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Park Dental Clinic is nearly ready to open downtown Farmington

There will be a number of grand opening activities when Park Dental opens its doors July 17 in Farmington. Dentist Lam Tu said Park has long targeted Farmington for expansion.

When Park Dental decided to expand its operation to Farmington, it needed the right dentist to build a practice in a new community. Someone, somewhere decided Dr. Lam Tu was the right man for the job.

Tu said he was hand picked to run the clinic, which will officially open July 17 at 511 Elm St.

Tu believes he has the kind of personality that lends itself to building a practice from scratch.

"I'm pretty easygoing and I try and make dentistry as easy as I can," he said. "Everybody's quite nervous whenever they come to a dental practice, so we try to really cater to everybody and make sure everyone has a good experience any time.

"We joke around. We like to keep everything light."

Farmington has been a long-term growth target for Park Dental. The new clinic is the first new practice since 1998 for the company, which operates 25 clinics around the Twin Cities. Tu said there are already Farmington residents who drive to Burnsville to visit Park Dental clinics.

Tu has been involved in every step of the process to build the new clinic. He's attended business meetings and helped pick out equipment and fixtures for the office. He's trying to make sure everything will run smoothly on day one.

He is not entirely new to building a practice. His position at the Shakopee clinic was brand new when he started there. He's bringing several staff members from Shakopee to help open the clinic here.

Tu has already been out at Dew Days events and other activities to introduce himself to the community.

"It's something that I always enjoy," he said. "I don't feel like it's work at all when you're talking to people, getting to go to these events and seeing how people like to interact with you and what questions they have for you and your practice. I think people enjoy putting a face to a name and really seeing what your personality is like."

Residents shouldn't have trouble accepting the clinic as a dental office. Until earlier this year it was the home of Immanuel Dental, which has moved to a new building downtown.

Tu earned a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 2006, then got his doctor of dental surgery from the U of M in 2010. A musician who plays piano, viola and guitar, he said he liked the idea of working with his hands. He was weighing the benefits of careers as a dentist and as a physician, but he liked the idea of seeing patients on a regular basis and forming relationships.

He has been working for Park Dental in Shakopee since completing a one-year residency at the University of North Carolina.

The new Park Dental clinic will hold an open house on its first day of business July 17.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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