Lentz 'filling' dental care gap in Minneota
When Alex Lentz was only four years old, she sat on a small stool and waited in a corner of the room where the dentist was working on her mother's teeth.
Curious as to what the dentist was doing, she picked up the small stool and carried it over to where her mother was seated, set it on the floor and stood on top to get a better look.
"They even had to tell me to move my head out the way," laughed Lentz. "I told my mom 'I'm going to be a dentist' when we were going home that day."
And that prophecy has become a reality.
Lentz is the new dentist in Minneota, taking over for Dr. Tracy Grossman at Minneota Family Dental on March 18. Grossman, whose wife is also a dentist in Sioux Falls, decided to leave his practice in Minneota after nine years to be closer to his family in Sioux Falls. He had been making the 115-mile commute while working here.
Grossman will continue to make a weekly trip to Minneota for the next six months to finish work he has started with patients and also to assist Dr. Lentz settle into her new job.
Lentz graduated from Apple Valley High School in 2010 and then attended college at the College of St. Bendict's in St. Joseph, MN. It was there that she met her husband, Noah Vannevel, a Garvin native who was attending nearby St. John's University in Collegeville. Vannevel is employed as a CPA for a firm in the Twin Cities, but works mainly from his home office here in Minneota now.The young couple is currently living in an apartment above the dental office.
Previously, Lentz was working as a dentist in Ramsey, a suburb of Minneapolis. It was through a mutual friend that Lentz was informed of Dr. Grossman looking to sell his practice in Minneota.
"My husband and I were thinking about moving out this way," said Lentz. "His parents still live in Garvin and run a nursery there. I've been there quite a few times so I'm familiar with small town life."
Before deciding to accept Grossman's offer, Lentz and her husband came to Minneota to check out the office. But the day they came down, Grossman was unavailable to show them around so he left them a key for the back door.
"I was afraid someone would think we were breaking into the place," Lentz laughed.
Lentz felt this was the place for her to be. She has maintained the same five-person staff that Grossman employed.
The transition went smoothly and Lentz and Vannever are enjoying their time here.
"Everyone here is so nice," she said. "They have made us feel right at home.
"The biggest thing about being in a small town is now I will get to know all my patients on a personal level and not just in the office. I'll see them in the stores or at an event or something. In the big city, you're lucky if you get to know any of them other than as patients."
Lentz then paused for a moment, as if reflecting on all that's been happening in a short period of time.
"You know, I think we're really going to like it here," she remarked.