Dentist works hard and plays harder

John Berg's guidelines for healthy teeth come in a simple list of three—floss, use toothpaste with fluoride and brush with an electric toothbrush. His rule for a well-rounded life is just as easy.

"Life is kind of a balance between your career, your family, your friends and then the activities that make all that mesh into one thing," he said. "I really enjoy a lot of aspects about life."

Berg, who at 66 has been a Glendale dentist for 43 years, never knew another occupation he wanted to pursue. His father, Paul Edward Berg, moved to Glendale from Indiana, attended USC dental school and established a practice off Central. In 1950, Paul Berg moved the practice into the quaint brick building that John Berg works out of today, the very same one he'd walk to as a child after class at Incarnation Parish School and play with his father's tools.

By age 19 he had already graduated from St. Francis High School, Glendale Community College and USC's dental program. Berg's older brother, Edward, was also a dentist before retiring. Their father passed away in 1976 at age 70.

To be clear, Berg does not use just any electric toothbrush, and in doing so, lives up to the ad slogan, "The Brand More Dentists Use Themselves Worldwide."

"Braun Oral-B is fantastic. It oscillates really fast," he said. "I've been getting my patients on that for 20 years. I see some outstanding results."

Berg's excitement over the toothbrush turns to intrigue while on the topic of new crown advancements that don't use a lick of metal, specifically "e.max" ceramic crowns. "You could take a hammer to it, you could hardly break it," he said.

Ask Berg about his family, and his joy is palpable. He's been married to his wife, Ruth Ann, for 20 years. They first met in a restaurant, "And I've never looked back," he said. Their daughter, Kelly, is a softball athlete in high school whose games keep them busy on the weekends.

Berg, who lives in Glendale, as he has for most of his adult life but for a brief stint in Burbank, enjoys spending a few days on a boat with his wife and daughter off Catalina Island. His office displays the biggest calico bass he's ever caught. In October, they went hooping for lobster. During winter, you can find him skiing slopes with friends. Summer means tending to his six tomato plants, herbs and decorative fixtures.

For the past two years, he's volunteered with Glendale Healthy Kids, offering his dentistry skills at various events.

Today, Berg has a steady following of local patients including Glendale resident John Karayan, 59, who has been a patient of Berg's since 1973. He learned about Berg through his wife, who's been Berg's patient since elementary school.

"I married into being a patient," Karayan said. "I've always been very happy with him. I think that says a lot for Glendale – the stability of the place – the fact that we can attract really good service providers who have this family attitude."

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