By Steve Yablonski
He may be the boss—but to dentist Benjamin Fruce, he’s still dad.
“It depends on what context,” Ben laughed. “Sometimes he’s ‘dad’ and sometimes he’s Dr. Fruce.”
The younger Fruce recently joined Advanced Dental Arts in Fulton as a full-time dentist. His father, Frank J. Fruce, is the practice owner.
A Fulton native, Ben earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from LeMoyne College in 2017 and his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine in 2021.
“I enjoy it. It is nice to be back and working together as a family — keeping the family business going,” Ben said.
His mother, Gabriela, also works at the practice.
Frank Fruce has been in practice for 30 years.
“He is a great mentor,” Ben said. “Having him as a father, a boss, I’m not afraid to ask him questions or ask for his help with something. If I don’t understand something or need help getting something done, he’s right there to help me.”
On the other hand, he is also able to assist his father.
Ben has more current knowledge of dentistry.
“Yes. My dad does ask me about certain things, he does. You know, it’s funny how we go back and forth—the literature, all the research I have done is much more recent and there have been changes in dentistry. I teach him some things like with digital dentistry,” Ben said.
It is the use of things like intra-oral scanners to fabricate and design dental restorations and prosthetics, he explained.
“We have these scanners and we take digital impressions. We can build crowns or digital dentures stuff like that,” he said. “It’s pretty cool.”
Will there be a third generation joining the practice?
“It’s a long way off, but you never know,” Ben laughed.
He has been interested in dentistry since and early age.
“My dad introduced me to dentistry. I was playing hockey—got a tooth knocked out. Even though my dad had just gotten done with work; he turned around and went right back and fixed my teeth that were broken. I knew that I wanted to help people also,” Ben said.
“I really only wanted to be a dentist,” he continued. “My dad was an educator as well as a practitioner. He was giving people dental care; stopping their pain. I wanted to be in a field where I could help people. Things just went from there.”
“I am extremely pleased to welcome my son, Ben, to our family practice,” his father said. “Patients are enjoying his friendly manner, youthful energy and total focus on their care.”
The younger Fruce has been seeing the majority of new patients.
He also sees emergency patients if the schedule is over-booked, he added.
“We split the hygiene appointments based on the day. If patients want to continue to see my dad, that’s perfectly OK with me. They have the option to see me and give me a chance. We’ll go from there.”
Ben completed a one-year general practice residency at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, which encompassed all phases of dentistry, including cosmetic, endodontic, pediatric, periodontal, oral surgery and implant dentistry.
He also completed the advanced implant program sponsored by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, which encompasses all aspects of implant surgery, including implant restorations and management of implant complications. He is an associate fellow with the AAID and a member of the American Dental Association and the New York State Fifth District Dental Society.
He also enjoys being outdoors, cooking and spending time with his family.
And, he still enjoys playing hockey.
The senior Fruce, a Fulton native with more than 25 years of experience in dentistry, received his doctorate from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston. He is a member of the Oswego County Dental Society, American Dental Association and the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. He is also an attending dentist at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center and volunteers at its dental clinic where he teaches and mentors first-year dentists in the residency program.