Howard County Times
Howard County

A dentist worth smiling about [Fulton/Highland]

Dr. Patrick Gochar in the Maple Lawn office

It's good to know that there are still folks who go above and beyond "the expected," isn't it? When we hear about these folks, we may smile and nod our heads. But when it happens to us, now that's a different story altogether. For us, it becomes an empirical experience and not just some hearsay "a friend of a friend told me that this guy he knows …" Full disclosure: the facts of the story come from my nephew Bill Leishear Jr., son of Margaret and Bill Leishear Sr. of Highland.

Back in the spring of this year on a certain Saturday evening, Bill Jr's son Nate was experiencing pretty severe wisdom tooth pain. Over-the-counter pain meds like Advil were just not doing the trick. It being a weekend and a Saturday evening to boot, Bill and his wife Erin were trying to figure out what they could do to alleviate Nate's pain discomfort. Bill knew that the husband of one of their friends was a dentist, so Bill texted Cori Gochar and asked her if she would ask her husband, Patrick Gochar, if he could recommend some course of action for Nate.


"We have known the Gochars for four years. They live in Clarksville and their son Ryan goes to school with Nate at Loyola Blakefield in Towson and they play lacrosse together," wrote Bill in his email to me. Bill and Erin were not expecting what happened next. Gochar, who is not the Leishear's regular dentist, asked them to bring Nate to his office in Maple Lawn and let him have a look at the tooth. Nate had a pretty serious infection that needed immediate attention. Gochar got right to work, draining the infected area and prescribed antibiotics and a mouth rinse.

"Did I mention that he is not even our regular dentist and it was a Sunday?" Bill wrote. This is going above and beyond, to coin a phrase. While Bill was waiting for Gochar to finish with Nate, Bill happened to notice a photo that contained a familiar face — his sister Erika Leishear of Florida. What Bill didn't know about his sister was that she had been a patient of Gochar's for a number of years. She was also friends with Gochar's wife, Cori, and that they had been classmates growing up in the Howard County school system. Gochar told Bill that "his specialty is cosmetic dentistry and that he is the artist — Bill's words — who transformed Erika's smile."


Gochar is a native Marylander who grew up in Catonsville. He graduated from Mount Saint Joseph High School, earned a B.S. degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in Baltimore. He always knew that he'd wind up in some part of medicine, but it wasn't until he was halfway through his college years that he knew it would be dentistry. Prior to 1999, he worked in other practices as an associate.

In 1999, he opened his first practice in Clarksville where he lives with Cori and their children Ryan, Natalie, Will and Taylor. After 15 years, he moved his practice to its current location in Maple Lawn in 2015. He said that almost all of the patients moved with him. And, of course, he picked up new patients with the move. He told me that he loved the science side of dentistry but really loves the artistic side of it: he has a real knack for seeing contours and shapes and can visualize how things should look — the creative side of his personality, as he put it. He said "It's fun. I like the exactness of it."

He has continued his pursuit of advancing in his profession. In 2013, he was awarded accreditation status from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, becoming the first accredited cosmetic dentist in Howard County and only the ninth dentist in the state of Maryland to have achieved this recognition. Gochar said that his work is a combination of a little bit of architect, a little bit of engineer and a little bit of artist. And he loves the interaction with the patients. Let me close this with Bill's final words from his email: "I hope you will share this story with your readers. If you don't know him already or if you are looking for a great dentist, look no further, call Dr. Gochar. He is a rock star!!!"

The Lime Kiln Middle School students of the week ending Oct. 14 were Kourtnie Borns, Zach Gaynor, Nathan Hoch, Rose Fernandes, Mansi Patel, Niko Zhang, Monique Thomas, Yara Ayache, Edwin Brown and Olav Jensen.