POCATELLO — Local dentist Louis Bringhurst has good reason to smile this Father’s Day.
Going to work at Bringhurst Family Dentistry, which is at 1175 Call Place, Suite 200, has become like attending a family reunion for Louis.
His son, Sean, joined the practice shortly after graduating from dental school at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, on May 22.
His daughter, Shantell, who graduated in 2008 from Idaho State University’s dental hygiene program, works as a hygienist at the family business.
Further, Louis’ son, Tanner, who is a rising junior at the University of Utah School of Dentistry, plans to join the staff after he graduates.
Louis describes it as “every father’s dream” to have his children follow in his footsteps.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” Louis said. “I think every father or every parent wants their kids to succeed and be like them. That’s neat, and I don’t have to worry about who my patients are seeing.”
The family ties continue.
His wife, Jennifer, is the office manager. He also works with his brother, Doctor Eric Bringhurst, and his sister-in-law, Susan. And Jennifer and Susan are sisters.
“My wife brought her sister around, and of course my brother saw her, and that was it,” Louis said.
With so many Bringhursts in the same building at any given time, they ask patients to call them by their first names. They’ve all followed in the footsteps of Doctor Gary Bringhurst, who started the practice in the 1960s and worked with his two sons for several years before retiring in 2006.
“When you get out of dental school, you know some things, but it’s nice to have a mentor,” said Louis, referring to both his own experience of joining the family practice and Sean’s ongoing transition.
Louis graduated from Creighton University School of Dentistry in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1990. A year later, Eric also graduated from Creighton, having first earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Idaho State University.
“It’s literally a family business. We work together as a family, and even our employees that are not family, we consider them family,” said Eric, who is the fourth of 11 siblings.
Eric noted his parents chose to have a “big family rather than a big checkbook.” Eric and his siblings were expected to help out at the family business during high school, performing tasks such as sterilizing dental tools.
“We knew what we were getting into I think when we went into dental school,” Eric said. “We probably wouldn’t have gone into it if my dad didn’t demonstrate how much he enjoyed it.”
Gary, 83, lives in Chubbuck.
Sean, 32, said his father and uncle understand what it takes to be successful in the field, and he’s pleased for the opportunity to tap their knowledge.
“I have that automatic mentorship built in, and I’m not afraid if I’m in a tough situation to turn to my dad or my uncle and ask them for help,” Sean said.
Sean also has plenty to teach them. Being fresh out of dental school, he’s familiar with cutting-edge technologies and techniques, which he’s helping them incorporate into the Bringhurst practice. For example, Sean is helping them switch to CAD/CAM crowns, which are made by digitally scanning a tooth and using computer technology to design and create a perfect-fitting crown.
He’s also helping them transition to using Invisalign braces, which are clear and removable. They also cost less than traditional braces.
“I’ve seen a patient or two who started with my grandpa, moved onto my dad and now they’re onto me,” Sean said. “I think it helps put the patients at ease that they’re familiar with our family and they’re familiar with our work style.”