Dental Clinic Debuts in Carlin

Dr. Tom Dickson
Dr. Tom Dickson in the lobby area of Family Dental Care in Carlin.
Photos by CarolLee Egbert

By Dianna Troyer

An unfortunate event led to a series of fortunate events for Dr. Barry Sorenson, who recently opened Carlin’s only dental clinic.

Barry, 40, says his grandmother’s unfortunate accident serendipitously opened doors to his career advancement in northern Nevada.

“None of this would have happened without her,” he says. “When she hurt her knee about 10 years ago, her neighbor came to visit and told my grandma about her son who was a dentist in Spring Creek, Nevada. He wanted to retire and was looking for someone to buy his practice. During her
recovery, she encouraged me to pursue my career goals and check it out.”

At the time, Barry was working at a dental clinic in Mountain Home, Idaho. He contemplated the idea of owning a solo practice in Nevada.

“I was familiar with Elko County from my team roping days in high school and college,” says the St. George, Utah native. “I really liked northern Nevada and the idea of raising our children in a small town.”

In 2010, he bought the clinic in Spring Creek and named it Family Dental Care. As he settled into running his new business, he envisioned eventually expanding to the nearest towns and offering dental services in Carlin—a town of 2,400 about 38 miles northwest of Spring Creek, and Elko, about 15 miles north.

Top, Dr. Tom Dickson talks with patient Richard McNamara.
Top, Dr. Tom Dickson talks with patient Richard McNamara.

Before Family Dental Care opened in Carlin, the nearest dentist was in Elko, a 40-mile round-trip. Since opening a satellite office in Carlin in April, Barry says his clients have told him they appreciate having a local clinic.

“Parents have said when their kids had a dentist appointment, they had to take them out of school for half a day because of the drive time to Elko,” Barry says. “They’ve told me they’re grateful our office is in town because their kids can be here for an hour and easily go back to school.”

Opening the Carlin clinic required more than a year of planning and meeting with the city council and mayor to discuss the idea.

“We asked their advice about a location,” Barry says.

Mayor Dana Holbrook and the council suggested a lot at 617 Main St., where a casino and cafe had once operated. The building, dating to the 1950s, contained hazardous asbestos and had fallen into disrepair. The city acquired it and received a federal grant to safely tear it down and clean up the property.

“The cleanup was done about the same time they were looking for a location,” Dana says. “We gave them a good price as an incentive to come.
We’re excited because Carlin hasn’t had a dentist in recent memory. With the clinic open, our seniors won’t have to drive far for dental care.”

Dental instruments
Dental instruments and equipment at the clinic.

The clinic is the first new business to open downtown in about two decades, he says.

“Hopefully, it will become an anchor to attract more businesses,” Dana adds. “We’d like it to be the start of an economic revitalization in that part of town.”

Barry says the location is ideal because it is easy for clients to find the clinic in the center of town. Last fall, he had a 1,700-square foot modular office building placed on the lot. With dental equipment installed, the clinic opened in April.

Carlin resident Gayle Zomar is grateful to have local dental care.

Dr. Barry Sorenson with his wife, Des.
Dr. Barry Sorenson with his wife, Des.

“They’re excellent with patients of all ages, especially children, and are friendly,” she says. “I’ve never had discomfort or pain even when they gave me a Novocain shot. The hygienist is pleasant and never hurts you. For entertainment, they even have a TV, so you can watch a movie.”

She said she also appreciates how the dentists support community events.

“They came to our bingo games at the senior center and brought their children too,” she says.

At the Carlin clinic, Barry rotates with two other dentists: Dr. Joseph Johnson and Dr. Tom Dickson. Along with the Carlin office, they opened a practice in Elko, taking over Dr. Marvin Conley’s practice when he retired recently.

“In Carlin, we’ll add another hygienist and be open more hours as needed,” Barry says. “I’ve always believed in doing all I can for a community. We appreciate the continued support we’re receiving. I never expected all this to happen when I bought the practice in Spring Creek. It’s exciting to see everything fall into place.”

The Carlin clinic at 617 Main St. is open Tuesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 775-754-2900.