When Dentistry is a Family Affair

Five New Jersey families share their stories of working and living together.

Photo by Scott Jones


Paul & Daniel Barabas, father & son

OFFICE: Ridgewood

FAMILY FACTS: Daniel is one of three Barabas siblings; Paul and Anne Barabas’s other two children are lawyers. Anne is the longtime office manager for her husband and son. Daniel and his siblings grew up in Allendale, where Paul and Anne still live. Daniel lives in Ridgewood.

Paul, did you hope Daniel would follow in your career footsteps? 

Paul: We wanted all our kids to do whatever they wanted to do. I can say now, though, that there’s nothing like having a partner, especially when that partner is your son. Before Dan started working with me, I practiced for 30 years all alone.

Daniel, did your dad’s job always seem appealing to you? 

Daniel: I was actually an economics major in college, and before I became a periodontist, I was working at a different job where a lady who sat next to me had a stroke and died. I was like, I don’t think I want an office job. I think I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a periodontist. 

Do you have similar chairside manners?

Paul: We complement each other.
Daniel: He’s a little chattier than me.

What have you gained from working together? 

Paul: The best thing is the absolute trust we have in each other. But I’m going to give Dan the majority of the credit for a lot of the technology we’ve brought in. We have the only FDA-recognized laser for periodontal repair and regeneration.
Daniel: And a 3-D printer for perfect placement of implants.
Paul: Dan runs what’s called a Seattle Study Club, which is a high-end study group of doctors out of Seattle. With that, we’re totally cutting edge.

Is there any downside to working together? 

Paul: Well, at holidays, we have to kind of separate the working world from the family world.
Daniel: We try not to talk teeth. 

Photo by Scott Jones


Gerald Hoch, father
Andrew & Amy Hoch, siblings

OFFICES: Matawan (all) and Westfield (Andrew & Amy)

FAMILY FACTS: Gerald has been practicing for 45 years and still lives in Holmdel, where he and his wife, Joy, raised Andrew, Amy, and their sister, Allison Altersohn, a lawyer. All three siblings live in Westfield now. Andrew, who is eight years older than Amy, has been practicing 14 years; Amy, six.

Was there family pressure to follow your father into practice?

Andrew: I never felt any pressure. I joke that, since I was four or five, I wanted to get into people’s mouths. When I was young, I was like, Anything I can do to help my dad. We’d go to his office and I would want to restock all the colors of the rubber bands.
Amy: I definitely always looked up to my father and wanted to follow in his footsteps. And then I had my brother as my motivation going through dental school, knowing it’s not an easy path.
Gerald: It’s just very rewarding to work with two of my three children. I didn’t expect them to go into the field, but I’m glad they wanted to. And for our patients, it’s a wonderful experience, because right now I’m treating a lot of my original patients’ children.

Are you equally up to date on technology, or do the kids have the edge in that department?

Gerald: I’ve been teaching at NYU for 12 years, so that keeps me up to date.
Amy: All three of us are on top of everything new. There’s a lot of continuing education.
Andrew: We blend the newer techniques that Amy and I learned in our programs with the old-school values we learned from our father, the stuff that has always worked. That makes us a balanced practice.

What’s the biggest benefit of working together?

Gerald: In the event that a patient has an emergency, which is not that common in orthodontics, one of us is always available.
Amy: And we can put our heads together and brainstorm.
Andrew: Although one of us sees a patient initially, we make a point of having lunch together regularly so we can talk about new patients and discuss the treatment plan. All of us know about the case, even if we haven’t met the patient.

Do you spend time together outside of the office?

Andrew: I play tennis once a week, and I’m into golfing and skiing.
Amy: I like those things, too, but we do them separately. Andrew and I see each other a lot because we live in the same town, and our kids get together.
Gerald: We always get together for special occasions, like birthdays and anniversaries, and my wife has everyone over for Thanksgiving. There’s always an occasion for us to be around each other at work or at home. If there’s any downside to us working together, I haven’t come across it yet.

You are on page 2 of 2 of this article

Previous 1 2
Read more Top Dentists articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.

Required not shown
Required not shown