Midwestern, Michigan St. grad will have office hours at Fort Madison’s west office and in West Burlington
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Dr. Mark Pothitakis has been expanding his dental practice in southeast Iowa for year, but this time he’s added a Spartan to the team.
Dr. Stephanie Heyland, a Michigan native, and Michigan State University alumnus has joined Pothitakis’ team of dental professionals serving families in southeast Iowa.
Heyland, and her husband Chad moved to the area this spring with their two children. She is the daughter-in-law of Floorcrafters owner John Heyland.
Heyland said she’s thrilled to be part of Dr. Pothitakis & Associates team of dental providers and already learning the important role private family dentistry practice plays in small communities.
“Even me me just following him around thee last couple days, you can see he is extremely genuine and takes care of his patients, and you can see that’s reciprocated here,” Heyland said.
Pothitakis said having Heyland joining the team was good fortune for him and the practice.
“I’m so excited to have Stephanie join our dental practice. Having her and Chad and the kids move here was a dream come true for me,” Pothitakis said. “She will be a huge addition to our practice and we are lucky they chose Fort Madison as their new home!”
After growing up the small Michigan town of Clare, which see describes as similar to Fort Madison, but on a smaller scale, Heyland said she’s happy to begin practicing with families in rural Iowa.
“It was a small agriculture town, one high school and an everybody-knows-everybody kind of town,” she said. “Fort Madison is very similar to the town I grew up in with the small-town pace.”
Her dental career came at kind of a 90-degree turn after she had moved to Arizona. Her degree from Michigan State was a four-year interior design degree, which Heyland said she dabbled in before deciding to go into the health care field.
“It was kind of an interesting avenue into interior design, but then I decided to take a different route and pursue dentistry. I moved out to Glendale and took a couple course and got into dental school at Midwestern University.”
Midwestern is a health care specialty university with campuses in Glendale, Ariz., and Downer’s Grove, Ill.
Heyland worked for a while in Arizona before making the decision to pursue the dental degree, a degree her father held as well. She said much of her family has health-care related careers.
“My dad’s a dentist so it’s always kind of been in the realm of possibility for me. That work environment and working with people had me wanting to go into health care. My sister’s in health care, a lot of my family’s in health care,” she said.
“I like families, I like that part of the draw to dentistry, to work with families. I watched my dad practice with generations of families and that’s part of the excitement.”
Heyland said dentistry has improved in many ways since she was a child watching her father’s career.
“I think dentistry has come a long way in that a lot of people didn’t like going to dentist, but we’ve become more savvy and there’s better flow and streamlining to visits.,” she said. “You hear the horror stories about the pain people used to go through, but now you hear, “Oh, that wasn’t so bad”, and that’s refreshing to hear.”
Technological upgrades have also given the profession a better feel. Heyland said going to the dentist is much more inviting and calming than past generations.
“There are a lot of lasers now that eliminate the need for needles, which people say is the worst part,” she said.
“In school we did a lot of same-day crowns, which is becoming more prevalent and people are interested in that more and more – it’s one less trip to the dentist. There’s lasers, there’s computers, there’s 3D – and people relate more to the technology of today.”
But she said corporate driven dental practices don’t have the same feel as the locally owned practices.
“I hope that dentistry can keep its private practices. Corporate is kind of taking over, but the family feel here in this environment is priceless.
Dr. Heyland is currently accepting patient appointments in Fort Madison and Burlington. She will be in the Pothitakis Family Dentistry office in Burlington at 1223 N. Gear Avenue on Monday and Wednesday’s and will be in the Pothitakis’ west end office at 4723 Avenue J in Fort Madison on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Her first day in office will be August 12. For additional information or appointments call 319-372-4882 or 319-753-2515.