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New dentist settles into friendly surroundings

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KINSLER: Julie Kinsler, D.D.S., and her husband, Jeremy Kinsler, operate Kinsler Family Dentistry at 311 Kentwood Drive, Frankfort. The two moved to Jeremy’s hometown after buying Dr. Michael Sovanovich’s dental practice in December.
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DR. KINSLER: Julie Kinsler, D.D.S., practices at Kinsler Family Dentistry at 311 Kentwood Dr., Frankfort. She and her husband Jeremy Kinsler, a hometown Hot Dog, bought the practice from Dr. Michael Sovanovich in December.

BY SHARON BARDONNER - sbardonner@ftimes.com

If you’re step into the shoes of a 30-year business owner, it helps if you do so in your husband’s hometown. That’s what Julie Kinsler, D.D.S., found when she and her husband Jeremy Kinsler decided to move from the Chicago area and purchase a dental practice.

The Kinslers did not intentionally target Frankfort, where Jeremy’s family roots go back about a century, but serendipitously that’s where they landed when they found that Michael Sovanovich, D.D.S., had decided to sell his practice at 311 Kentwood Drive.

Kinsler attended Indiana University in Bloomington and obtained her dental degree from the IU School of Dentistry. She did her residency in Chicago at Northwestern Hospital, which is where she and Jeremy met. 

She has been practicing dentistry for 11 years, working at a couple of practices in the South Bend area, treating Amish and Mennonite patients primarily at one and un- and underinsured patients at a community health center at the other.

“I saw all kinds of patients at both places, but in both offices I got to know the patients very well because there was a lot of dentistry to do. It was also a smaller area and I was one of the few dentists, so I built relationships with people.”

She described the process as putting families together one by one as she first would treat a mother and then her children followed by the father or other relatives in the area. 

“They were like a second family to me and the staff,” she said. “It was a fun dynamic.”

Jeremy Kinsler, the son of Dennis and Teresa Kinsler, grew up in Frankfort, graduated as a Hot Dog, attended Purdue University, and went to Chicago, where he worked as a human resources executive.

The couple enjoyed Chicago and the South Bend area, they said, but when considering buying a practice they wanted to settle in a smaller community that would be a good place to raise their three children, ages 2, 4 and 6.

“I grew up in Frankfort and knew most everyone,” said Jeremy Kinsler. “We were with my grandparents and my cousins all the time. We’re a very close-knit family.”

As a first step, the Kinslers moved to Westfield in May 2017. Julie commuted to South Bend and Jeremy worked for IU Health in Indianapolis in Finance and IT.

“We found the practice in September,” said she said. “We hit the jackpot. It was a great practice with a fantastic team of girls in a community we know. I thought, ‘Are you kidding me?’”

After meeting Dr. Sovanovich, she was even more assured that the practice would be a good fit for her. 

“From the first meeting – I knew right away. He was so easy to work with, and the whole process was about as easy as it can be.”

Her style and approach to dentistry were very similar to Dr. Sovanovich’s, she said. 

“When you’ve been in practice for 30 years, you don’t just hand it off to anyone. You want someone to want to pass (your patients) off to,” said Kinsler.

The quick acquisition of the practice was a flurry of things to do, she said. “I should have kept a journal. There is so much stuff to handle, and you don’t know what you don’t know.”

While the dental part has been easy, getting a handle on the administrative aspects of owning the business has been tougher but their team approach seems to be working.

The practice has been gaining patients every month since they closed on it in December, and while Julie Kinsler oversees all of the dentistry, Jeremy Kinsler handles business operations as office manager.

If each is doing what they should be doing, she said, they don’t see each other much during the day. She’s in the west end of the building treating patients and he’s up front in the office.

She said she enjoys the aesthetics of her profession because of the immediate gratification it brings both her and her patient. 

“Giving someone a good smile is probably my favorite part – and seeing how excited they are.”

A patient came in recently with a broken front tooth and left with a rebuilt one, Jeremy Kinsler recounted. “‘This is a miracle!’ they said. “They were smiling and laughing again and happy. It was a pretty cool feeling.”

Julie Kinsler also educates patients on the importance of their oral health.

“It’s easy to jam-pack your schedule. But it’s worthwhile to everyone to explain to them what I’m doing and why, even if it puts me 15 minutes behind. Everyone benefits from that,” she said.

Kinsler has been pleased especially with her team, which includes 30-year office coordinator and dental assistant Jan Newell; Kelsey Lukasik, office coordinator and expanded-functions dental assistant; Michelle White and Jessica King, dental hygienists; and Brianna Johnston and Angie Jarrett, expanded-functions dental assistants.

Dr. Kinsler’s practice philosophy is simple: “I want patients to like me.” 

She knows it will take time for patients to trust her as completely as they did Dr. Sovanovich.

“Coming in after someone who was here for 30 years, you know you have very big shoes to fill,” she said. “I want to leave my patients with a really great experience.”

Kinsler Family Dentistry, 311 Kentwood Drive, Frankfort, is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call 765-659-2124. The practice is open Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and closes for lunch daily from 1-2 p.m.