Local dentist invites daughter to staff
For Heinemanns, dentistry has become the family business
May 16. 2011 5:27PM
Serving the Dell Rapids community for more than a decade, local dentist Leslie Heinemann was pleased to welcome a new member to his staff this week – his daughter.
Growing up working in her father’s office from the age of 14, Kimberly Heinemann learned quickly she was interested in the study of medicine.
“I knew I wanted to go into the medical field, but I didn’t want to necessarily be a dentist,” she said.
Kimberly had originally wanted to go to medical school to become a physician but changed her mind during her second year of undergraduate study at Augustana College in Sioux Falls.
The first time he heard anything about his daughter’s serious interest in dentistry was when she was a sophomore biology major at Augustana. Since, she went on to dental school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and graduated at the top of her class on May 6.
“She’s very well trained,” Leslie Heinemann said. The clinical exposure in the UNL program is very good and extensive, according to Leslie.
Both dentists traveled to Romania last August on a mission trip. They worked side by side doing dental work.
“That was a very good test run,” Leslie said.
Leslie Heinemann has been in the practice of dentistry for 30 years. He attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls for his undergraduate degree and went to the Loyola University Dental School in Chicago for his D.D.S.
He grew up on a farm between Flandreau and Brookings. Leslie’s father, Ralph, was born and raised in Dell Rapids.
In 2000, Leslie Heinemann purchased the local dental practice owned by Ron Beck, who moved to a new practice 18 months later. Heinemann was eventually joined by Zachary Beecroft as an associate dentist in his Dell Rapids office. Heinemann lives in and works from an office in Flandreau as well.
Leslie Heinemann said that it’s difficult to encourage recently graduating dentists to come to less-populated communities. He said he jumped at the chance to have his daughter return to the area.
“This was an opportunity to find someone that was willing to come to a small town,” he said. “She knows me very well. She knows what she’s getting into. I’m overjoyed and honored that she would come back to a small town in South Dakota.”
South Dakota is fortunate to have students that want to return to small town life, Leslie Heinemann said.
“Our dedication to the communities is really a big part of it.”
Small town life is a big factor in Kimberly’s decision to return to the area.
“I’m definitely ready to get out of city living,” she said.
The new dentist is excited to have the freedom to work with patients at a normal pace. Kimberly said that hands-on work in dental school tended to be slow and methodical with lots of checks and double-checks. She said that she is ready and anxious to see regular patients.
“I’m looking forward to being more efficient.”
One benefit to a group practice, Leslie said, is the ability to share patients.
“The patient has the opportunity to choose which doctor they prefer,” he said.
Having a similar work philosophy to her father, Kimberly is excited to work with Leslie. She said that dentistry can tend to be an isolating profession for a recent graduate.
“I thought it’d be a good fit for us to work together,” she said. “I’m really lucky. Most of my classmates won’t have a mentor like I do. I’m definitely looking forward to that.”
Kimberly began her work in Dell Rapids on Tuesday. Leslie Heinemann said that she will work primarily here and occasionally in his Flandreau office.
Kimberly is currently mid-move, but she plans on living in Dell Rapids.
|Luke Tatge/Dell Rapids Tribune
Kimberly (left) and Leslie Heinemann (right) operate the office’s milling machine, which is one of four in South Dakota and builds dental crowns same-day, at Dell Rapids Dental May 11.