A long time ago (1981) in a galaxy far, far away (Beaverdale) David W. Davidson, a young 26 year old dental school graduate, was eager to begin practicing in the Des Moines area. After a quick six month stint as an associate in a local dental practice, Dr. Davidson took his 1980 University of Iowa Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree with him on a chance meeting with Dr. Joseph A Cortese, Des Moines’ first pediatric dentist.
Dr. Cortese was 59 years old and was looking ahead to his own retirement and Dr. Dave was looking for a place of his own to enter his chosen profession. Dr. Davidson and Dr. Cortese worked out an office sharing agreement that they cemented with a handshake. Dr. Cortese would often tell Dr. Davidson “I have three sons but none wanted to be a dentist, now I have a fourth son who is a dentist”. Dr. Dave and Dr. Joe practiced together for 5 years before Dr. Cortese retired in January of 1984.
Dr. Davidson and Dr. Cortese were very close and enjoyed the comradery of working together and sharing common experiences. They had mutual respect for each other and were willing to help each other at all times. Dr. Dave tells the story of Dr. Cortese choosing when to retire…”Joe came in one morning (January, 1984) and said his 64th birthday was in two weeks so he was going to the social security office to check on the government rules for retirement. He came back that afternoon and told me he was retiring in 2 weeks.” Now that was the ultimate two week notice! As the years passed, they would recall that day and laughed at the unexpected suddenness of his decision.
The office at that time had 3 treatment rooms and Dr. Dave had 2 employees. He called his dental practice “Beaverdale Family Dentistry”. (Dr. Dave still uses drbeaverdale as his email address.) As the years passed, the practice grew and expanded into space in the adjacent building. Beaverdale Family Dentistry then had 5 treatment rooms, 7 employees, and nothing but blue sky into the future.
Everything changed when Dr. Davidson’s son, Michael, was studying at Iowa State University. Michael applied and was accepted into dental school at The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and told his father, he would like to practice dentistry with him when he graduated.
Michael’s (Dr. Michael Davidson) acceptance into dental school was good news but the 5 treatment rooms in the Beaverdale office were going to be quite inadequate for two full-time dentists. The search began for real estate to rent/purchase or land to purchase for building a new office. The natural place to look was in Beaverdale. After considerable examination, Dr. Dave was unable to find a suitable location in Beaverdale so the search was widened.
Utilizing patient zip codes as a base for the search, our Urbandale location was found. It was right in the center of the target for the majority of our patient base. Dr. Dave and (Dr.) Michael then traveled the state to visit and study dental offices that would be a similar size to our future needs and offices that had moved from one location to another. Additionally, they wanted to glean knowledge of other father/son dental practices.
Any kind of a move or building project is stressful. Dr. Davidson had neither moved a dental clinic nor had he built a dental clinic but he was fortunate to have his attorney & wife, Diane, who was able to step in and help with both. Diane had 25 years of experience in the world of real estate law and at the time was general counsel for a large real estate developer in Des Moines.
After 25 years practicing dentistry in Beaverdale, Dr. Davidson opened the current dental clinic in Urbandale and changed the name from Beaverdale Family Dentistry to Davidson Family Dentistry. The clinic went from 5 to 9 treatment rooms.
In the Beaverdale days, Dr. Davidson had had two different dental friends work as associate dentists in the clinic on a limited, part-time basis. Dr. Thomas Treska was a friend of Dr. Dave from his days in the Iowa Army National Guard and Dr. Thu Ha Dixon was a friend from church. Dr. Treska had retired from the VA Hospital and helped out a few days a month for 6 months before his final career retirement. Dr. Dixon worked a few hours a week and during her 6 years with Dr. Dave, she and her husband had 4 babies. When her youngest was born, she left the dental workforce to stay home with her children. Dr. Dave is still close friends with both Dr. Treska and Dr. Dixon.
When the clinic moved from Beaverdale, Dr. Susan Nguyen was hired as the first full-time dentist working for Dr. Davidson. They knew each other from Dr. Davidson’s teaching senior dental students from The University of Iowa at Broadlawns Medical Center where she worked. Dr. Nguyen was from Illinois and worked at Davidson Family Dentistry for 4 years before moving back to the Chicago area to be closer to her family.
Dr. Amanda Vonnahme joined Davidson Family Dentistry in 2008 followed by Dr. Michael Davidson in 2009. Dr. Andrew Majaren worked part-time for a year and a half (2013-2015) until he found a permanent position across town. Dr. Justine Stemper came in 2014 followed by Dr. John Biegert in 2015 and Dr. Alyson (Siegrist) Baier in 2016.
In 1981, Dr. Davidson had 2 part-time employees, 2 treatment rooms and started with family members as patients. In 2018, Davidson Family Dentistry has 37 part-time or full-time employees, 15 treatment rooms and several thousand patients. Dr. Davidson often laughs and says we are going to put a McDonalds type sign up that says “Billions and Billions of Teeth Treated”. It is a bit of an exaggeration but still funny.
Throughout the years, the philosophy of Davidson Family has always stayed the same. We treat all our patients as family and live by our mission statement: Quality Dentistry, Affordable Service and Compassionate Care.
Posted April 6th, 2018