Life Dental & Orthodontics | Walnut Creek, CA
About Our Facility
Located in a historic farmhouse in Walnut Creek, CA, Life Dental & Orthodontics is proud to offer comprehensive dental services to the families in our community! Our beautiful office is home to a highly experienced team that focuses on your oral health and comfort above all else. The moment you walk through our doors, we will welcome you and get you signed in and prepared for your appointment. During your swift wait, we invite you to browse the reading material in our quiet reception area. As soon as a member of our team is ready to meet with you, we will guide you to one of our personal treatment areas where we can begin a routine dental cleaning or discuss any dental concerns you may be having to develop a treatment plan to address all of your dental needs.
The story of our office - Back in the day
When Dr. Brian Hockel's father, Jack Hockel, moved into the Encina Grande neighborhood in 1964, he had no idea how he and his family would help shape the future of the Northgate area. His new next-door neighbors were Thurman and Nellie Casey, the farmers who had once owned all the land bounded by Oak Grove Road to the east, Wiget Lane to the west, Ygnacio Valley Road to the north, and the PGE right-of-way to the south. As they grew older, the Caseys sold off the property surrounding their house, to be developed into the Encina Grande neighborhood. Jack and wife Judie settled into their newly built home and raised their six children, including Brian, their oldest, who would go on to become a dentist like his dad.
Mrs. Casey's Property
Thurman Casey eventually passed away in 1967, and his widow Nellie donated the land adjacent to her house to Contra Costa County for a new library, officially named the "Thurman G. Casey Memorial Library," but now commonly called the "Ygnacio Valley Library." Then some years later, Mrs. Casey herself passed away, but she had left instructions in her will that her neighbor, Dr. Jack Hockel (Dr. Brian Hockel's dad), was interested in purchasing her house; he could bid on her house without paying realtor fees, to convert it to a dental office. Dr. Jack ended up winning the bidding, purchasing the property in 1978, and going through all the steps required to have the zoning changed from residential to a professional office.
A Hockel Family Affair
After much work, the remodeled dental office was open to the public in 1981 and has been a family effort ever since. After graduating from UCSF Dental School, Dr. Brian Hockel joined his dad in practice in 1989, in what is now called "Life Dental & Orthodontics" on Oak Grove Road, right next to the library. Dr. Brian Hockel's brother, Steve Hockel, runs the on-site dental laboratory, crafting crowns, bridges, and other dental appliances. Their sister Barbara serves as the Financial Coordinator / Bookkeeper, and Dr. Hockel's wife, Beth, is the Business Office Manager. Several of the Hockel children have worked as after-school helpers in the office, including son Mark, who currently assists with fabricating orthodontic appliances.
Preserving Walnut Creek History
Maintaining the historic nature of the "Casey House" has always been very important to the Hockel family. The building and grounds have been carefully preserved so that both the exterior and elements of the interior recall its previous use as a farmhouse. The original fireplace in the Casey family room still exists in what is now Dr. Hockel's private office and consultation room. You can even see Mrs. Casey's jar opener, mounted on the wall near where her kitchen sink had been! Several years ago, the Walnut Creek Historical Society sponsored an Open House of the Casey property, inviting the public to tour the interior, along with displays of historical photos and artifacts from the Caseys and the surrounding original structures. Dr. Hockel's mother, Judie, former board member of the Walnut Creek Historical Society, says,"I consider it our family's privilege and responsibility to care for this house as a living part of the history of Walnut Creek."
Family Roots / Giving Back
In these days of mobility, it is a rare occurrence to put down family roots and thrive in one neighborhood for multiple generations. Yet that is what has occurred here with the Hockel family. Dr. Hockel is so thankful for the privilege to be able to grow up, work, live, and raise a family here in the Northgate area! Two ways he has been happy to "give back" to the community are: first, providing excellent dental and orthodontic care right in our neighborhood, and second, carefully preserving the jewel of his dental office, the historic Casey House.
Come see us!
If any of our neighbors would like to take a peek inside our historic office, please feel free to come by for a quick tour. And if you need any dental or orthodontic services, you are more than welcome to contact us to arrange an appointment. It would be our pleasure to serve you!
I came to Doctor Hockel due to problems with sleep apnea. He diagnosed a narrow palate and some other issues that ultimately are obstructing my airway and recommended a course of palate expansion (upper and lower) before going for more extensive surgery to correct problems with my jaw. It's been really great working with him and his staff! They're all extremely knowledgeable and very helpful. They've answered every question I had and taken the time to explain what's being done each time (in what's going to be a couple-year-long process.) They're definitely using the latest tools and techniques and I feel completely comfortable with whatever they recommend. All in all, a *really* great dentist! [Edit from 2+ years in the future - 10/18/2023] I had my jaw surgery (total TMJ replacement and MMA (Maxillomandibular advancement, to move the upper teeth forward) in St Louis in May (via the only surgeon Dr Hockel trusts to do the surgery, who really is great) and returned to Dr Hockel's care in late June. Sleep apnea is cured, my bite was lined up and everything went well. Today was a great day - I got my braces off! We're now in the process of stabilizing the teeth with a retainer, but they look great and feel even better, with everything in my bite closing in the right places and all the teeth nice and straight and even. Dr Hockel's staff were awesome as usual - I showed up 20 minutes early and they said "come right in!" and we got to work. If you ever need to deal with airway issues (or indeed with orthodontia and other dental procedures), definitely give Life Dental and Orthodontics a call. They're the best!
Very friendly and knowledgeable.
A bit challenging to say "loved it" for a visit to the dentist, but we have been clients of Dr. Brian Hockel and his father before him for close to thirty years. We have been very pleased with the dental service, the staff and the facilities. Dr. Brian is very skilled and goes out of his way to provide holistic, thorough and caring treatment. He's a fine dentist (and a good musician and magician, as well). His staff is excellent. They are very well trained , friendly and empathetic.
Life Dental has an excellent Dental staff! Everyone is friendly & accommodating. Please consider Life Dental & Orthodontist for your next visit.
Absolutely love this place! Friendly and accommodating staff and I really appreciate Dr Hockel’s knowledge of what’s going on with not only my teeth, but how it all works together with my airway and everything else too!
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2651 Oak Grove Road,
Walnut Creek, CA 94598