With a cozy fireplace, a personal computer desk and a kids area with Legos, Gundersen Dental Care‘s waiting room feels like a comfy living room in Tumwater. With Its numerous windows that let in plenty of daylight, you may even feel like pulling out a book to read there for an afternoon!

Gundersen Dental Care Family
From left: Dr. Arne Gundersen, his wife Rose and children, Josiah (youngest), Anthea (oldest) and Nathaniel (middle).
Photo courtesy: Gundersen Dental Care

I know what you are thinking – it’s still a dental office.  However, what makes this two-generation family-owned dental office special is their genuine compassion for patients.  Dr. Arne Gundersen’s kind nature is evident in how he welcomes you to the practice that his father started in 1964, and the current clinic building has been there since 1972 with two different major remodels.

Gundersen grew up on a farm – first on Wiggins road and then in the Tumwater area. Like most farm children, he was involved in 4-H. His father raises polled Herefords, so that is what Gundersen showed. “The money I made on my beef cattle helped put me through college,” Gundersen says.

After graduating from Olympia High School, he received a Bachelor of Science in microbiology/immunology from the University of Washington.  He spent the following two years working at a biotech company in Seattle, but feeling the need to explore his passion for ministry he began an internship with his church.  In the process he completed a Master’s Degree in Ministry through Pepperdine University.

Gundersen Dental Care Snoqualmie Pass
Another family outing, this time snow shoeing near Snoqualmie pass. Gunderson hopes to give his patients the confidence to smile as big as he does. Photo courtesy: Gundersen Dental Care

He then returned to the science field working four years at Fred Hutch Cancer Research center.  As he started his family, he developed a greater urge to somehow incorporate his science knowledge into opportunities to work with people.  Out of this came his decision to pursue dentistry.   After completion of Dental school at the University of Washington in 1999, Gundersen moved back to Olympia to join his father’s dental practice.

Patient Care a Top Priority

Gundersen has a real heart for people and finds that through dentistry he can help people feel better about their teeth and improve their quality of life.  He is grateful that he is able to work alongside staff who also have this same desire to create a caring environment for patients.

“In the last five years, I’ve done more with Invisalign and braces, and I love that,” he shares. “You’re helping people smile. You’re changing them in a way they are excited about. When you are done, they love the way they look. So that’s enjoyable.”

Dr. Arne Gundersen’s
Whiter Smile Tip

“Many people today are using natural toothpastes and shying away from the harsh chemicals in whitening toothpastes. So, to achieve a whiter smile naturally, trying brushing with baking soda.”

Gundersen finds developing relationships with his patients rewarding as well. “When you get to the point where they respect the way you take care of them, it’s really fulfilling,” he shares. “You’ve helped them cross over from a place of fear and anxiety to comfort and friendship. Now, their dentist is somebody they can trust.”

Patients tell him that while they may not like what he does in their mouth, they truly like him and that relationship motivates them to return. “And that’s what makes all of us here – my whole team – feel good. That’s what we want,” Gundersen says. “Otherwise, they just stop going to the dentist. That’s a pretty common outcome.”

Gundersen Dental Care offers a wide range of services including preventative care, pediatric and cosmetic dentistry, implants, orthodontics, teeth whitening, night and sport guards. For those who are anxious, they do offer sedation dentistry.  Gundersen is also available for emergency dental care as needed.

Along with excellent patient relations, Gundersen Dental Care incorporates new technology such as digital x-rays, intra-oral cameras and a 3D scanner. These aid in improving patient’s dental experience, through improved patient education, shorter treatment time and greater comfort.

Gundersen Dental Care Dr. Arne Gundersen
Dr. Arne Gundersen is all about his patients. He wants them to be comfortable and to develop a trusting relationship with him. Photo credit: Kristina Lotz

Serving the Community

Ministry has always been a theme in Gundersen’s life and he’s still very active in his church. He hosts a home group and has been involved in a variety of Christian ministries. Gundersen Dental Care donates a portion of their profits each year to numerous local non-profits and school organizations. You may have heard of Washington Trafficking Prevention and its local affiliate called Thurston County Coalition Against Trafficking, both of which are Gundersen Dental’s primary philanthropic work.  Gundersen’s staff likewise share his desire to be involved in the community, serving others in various ways outside their work.

Away from work, Gundersen loves being outdoors. He loves to ski, hike and mountain biking. He raises grapes from which he makes juice and jelly. He has also become an avid gourmet cook in the last few years, which his wife and children greatly enjoy!

To find out more about the Gundersen Dental Care difference, visit the Gunderson Dental Care website or call 360-209-4921.

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