Posted on February 21, 2019 at 9:18 am

For nearly a decade, the property that is now Root River Dental sat vacant. In 2016, Zach Lechner, D.D.S., and his wife, Hannah (Garry) Lechner, decided to design a private-practice dental office. The Lechners titled the new development, which took nine months (and two years of planning prior) before its completion in Dec. 2018, “Project Beacon” to convey to community members, particularly youth, that “you can grow up here and make a difference. We wanted to be a catalyst and ‘beacon’ for development in Stewartville.” says Hannah.

The Lechners wanted the atmosphere to be welcoming, comfortable, and relaxing for patients. The spacious waiting room offers a coffee bar, electric blue fireplace, and river theme combine glass, metal, and wood textures for an industrial-modern style. All design decisions were very intentional, Dr. Lechner says, down to the use of “green” options like LED lighting. The Lechners also used as many local vendors, subcontractors, and artists as possible for the finishes, granite, tile, cabinetry, etc. Walnut trees on site that had to be cleared for development were crafted and repurposed by Dr. Lechner into much of the furniture and décor inside the facility, including a large coffee table. He has signed and branded every piece.

In the treatment area are eight total rooms, including two surgical suites and four digital treatment rooms. A 3D technology suite allows the employees to mill blocks of ceramic to construct crowns and dental implants. The facility also offers a conference room for meeting with patients.

With new digital imaging technologies and better diagnostic information, Dr. Lechner can provide CEREC (Chairside Economic Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics), or same-day manufacturing of crowns, bridges, etc., for patients.

“Traditional dentistry requires two appointments to accomplish what we can do in one,” Dr. Lechner says, “We can show a patient on a computer how we’re going to design their tooth, and in 45 minutes, it’s in their mouth and done.” In the next year to 18 months, Root River Dental will have a 3D printer to maximize this experience by allowing for pre-surgical implant planning and digitally printed aligners (like Invisalign) and dentures.

Understanding that dentist visits can be intimidating, the Root River Dental team takes the time to educate patients to help them understand the clinical aspects of the treatment, as well as financial and scheduling matters. Staff are also trained to make each person feel comfortable in the chair.

On oral health, Dr. Lechner says, “You know, teeth are really cool! Sometimes we overlook the importance of teeth in our life and that they allow us to speak, chew, share emotions, and you’re using your teeth every single day. Healthy teeth not only give you the ability to chew and smile and function, but they provide you with a healthier life.”

Hannah Lechner, who has called Stewartville home most her life, says, “I always felt very supported by the community.” Hannah and Dr. Lechner met in college, and although Dr. Lechner had an established dental career in St. Peter at the time, moving back to Stewartville was an easy decision. It made sense to be close to family, friends, and the Mayo Clinic, where Hannah focuses on clinical quality projects and improvements to flow, processes, and policies as a Senior Health Systems Engineer in Management Engineering & Internal Consulting.

“It was the tight-knit small town, local business owners, and amazing teachers/school district that quickly drew us back to Stewartville.” She adds that their two young kids “are having a wonderful experience growing up here, just like I did.”

For Root River Dental, Dr. Lechner’s vision is to continue to have a welcoming, inviting practice for patients and new team members and to grow with the community and its needs. The Lechners have seen much development in Stewartville, particularly in Schumann Business Park, and their ultimate hope is that others will continue to invest and build in Stewartville.

Hannah says, “This was a large undertaking for us, both working full-time jobs and raising toddlers. We could not be more grateful to Joya, CEDA, and the City of Stewartville/EDA for being with us every step of the way. We also had an amazing build and architectural team – Karkela and The Foundation Architects, plus the many local subcontractors did amazing work.”

Dr. Lechner says, “Stewartville welcomed me in four-and-a-half years ago, and I’m honored and humbled to be part of and serve the community.”

Thank you, Root River Dental, for serving the community of Stewartville!

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