Derby resident Dr. Rachel Clark, DDS, is branching off and starting her own practice in her home community. Clark initially earned her bachelor’s from Wichita State University and worked as a dental hygienist in the Wichita area for six years before graduating from Creighton University Dental School in 2018. She has been working as an associate in Wichita for the past few years.
While she started off with humbler aspirations, it didn’t take long in her time as a hygienist before the idea of pursuing full-time dentistry set in with Clark.
“I felt that it would be more secure for me to become a dental hygienist and see where the road sort of took me, but in that journey I reached a point where I was like, ‘people need quality dentistry, people need good care and why can’t I be a person that provides that care,’” Clark said. “I remember as a hygienist people were always like, ‘when are you going to go to school to be a dentist?’”
After earning her degree from Creighton, Clark and her husband, Joel Balthazar, decided to move back to Derby – with the small town feel appealing to the Dodge City natives. Her new practice being a two-minute drive to work (instead of 20 minutes to Wichita) is also a nice perk, Clark admitted.
Starting up, Clark noted she will continue to work part-time at her Wichita office as she transitions out, but once she is in Derby full-time hours for Illuminate Family Dentistry will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Clark also said depending on customer need some Friday hours may be added.
“I just want to be available to people who need my help. I’m going to provide pretty comprehensive care,” Clark said of her services, looking to potentially grow into other specialties “as we’re able to.”
On top of opening up the new dental practice, Clark and Balthazar also took full ownership of the building at 250 W. Red Powell. While the dental office takes up half the space, the couple plans to lease the other half (2,500 sq. ft.) as either one or two suites potentially.
While three operating rooms were added – along with a sterilization center – for the dental office, the layout of the former dialysis center leaves a pretty wide open floor plan for future tenants.
No leasing plans have been lined up just yet. And while starting her own practice is enough to tackle at the moment, Clark envisions the building potentially being a nice home for a connected medical community in Derby.
“This is not something I ever thought I would do. I never thought I would own my own practice, so I’m excited and terrified all at the same time, but I’m also excited for the opportunity for us to bring in some more businesses,” Clark said. “I think it would be great if we could have some more medical next to us, whether that be eye doctor, chiropractor, anybody really.”