Local dentist looking forward to ‘contagious smiles’

By: 
Linda Gallagher

BELLAIRE – In 22 years of practice in general dentistry, Brian Rathke had never missed a day of work.  

That is, until March 16 of this year, when Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer locked down the state of Michigan due to the threat of COVID-19 and closed all dental offices statewide.  

The spring of 2020 has been disconcerting, to say the least, for Rathke, his family, and his staff.  

“It was a period of uncertainty for both our staff and our patients,” said the Bellaire dentist, who also owns a dental practice in Elk Rapids. “And not working for over two and a half months was a serious change for me.” 

But, like most of Michigan’s dental professionals, he had been working, when necessary. 

“I continued to provide care to our patients of record for emergencies as allowed by law in an effort to keep dental emergencies out of the emergency room as that just takes resources away from hospitals who were also trying to prepare for the pandemic,” he said. “My wife, Lisa, and I were lucky enough to have both of our daughters, who are both planning a future as dentists and already trained in office procedures and certified for radiography, at home with the closing of the universities due to the pandemic, so Lisa would access patient records from the Cloud-based internet technology we use, and all four of us would go into the office.” 

 

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