Sioux Center dentist celebrates 30 years | Sioux Center News

SIOUX CENTER—One Sioux Center dentist reached a 30-year milestone in November.

Dr. Leanne Bylsma-Mulder of Bylsma-Mulder Family Dentistry officially marked that anniversary Nov. 2 with balloons and a rare dentist office sweet treat of raspberry cream filled cake.

“A special treat for a special celebration,” said Bylsma-Mulder, 56. “I’m honored to have served patients in this way for all these years.”

The Hull native was the first female dentist in Sioux County when she opened for business in 1992. Her first two years in business were in Orange City; she’s been practicing in Sioux Center the past 28 years.

“I was the only one from my dentistry class that just hung up my shingle and started with zero patients,” Bylsma-Mulder said. “I’ve been blessed since day one, practicing in Orange and Sioux Center.”

Bylsma-Mulder, who lives in Sioux Center, chose to move her practice to Sioux Center all those years ago after learning of an opening in a building just a block away from her home at that time.

“The space had one dentist and one orthodontist in the building and there was room for me,” she said. “I came and looked and felt it was going to be a good fit. I bought into the building and transferred here. A lot of the patients followed so that was really nice.”

She remains seeing patients at 159 S. Main Ave., alongside Dr. Joe Van Es of Van Es Dentistry. Wagner, Kuntz & Grabouski Orthodontics also continues providing orthodontics services within the building as well.

Bylsma-Mulder sees patients Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. She’s kept the three-day schedule since her youngest son, Lane, 23, was born. Her family also includes son Jamie, 27, and husband Bill.

“As a working mom, there’s always that struggle to find balance between work and family; having that three-day week gave me that balance,” she said. “That’s allowed me to continue my work with the community and enjoy time with my family.”

Being a dentist is an occupation Bylsma-Mulder chose for herself while in elementary school.

“When I was in fifth grade, I decided I wanted to be a dentist already,” she said. “Back then I went to Le Mars for the orthodontist because I had braces. He totally changed the way my teeth looked. I thought if I could do for others what he’s done for me, that’s what I want to do.”

She completed three years toward a biology health sciences degree from Northwestern College in Orange City, then received early acceptance to the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in Iowa City from which she graduated in 1992.

Bylsma-Mulder officially earned her degree from Northwestern in 2022, graduating alongside her youngest son.

“Because I started at Northwestern, my two sons went to Northwestern, my husband works there, we’re big Red Raider fans, I’ve always thought it would be great to have my degree from there as well,” she said. “When I went to check into the possibility, I ran into my old pre-dentist tract adviser, and we talked to the Registrar’s Office. It was truly a God thing I was able to receive that degree.”

While studying to become a dentist, Bylsma-Mulder explored orthodontia because of the impact it had on her life but ultimately felt it wasn’t the right fit.

“As a family dentist I get to see a variety of ages, from very young children to quite elderly,” she said, noting she also visits nursing homes. “All my patients are such a blessing. I really enjoy interacting with them. I care for them as a person more than just about their teeth. When a patient sits down with me, I try to take time to get to know them and their family and keep up with what they’re doing. I like the interaction. My job is so more than just teeth, it’s about relationships.”

With her husband from Ireton, Bylsma-Mulder knew she wanted to practice in Sioux County after becoming a dentist.

“I really enjoy the people in this area of the state,” she said. “With my husband and I being from the area, we knew a lot of people then and we know a lot more people know. I’ve been really blessed with great patients. They’ve made a lot of great memories for me. Some I first saw as little kids and now they’re adults and I’m working on their kids. I really enjoy that. I may even bee getting close to that third generation of care.”

Dentistry requires many hours of continuing education to state up-to-date with industry changes and trends. Bylsma-Mulder has been to every state dental meeting in the past 30 years as she said she values the opportunity to look at the latest equipment, supplies and techniques.

“When started, in dentistry we mostly did silver amalgam fillings and we don’t hardly do that anymore. It’s white resin fillings now,” she said. “As a dentist I still do a lot of restoration with teeth — fillings, crowns, bridges and implants. Implants is an idea introduced since I graduated from dental school. I love that option if someone is a candidate for it because you can really change someone’s smile and function. If they were missing teeth, they can now eat so much better than when they had the space.”

Such work continues reminding her why she wanted to be a dentist all those years ago.

“It’s been a good fit,” she said.

When not in the office, her family enjoy supporting the Red Raiders, boating or using Jet Skis at the Iowa Great Lakes and snowmobiling.

“Anything we can do as a family; that’s my happy time,” she said.

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