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Put a smile on your face
by Garrett Valenzuela
Oct 17, 2012 | 11243 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo -- Doctors at Champagne Family Dentistry stand outside their Sparks Boulevard location Wednesday. The family practice has been in Sparks for more than 30 years and continues to support the community they were raised in.
Tribune photo -- Doctors at Champagne Family Dentistry stand outside their Sparks Boulevard location Wednesday. The family practice has been in Sparks for more than 30 years and continues to support the community they were raised in.
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SPARKS — As you spot your dental chair and make your way through the halls, you can’t help but notice historic, brown-tinted photos pinned to the walls. Written in each corner is a location, date and “Sparks History Museum,” which seems out of place when surrounded by high-tech dental gear — unless you are at Champagne Family Dentistry.

The historic pictures displaying Sparks remind customers of the Champagnes’ roots since founding the practice more than 30 years ago. After graduating from Sparks High School, the University of Nevada, Reno and dental school in Louisville, Ky., Larry Champagne began the family practice on York and Pyramid ways, not far from his childhood home near G Street and Pyramid Way.

The dental office relocated two more times and now lies on Sparks Boulevard where Larry is joined by his sons, Jason and Andrew, and his daughter-in-law, Cariann, in continuing the Champagne legacy of dental care.

“I cannot imagine living any place else but here,” Larry said. “I think it has a hometown feel, it is a growing area and it is a great place to raise a family.”

Jason and Andrew, both graduates of Reed High, began taking over the day-to-day operations of the office five years ago when the new location was built. Larry said the boys would spend time in his office during high school and developed their own desire to take on dentistry as a career.

“I can’t say I really pushed them to go into dentistry per se, but they saw my personal touch with the patients and they liked the lifestyle,” Larry said.

Andrew agreed that comforting patients and helping ease their minds during exams is the primary goal of the family’s operation.

“We always want to make people feel comfortable,” Andrew said. “We always want people to not only consent to treatment but to understand why we are doing to the treatment. There is nothing worse than when someone comes in and thinks ‘why are we doing this?’ We want patients to understand why we are doing this stuff and we want them to trust us.”

The passion for treating patients has become infectious inside the office, which now staffs four full-time and two part-time general dentists and two full-time pediatric dentists. The Champagnes also make their presence known in the community by sponsoring the UNR football and basketball teams’ Smile Cam and they are the official team dentist for the Reno Aces.

“The community has been very good to us, both Sparks and Reno, and we want to be able to give back and create relationships with other people in town so they know we are here and always going to be here,” Andrew said. “I think it is nice to know when you come to town that we have been here for a long time and are going to take care of me. We like to think it give people some comfort.”

Though the practice has been around for more than 30 years and has a founder who has been in dentistry for nearly 40 years, Champagne Family Dentistry takes pride in offering technologically advanced services. Additions such as a CAD/CAM machine to mold crowns after digital scans of teeth, digital x-rays that reduce radiation amounts and a 3-D imaging camera that works like a CT scan on teeth, have kept the family on the cutting edge of dentistry.

“Stereotypically, if anything else, dentists kind of get stuck in their ways and my dad has been good about staying up on new material,” Andrew said. “Even when I was in dental school, before I started practicing, whenever they would talk about new materials or developments, my dad knew about them. Even though he graduated from dental school in 1975, he’s had a dedication to staying up with new technologies because he understood that if you are not learning, you are several years behind.”

Still, it is the deep-rooted family values keeping the Champagne practice strong and growing. Larry said the secret to the Champagnes’ success lies in their “longevity, community involvement and treating people right.”

“People want to be treated right and you want value for your money and I think that is what we offer,” Larry said. “We are about being approachable. You can’t put yourself on a pedestal. We try to make our patients our family and our friends, and I think that is really important.”

Andrew added, “Sparks is one of those communities where you grow to love it and when you grow up here it becomes a part of you.”

“It’s funny because I talk to people that I meet from Reno and they have noticed about people from Sparks that they don’t want to go to Reno if they don’t have to. If you can get it in Sparks, you stay in Sparks. That is kind of the way we are and I have always identified with that,” Andrew said.

Champagne Family Dentistry is located at 735 Sparks Blvd. and can be reached at 359-3934.
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