Big city dental care in a small community

Published 1:00 pm Sunday, March 5, 2017

By Amy Wasson

When you enter the office of Advanced Family Dental, not only will the high ceilings, decor and spacious layout impress you, so will the smiles on the faces of every team member. Patients and visitors alike feel the upbeat energy of the dental clinic as soon as they walk in the front doors.

Dentist Rachel Nolander-Poppel opened Advanced Family Dental in 2011. However, it was not until dentist Tricia Nelson joined the practice in 2014 that they broke ground for their new facility, opening the doors in March 2015. The new office location provides the two dentists with plenty of elbowroom and several patient treatment areas to support their growing business.

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On Ekko Drive, a quiet street just north of Northbridge Mall, Advanced Family Dental offers state-of-the-art services in all aspects of dental care, prevention and treatment. Some of these high-tech services include:

• 3-D dental X-ray system: Possibly the only system of its kind in southern Minnesota, this X-ray allows for thorough examination of every aspect of a patient’s problem area. This is particularly helpful with root canals and placement of dental implants.

• Intraoral cameras: A high-resolution digital camera on a small wand, which is about the size of a finger, is connected to a computer. This allows patients to see what Nolander-Poppel and Nelson are looking at in their mouths.

• Soft tissue laser: All Advanced Family Dental hygienists are specially trained and certified to provide relief from canker sores, cold sores, dentures, braces and periodontal disease with this noninvasive treatment. No anesthesia is needed and relief is instantaneous.

Tricia Nelson and Rachel Nolander-Poppel are the two dentists at Advanced Family Dental. – Provided

Get a new crown in one visit

Later this year, Advanced Family Dental will provide a new dental procedure for their patients. Nolander-Poppel and Nelson are obtaining equipment that will allow them to design and mill crowns in their clinic.

With this new technology, the days of temporary crowns, multiple visits and multiple times getting numb are over. A patient who needs a new or a replacement crown needs only one appointment. A digital impression is made, and the crown is created and installed in one visit to the dentist.

While the technology has been around for a number of years, Nolander-Poppel and Nelson said they did not want to purchase the equipment until it provided the quality they sought for their patients. Although they have created crowns before, this service will now be available in their own clinic.

Big city dental care — small town cost

At first glance, some potential patients assume they cannot afford the top-of-the-line services offered in this modern clinic. However, Nolander-Poppel and Nelson did not change their fees when they moved from their original location on Front Street, and they stay competitive with local fees. In fact, they have patients who live in the Twin Cities but come to Albert Lea for the comprehensive care they need at affordable rates.

The clinic focuses on educating patients to empower them to make their own decisions about their dental care and oral health. Treating patients like family is the philosophy of the two dentists and their entire team.

In Albert Lea to stay

Nolander-Poppel graduated from Albert Lea High School and was thrilled to return to her hometown after practicing dental medicine elsewhere. Nelson grew up in a small town on the upper peninsula of Michigan and couldn’t believe how at home she felt when she first visited Albert Lea. They and their families are committed to this community and are here to stay.

For more information about Advanced Family Dental’s comprehensive care clinic and its dentists and staff, check out their website, You may also visit them on Facebook where you can view a video of the office layout, read patient reviews and stay up to date with what is going on.