OAKHURST — Longtime local dentist Dr. David Essex has retired, and ownership of his practice has transferred to Yosemite Dental Care, expanding from Mariposa to provide Oakhurst with a familiar brand of dental service. The office is located at 49722 Road 426, Suite 104, in Oakhurst.
“I have been lobbying Yosemite Dental Care in Mariposa for years, stating that when they were ready, I would transfer my patients over,” Dr. Essex says. “This gives my patients a whole family of dentists to care for them and it gives me the satisfaction of providing a ‘local boy’ in a strongly knit family, to ‘come home.’”
Dr. Essex is referring to Dr. Timothy Wieg, the new Clinical Director and acting dentist of Yosemite Dental in Oakhurst.
Yosemite Dental Care was originally started in Mariposa in 1984 by Dr. Thomas Weig. More recently, his son, Dr. Timothy Wieg, wanted to develop a business with partners Halvor Halversen and Robert Kurtz, to establish a second dental office under the same brand of Yosemite Dental Care. The timing and the fit were right to dovetail with the plans Dr. Essex was making for retirement.
“It turns out, I got a much better deal than I bargained for,” Dr. Essex points out, “because the team comes with partners who have spent years accumulating various degrees and knowledge specializing in how to best present dentistry to the public, and how to make it the most accessible for people. Their ideas are really exciting. Every time they tell me one of their incredible ideas, I just tell them, ‘I think you guys are nuts,’ and they just smile.”
Patients are welcome to come meet with the dentist and have a general consultation free of charge. In fact, Dr. Tim encourages it.
“My favorite thing about being a dentist is taking the time to sit down and talk with my patients about their treatment needs, and more importantly, listen to my patients to find out what they think is important,” says Dr. Tim. “Brutal honesty is a must sometimes, and I never shy away from that. But ultimately all treatment decisions rest in the hands of a well informed patient. I always strive for honesty and transparency.”
Since the purchase, the team at Yosemite Dental has made significant improvement to the practice, including new floors in the dental ops, new dental chairs, new x-ray sensors, and new lighting, along with a Cerec machine to create same-day crowns.
Returning patients will be happy to know that office manager Nan Fairchild remains with the practice.
“With Dr. David Essex going into retirement, it was important for us to keep the transition as smooth as possible,” says Halvor Halversen, who works with patient coordination and office management, and is the marketing manager for the practice. “We still have several renovations in progress and plan to continue pushing for growth of the practice image and implementation of the latest and greatest in dental technology.”
Halversen says their whole approach to dentistry is to put the patient first.
“If people can’t afford to consistently get their teeth cleaned, that is no longer a problem with our free preventive care. If people have difficulties lining up appointment times with their busy schedule, we have expanded hours so that they can come in after work or school. If people don’t have dental insurance, we have them covered with our In-Office Dental Plan, providing financial options to ensure that they are fully capable of staying on top of their oral health.”
Practice partner Robert Kurtz is a public health epidemiologist. He handles management, accounting, systems and renovations.
“I have discovered that the most important aspect of health care involves patient education and accessibility to provision of care,” Kurtz says. “Therefore, it is vital that all providers go the extra mile to eliminate common patient barriers.”
Kurtz says the biggest obstacles patients face involve financial restrictions, limited access to a provider largely because of the inconvenience of dentists’ daytime office hours, and a lack of personalized patient education. These are common problems that thwart good dental health, which is why potential patients are invited to make an appointment for a complimentary consultation.
“They will be able to go over any of the questions or concerns the patient may have and allow patients the ability to get a feel for the office and the people in it before committing to any actual treatment.”