspace, AGD now housed nine operatories and, yes, more employees. Stacey Smith and Shelley Clark joined the dental practice next.
In 2007, Dr. Mark Melendez-Christensen came to Academy Dental by way of Kentucky. He subsequently purchased Dr. Duff's interest in AGD to coincide with Dr. Duff's semi-retirement and his move to the Topsham area and the practice was renamed simply Academy Dental. Each region in the state of Maine ends up having a standout dentist whose reputation and skill makes him or her the "go to" clinician in the area. Such was Dr. Duff's stellar reputation in Aroostook County. Due to his attention to detail, wry sense of humor, and tremendous leadership, Dr. Duff's retirement left a hole in our community that will be difficult to fill. Though the partridge of the County will continue to be decimated by him come October, his patients, colleagues, and friends will sorely miss him.
2016 saw another stellar dental career close. Dr. Desjardins' retirement from active clinical dentistry came after over two decades of patient care. Though continuing on as the Executive Director of the St. Apollonia Dental Clinic, Dr. Desjardins 24 years of treating County patients came to an end. Like Dr. Duff, her dental service to the community was outstanding in her capacity as an oral healthcare provider. Her clinical excellence, keen intellect, and warmth of personality will also be sorely missed. She and her husband Paul are hoping to hit the open road and see the country once there's a pause in the birth of grandkids.
Dr. Melendez-Christensen and his manager-spouse Charlotte (Char), and all the members of the Academy Dental team, are committed to continuing the fine tradition of doctors Duff and Desjardins by providing quality and comprehensive dentistry in a patient centered environment on Academy Street.