Redwood Falls Gazette
  • Dentistry on the plains: Dr. Tim Brown owns two dental offices in Redwood

  • When Tim Brown was herding cattle on the South Dakota prairie, he used to dream of being a dentist....
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  • When Tim Brown was herding cattle on the South Dakota prairie, he used to dream of being a dentist. “When I was four years old, my mom took me to the dentist; when we left, I told her I wanted to be a dentist when I grew up,” Brown said in his newest Redwood Falls office earlier this week. “I don’t remember what it was, but the dentist must have made a huge impression on me.” As of this month, Brown owns two separate dental offices in Redwood Falls, but it was a decades in the making. “I grew up on the Sisseton, South Dakota Indian Reservation, and have lots of relatives in the tribe,” Brown said. After high school, Brown spent the next 10 years working on his grandfather’s cattle ranch. However, during that 10 years, “what I wanted to do when I was four years old was still there,” Brown said. He immediately discovered there was a lot more to being a dentist than his childhood dreams had indicated. “When I graduated from high school in 1981, there were no computers in my school,” he said. “When I started at the U. of M., Morris in 1991, all the labs were done on computers. “I knew virtually nothing about dentistry except it was a way you could really help people. I was surprised at the amount of chemistry and physics you had to know. You have to know about dental materials, metals, composites, expansion and contraction.... “I’m really proud of the U. of M., Morris for transforming a rancher from South Dakota into a dental school applicant.” What is it about dentistry that Brown likes? “It just seems that you’re providing a needed service for people,” he said. “Maybe when I was four I had a toothache, and the dentist fixed it. As a dentist, you see people in trouble and can help them when there’s no avenue for helping them except through you.” Brown graduated from the U. of M. school of dentistry in 1999, spent a year in a Lonsdale, them bought the Dental Center in Redwood Falls. His latest venture in town began with fish. “I stopped into Dr. (Gregory) Hammers’ office to drop off some frozen halibut for Christmas, and he mentioned he was thinking of retiring. Was I interested?” Brown said. That began a five-month process of Brown buying Hammers’ dental practice. What exactly does buying a dental practice mean? “There’s the sale of the building, and the sale of all the property,” he said. “There is the sale of all the patients’ records — there’s some faith there, because you’re assuming the patients will stay with the practice. “Then there are all the bank records, all the credit card accounts.... “The thing about owning a dental practice that’s kind of unique is that while you’re administering the healthcare, you’re also the CEO,” Brown said. “You have to deal with both sides: the business, and the healthcare aspects.” The deal closed on May 2, during lunch hour. The transition was about as painless as humanly possible. “Dr. Hammers came to work that morning, we signed the papers at noon, and I came in and started at one o’clock,” laughed Brown. Currently Brown is in Dr. Hammers’ former facility four days a week, and one in the facility closer to the Redwood River, which he shares with Dr. Jake Barthold.
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