Dakota Dental approaches first anniversary

Bowman has been smiling a little brighter lately.

Over the past year, the Dakota Dental Center has become a staple in the area.

By Chris Slone

“We are super excited to be here and are really blown away by all the support and all of the well wishes we’ve received over the last year,” D.D.S. Caitlin J. Hafner, owner, said. “It’s really helped us to feel confident in growing our business and encompass all areas of dentistry.”

The official one-year anniversary for Dakota Dental Center will take place Feb. 1.

“We offer implant dentistry, we’re offering ortho as well. We do cosmetic dentistry, full-mouth reconstruction, along with everyday things such as fillings, crowns, everyday cleanings. We really offer a full-range of services here,” Hafner said.

Hafner attended dental school in Lincoln at the University of Nebraska Medical Center where she met her business partner and husband Weston Hafner. After they graduated from Dental School, they wanted to open a practice in a rural area.

Weston grew up approximately 30 miles from Bowman.

“We knew we wanted to be somewhere smaller to start our career and raise a family eventually,” Caitlin Hafner said.

As far being first-time business owners, Weston Hafner said the transition has had its kinks, but nothing to serious.

“First time business owner challenge has been the challenge,” Weston Hafner said.

Caitlin concurred with Weston.

“They don’t teach you anything about running a business in dentistry school,” Caitlin said. “We’re working through those beginning kinks where we didn’t know exactly what to do business wise. Now that we’re getting through some of that and getting familiar with some of that, it’s been awesome.”

The duo said they have a pair of mentors they met in Nebraska that started their own business.

“We lean on them a lot,” Weston said. “There’s definitely a learning curve to running your own business, but we’ve enjoyed it. It’s been challenging but fun.”

Caitlin also talked about how far Dakota Dental has come in its first year. When Weston was working under Dr. Anderson, there were five employees and two dentists. Right now, Dakota Dental is a 10-member team, which includes both dentists.

“We’ve definitely grown, so in year two, we’re going to try to hone in and teach our team the skills we want them to have so we can be really efficient for patients,” Caitlin said.