Family dedicates life to dentistry

Panhandle Health Winter 2009

By: TONYA WIESER, Staff Reporter

CHADRON — Launching a family business is a noble goal and comes with great benefits.

Dr. Terry Owen, who has been practicing dentistry for nearly 32 years, opened the doors at his dentistry practice with a mere four chairs. He never expected that the Owen Dental Care practice, located at 101 E. Sixth St., would one day need to be expanded. Construction at Owen Dental Care in Chadron is under  way

Terry Owen knew early on that he wanted to pursue a career in the medical field because his father was a physician.

“But I didn’t want to be a physician because my father was the only doctor in a small town and he was gone a lot,” he said. “Dentistry still fell under the medical field and allowed me to still live in a small town, yet give me time with my family.”

Terry’s wife, Brenda, has worked alongside him as the office manager since they opened their doors. She said the medical field is not her cup of tea but has always enjoyed the business aspect side of the practice.

“When we first started out, we couldn’t afford to hire a secretary so I just did the work and have just continued to do so,” she said. “Plus, I have always been a people person and I enjoy visiting with the patients.”

Three years ago their daughter, Lacey Owen, began assisting her father as a dental hygienist. In July of this year, the couple’s youngest son, Jonathan, made the decision to return to the area with his family and join his father as a general dentist permanently.  Recently their oldest son, Zachary, an oral surgeon, agreed to provide services within the facility as well.

In bringing additional staff aboard, additional space was a must. Rather than relocate, the family choose to stay in the existing site because it is a good location, Terry Owen said. To avoid disrupting business, the construction is being done in three phases and upon completion the original building will have been doubled, including seven chairs and a much larger waiting room as well as a surgery facility.

Zachary owns his own practice in Loveland, Colo., but travels up and makes himself available once a month for two days.

“As soon as Zachary told us of his plans we equipped him with everything he needed to set up shop,” Brenda Owen said, “and it has been working out very well.”

Actually, Zachary was a part of the business early on as he spent many a days in his playpen behind the desk when he was an infant

“I simply took him to work with us and it worked out well at first but then it got to the point it seemed every time the phone rang he would cry,” Brenda said, “so I decided it wasn’t maybe such a good idea after all.”

Once the children were all in school they spent their time after school at the office. Terry Owen remembers how they used to occupy themselves with the molding materials as if it was play dough.

Lacey said growing up none of them wanted anything to do with teeth, but eventually, all of the children graduated from the University of Nebraska School of Dentistry.

 “As I walk down the hall and see all of my children working together and happy it makes me so proud,” Brenda said with pride. “And I get to spend more time with the people most important to me.”

“Not all families can work together and family operated businesses either succeed or fail,” Terry said Owen, “so we are very fortunate.”

“Our mission statement is: ‘Caring Hands Creating Confident Smiles,’” Brenda Owen said. “We believe we have children to see that tradition through by carrying on for us.”

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