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Cajee brothers honor past, future of Manteca dentistry
Cajee brothers
Dr. Nabeel Cajee sits on the vintage dentist chair as one of his patients take joy of posing with the equine extraction tool. - photo by Contribtued

“Study the past if you would define the future” – Confucius.

The dental practice of Mas’ood Cajee is working towards the future by displaying and honoring the past.

That past includes the Manteca Dental Group and its early beginnings dating back to 1925 as the dental office of Dr. A.J. Donogh.

Perhaps no one was more notable than Dr. Lloyd L. Henry, who moved his dental practice from the corner of Yosemite Avenue and Main Street to the current 132 Sycamore Ave. He and his wife Winifred were active in the community, in particular, the Manteca library — Dr. Henry chaired the committee that helped get the library built in 1962 while his wife was an original founder of Manteca’s Friends of the Library.

Mas’ood Cajee and his brother Nabeel Cajee currently operate the building that has a lot to do with Manteca’s past and possibly future.

The Cajees took over the practice about two years ago from Dr. Ricardo Cuevas and his wife Richa — they, too, were fixtures in the community, spending countless hours with Manteca Rotary Club, the local Boys & Girls Clubs, Manteca Chamber of Commerce and the San Joaquin Dental Society.

Mas’ood and Nabeel Cajee have found a fitting tribute to those who came before them with a dental museum at their practice.

“We’re using our office to get plugged into the community,” said Nabeel Cajee.

One example of that is a room fully dedicated to the practice of the past, from the still-functioning dental chair circa 1950s to the mechanical drills.

According to Nabeel Cajee, about five generations of dental equipment, tools, books, and old mixtures are on display at the museum.

Even equine tools for tooth extractions along with the old world’s sewak miswak natural toothbrush, frankincense and myrrh can be found here.

Besides being educational, Cajee noted that the dental museum is also a fun place where patients and visitors can take a step in the past and play the role of a dentist by wearing an old white coat while posing for photos.

“Dentistry has moved from mechanical to digital,” he added.

Enter dentistry of the future.

A room directly across from the museum is looking to achieve just that with state-of-the-art equipment including 3D Printer and 3D Scan, with plenty of office space to make the patient’s experience as comfortable as possible.

The past, present and future is the theme inside this downtown dental practice adjacent to Library Park.

Nabeel Cajee continues to work towards affordability of dental healthcare. 

He came to his brother’s practice after doing his general dentistry residency at Oakland’s Highland Hospital, which is also the East Bay’s regional trauma center. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of the Pacific, Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco.

Cajee continues to serve as a teacher and mentor, sharing and working with others in his field.

His hope is for the downtown Manteca office to serve as an educational space.

“If you can connect the dots (of the past) to the future, we can really see where it goes from there,” Cajee said.

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