Dental hygienist retires after 45-year career

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Joan Elenz of Dyersville has retired from her 45-year career as a dental assistant and hygienist. From left are River Town Family Dentistry owner Dr. Alicia Walke, Joan Elenz and Rhonda Ungs. (Photo submitted)

 By Caroline Rosacker

Is your glass half empty or half full? If you asked Joan Elenz, dental hygienist with River Town Family Dentistry, Guttenberg, her answer would definitely be half full. 

"Joan is always – always — in a good mood and has brought so much positivity to our dental practice throughout the years," said Rhonda Ungs, River Town Family Dentistry office manager/patient and treatment coordinator. 

Joan, who recently retired, graduated from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Texas and worked as a Certified Dental Assistant for 14 years prior to her dental hygiene career. 

"I always wanted to go back to school for dental hygiene," commented Elenz. "The opportunity came up for me when the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) I was working for at that time retired."

Elenz was employed by Dr. John Barron, of Guttenberg from 2005 until his retirement and has 45 years experience in the dental field. She has 14 years as a certified dental assistant (CDA) and 31 years as a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH), and has two state licenses in Iowa and Texas.

Some studies have shown that personality traits such as optimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being and be a key part of effective stress management. "I was taught by my parents to always treat others as you would like to be treated.  It is so much better to be happy than sad. Everyone needs to be treated with great respect and dignity!" she shared. 

Elenz is looking forward to retirement and would like to do some traveling and spend some quality time with her husband, family and friends. She also enjoys cooking, reading, going for walks and watching old movies.  "I would like to live and enjoy each and every day to the fullest that I possibly can," she said with a smile. "Thank you to all my great patients, doctors and staff who made my career most enjoyable!"

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