Something to smile about

Something to smile about

CHAMPAIGN — While some parents and children might not work well together, the Andersons have been practicing side by side for three generations at Anderson Dental.

Their biggest disagreement over the years? What type of music to play in the office.

"I don't think we ever had an argument," said Wells Anderson, 82 and now retired.

"I mean, there were times when we disagreed about what type of music to play in the office," said his son, Scott Anderson, 57. "We had those types of issues, but nothing major."

Wells Anderson started the practice in 1961, Scott joined in 1985 and grandson John Anderson, 27, came aboard in June. To make room, they're expanding their location at 2535 Galen Drive, C.

"We've added three additional treatment rooms, expanded the sterilization area, expanded the lab area, expanded the reception area," Scott Anderson said. "We had to rebrand. It was Scott Anderson, D.D.S., for years. Now we're Anderson Dental."

The expansion will be completed in days.

"We're starting to see patients in this space (this) week," Scott said.

Scott and Wells Anderson said they worked well together.

"The nice thing is when you have a partner in the office like that, a parent, you can bounce ideas off each other. You have a built-in mentor relationship with somebody you trust," Scott Anderson said. "And that was one of the best parts about having a father-son situation. ... After he retired (in 1994), it was difficult at first to not have that mentor in the practice, and now all of the sudden, I was on my own."

When he retired, Wells Anderson said it was nice being able to hand off the business to his son.

"One of the great things for me is that I knew I had continuity of care," he said. "When I retired, I had very responsible continuity of care, so I never wondered how my patients were going to be treated. I knew they would be treated as they always have been."

They now have patients who have been treated by all three generations.

"I have patients all the time who comment to me, 'I can't believe that I saw your dad, and then I saw you, and now I'm seeing your son,'" Scott Anderson said. "We hear that every day."

"It's an intimate relationship with your patient," he added. "So it's nice to have that ongoing relationship and have that family relationship."

Both Scott and John have siblings that didn't enter the family business and said they never felt pressured to join the family business.

"It looked like a good plan. Dad seemed to always enjoy what he did, and I got a chance to watch him in action," Scott Anderson said. "And it was one of those things where I thought, if he likes it that much, it must be a good profession to get into."

It's all John Anderson said he knew growing up.

"I never went and shadowed a lawyer or a medical doctor and decided I like dentistry more. It's just all I've ever been surrounded by. It's what I've always enjoyed," he said. "They always had a good lifestyle, and I like the way they live and just did their job, so I knew it would be a good fit. ... They always encouraged me, but I never felt pressured to do it."

His story isn't uncommon. John Anderson, who graduated earlier this year from Southern Illinois' College of Dentistry, said second-generation dentists made up about 10 percent of his class.

But as far as the Andersons know, they're the only dental practice in Champaign to span three generations.

"We have a lot of father-daughter, father-son, but we've never had three generations," Scott Anderson said.

Wells Anderson called it "a thrill" to see his son and grandson in the business.

"I loved what I did, and I did what I love," he said. "And I could see that (Scott) was the same way, and I can see that John is the same way."

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