Hinton and Marler celebrate 30 years of practicing dentistry

Dr. Don Marler, Dr Elizabeth Armstrong and Dr. Dan Hinton recently celebrated 30 years in Pickens.

PICKENS — Thirty years ago, when Dr. Dan Hinton was getting ready to graduate from the Medical University of South Carolina School of Dentistry, he knew that he wanted to return to the Pickens area to set up his dental practice.

Although not originally from the area, his family moved to Pickens in 1965 when his father became the pastor of East Pickens Baptist Church. Hinton attended Pickens schools and graduated from Pickens High School in 1971. His wife, Sandra Day Hinton, a 1973 graduate of Pickens High School, is originally from Pickens. Although having lived in several different places before his family moved to Pickens, Hinton considered Pickens to be his hometown.

Hinton and Dr. Don Marler first met in 1980, when they began dental school together at MUSC. Marler and his wife, Patti Ballard Marler, were both from the small town of Woodruff. The Hintons and the Marlers became fast friends during medical school. Marler also knew that he wanted to set up a dental practice in a small town in the Upstate.

Upon graduation from MUSC School of Dentistry, Hinton and Marler moved to Pickens and began practicing dentistry. They briefly went into practice with an established dentist, and then opened a new office on their own together in 1985 on Reece Mill Road in Pickens. They built a new office building at 505 Hampton Ave. in Pickens in 1986, where they practiced until February 2002. After outgrowing that facility, the doctors built a new, larger building at 504 Hampton Ave., where they currently practice.

The Hintons and the Marlers have always been very community-minded. Marler’s wife, Patti, taught school in Pickens County for six years. Both wives have done a lot of volunteer work in the community by serving as PTO officers, board members for numerous county organizations and church organizations. They both currently work in the practice.

Marler and Hinton have been very active members of the community through the years, serving on various boards, church organizations and coaching rec sports. The Hintons have two sons, Zach and Sean. Both sons were educated in public schools in Pickens County. The Marlers have two children, Elizabeth and Garrett, who were also educated in Pickens County public schools. There seems to be a common thread running through these two families of wanting to return to this area to practice their profession. Marler’s daughter, Elizabeth (now Armstrong), graduated from MUSC School of Dental Medicine in 2010, and she joined the practice in Pickens at that time. Hinton’s son, Sean, graduated from Charleston School of Law in 2011 and is currently practicing law in Pickens.

Through the years, Hinton and Marler say they have seen many changes occur in the practice of dentistry, from many corporate dental practices opening, to doctors buying several practices and hiring other dentists to work in them. But they say that they feel really blessed to have been able to practice dentistry the way they have, where they get to know their patients and their families. They feel fortunate to be practicing in a small, close-knit community. The doctors say that most of their staff members have been working with them for more than 20 years, which says a lot about the continuity of patient care in the office.

Hinton, Marler and Armstrong have always provided the best dental care possible for their patients. Services offered by their practice include: cleanings with digital x-rays and oral screenings, extractions, crowns and bridges, dentures, partials, fillings, periodontal treatment and root canals. The office uses state-of-the-art sterilizations and intra-oral cameras.

Hinton and Marler, together with Armstrong, look forward to the future as they continue to provide excellent dental care to the citizens of Pickens County.