Dr. Joe Lenz, Dr. Mike Lenz, Dr. Mary Lenz, Dr. Mark Lenz, Therese Lenz and Dr. Kristin Lenz Galbreath represent the second and third generations of dentists in their family.
BY KATIE MATTESON
Liam Galbreath is only six months old, but the odds are pretty good that he’ll become a fourth generation dentist in his family.
Both of his great-grandfathers were dentists, his grandfather and uncle are orthodontists, his mother, uncle and aunt are all dentists. And his grandmother is a dental hygienist.
If he doesn’t become a dentist, he’ll always be assured of excellent dental care and straight teeth.
Dr. Donald Lenz from Racine, Wis. and Dr. Charles Strebig from Fort Wayne, Ind. did not know each other at Marquette University School of Dentistry. Dr. Donald graduated in 1956 and Dr. Charles had graduated two years earlier and moved to California.
The two would meet years later when their children married. Orthodontic resident Dr. Mark Lenz met dental hygiene student Therese Strebig at Marquette University.
After Dr. Mark completed his orthodontic residency at Marquette in 1984, he opened his private orthodontic practice in Racine, was appointed to the faculty of the orthodontic department at Marquette University as an assistant clinical professor, and became board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics in 1991. Lenz Orthodontics opened a second location in Waterford in 2008.
Therese has worked alongside her husband in the orthodontic practice since the beginning and the couple raised their three children, all of whom attended Marquette University and became dentists. She sometimes misses her California home, especially as winter approaches, but loves her life in Wisconsin with her family.
Daughter Dr. Kristin Lenz Galbreath, mother of Liam with her husband Kevin, an accountant in Milwaukee, did not plan to become a dentist when she began her undergraduate studies at Marquette. She was enrolled in the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. Dr. Mark recalls her saying “Dad, I’m not doing teeth, so don’t even go there!”
After completing her undergraduate degree at Marquette, Dr. Kristin completed her Doctorate of Dental Medicine at Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine in Glendale, Ariz. She spent one year in The Bronx, N.Y. in a general practice residency before returning to Wisconsin to practice in Oak Creek.
Son Dr. Joe Lenz considered medical school, but decided to become a dentist. His general dental practice in Racine includes many of his grandfather’s former patients from Dr. Donald’s 40-year career in Racine.
“They all loved him,” Dr. Joe said. “And I get to see his amazing work!”
Son Dr. Mike Lenz finished his Master’s Degree and a Certificate of Specialty in Orthodontics in 2018 from Marquette and joined his father’s practice in August. He and his wife Dr Mary Lenz met as undergraduates at Marquette. Dr. Mary practices general dentistry in Twin Lakes, Wis.
Dr. Mike described his work as 1/3 scientist, 1/3 engineer and 1/3 artist, while his dad enjoys the transformation in confidence and self esteem, in both children and adults, “as we create beautiful healthy smiles!”
“People always remember two dates,” Dr. Mark said. “When they got married and when they got their braces off.”
With new technology utilized by the practice, the orthodontists explained they no longer use headgear, extractions of teeth are rarely needed, the braces are smaller and more comfortable and the forces applied to straighten the teeth are 500 times gentler.
“And with our new intra-oral scanner we no longer take ‘goopy’ impressions!” Dr. Mark said. “It’s definitely not your parents’ experience with braces.”
He noted that about 30 percent of their practice is treating adults, including an 82 year old.”
“Our patients are always happy to be here,” Dr. Mike added.
For those in the Lenz family practicing general dentistry, they prefer the variety of procedures and treating entire families.
They’re a close knit group and enjoy spending a lot of time together.
“It all started with our fathers and the value they placed on family and service to others.” Dr. Mark and Therese agreed. “And perhaps their legacy will extend to a fourth generation.”