CLINTON – Cornerstone Family Dentistry at 814 Seventh Ave. in Camanche is no longer the practice of Dr. Gary P. Low, but Dr. Mindy Hochgesang and her brother Dr. Craig Peterson have stepped in to fill his shoes.
In the fall of last year, Hochgesang and Peterson received a letter from Low. He was ready to retire but hadn’t found anyone interested in buying his rural area practice. Knowing Hochgesang had begun a practice in Davenport from scratch in 2014 before partnering with Peterson and taking over the practice of Dr. William Simpson in Morrison, Illinois, after his death, Low wanted advice. Hochgesang and Peterson decided to meet with him.
“We just liked him too much,” says Hochgesang, who describes Low as a nice guy whose good values reflected in his Camanche practice aligned with those of her and Peterson’s.
Hochgesang and Peterson decided to buy the practice themselves.
Hochgesang and Peterson grew up around Milan, Illinois. After graduating as valedictorian from Rockridge High School, Hochgesang attended Indiana University-Bloomington and earned All American honors in cross country as well as a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry.
She developed an interest in dentistry during her second year of college, so she went on to earn her doctor of dental medicine degree from SIU School of Dental Medicine in Alton, Illinois, in 2009.
Peterson graduated from Rockridge High School as salutatorian in 2005 and Suma Cum Laude from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, in 2009, where he majored in biology. He then also attended the SIU School of Dental Medicine. With a passion for going on medical mission trips to provide dental care for those who don’t have access to it, he’s taken six trips to Honduras so far.
Hochgesang says having three practices isn’t too much to handle, because along with two other associates, Dr. Jacquelyn Murphy and Dr. Monica Allbaugh, they’re able to rotate between locations and achieve the work-life balance they need.
They keep business hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the exception of weekly leadership meetings held at 5:45 a.m. instead of later in the day so they can be fully present when they go home to their families.
While they’re in the process of doing work on the Camanche location, the warm colors of the walls inside that are adorned with family photos on canvas exude comfort. On Thursday, the Cornerstone Family Dentistry sign was added to the exterior of the building.
Hochgesang says they’re in the trust-building phase with their clients that every new practice goes through, during which time new clients come to learn the dentists’ values and character and understand why they make the recommendations they do, but the community’s response to their presence has been very good.
All four of the dentists are general practitioners and perform extractions. Peterson, however, handles longer surgical procedures and larger treatment plans, so he tends to work with older clients. Hochgesang, on the other hand, is well-known for seeing a lot of kids at the Davenport practice. She does her best to do few injections and minimal drilling, instead using other less-traumatic means of treatment.
Her seven-month-old black lab, Yogi, helps to ease the stress of her patients as well.
Hochgesang got Yogi when he was just two months old in April and she noticed he had a very unique, calm disposition for a lab. During the summer, she asked herself, “I wonder if he could be a therapy dog that works in the office with me,” she says.
Hochgesang found a trainer who’s been working with Yogi for four months now. She says he often follows her around the office. He’ll be able to be fully certified as a service animal after about a year.
“It’s been fun,” she says.
To set up an appointment at Cornerstone Family Dentistry in Camanche, call (563) 259-1431.