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Children's dentists see need, opportunity in Valley.

After a false start with a now demolished building, Drs. Asia Dell Cruz and Geoffrey Ping settled oil a different site and opened the area's third children's dental office, Wenatchee Pediatric Dentistry, on Dec. 16.

The Pings had signed on to become anchor tenants at a proposed 6,800-square-foot building being constructed by Baker Construction & Development of Spokane at the former Wenatchee Burger King site.

Instead, when banks raised rates and financing for the project fell through, they ended tip hiring Baker Construction to remodel tile 3,544-square-foot former AnovaWorks space and an adjacent office at 246 N. Mission St. The couple is leasing the building from dentist Steven Harvey and have put around $320,000 into the remodel and another S250,000 into equipment.

The Burger King site was later purchased by Spokane-based Wheatland Bank, which demolished the existing building on Nov. 16 to make way for a 5,500-square-foot branch to begin construction in the spring.

Goeffrey Ping said that while 2009 was a tough year, the couple is happy to finally have the office open, and expects next year to be much better.

At their new office they have room for 10 dental chairs, but are starting with four and a staff of three--two dental assistants and one front desk receptionist.

As business increases, the plan is to add more chairs and more people, growing to eight chairs and a staff of 12 before they need to bring in additional dentists.

Ping said that kind of growth isn't guaranteed, but is possible given the area's demographics.

"There are enough kids to go around, and a lot of kids that aren't being seen by dentists at the right age," he said.

Nowadays, the adage is, "first tooth, first visit," which many parents do not know, the couple said. It will take a lot of education and in some cases, overcoming financial barriers, and even parent's own dental fears to get parents motivated to bring in their children as soon as possible.

For the Pings, they hope to not only educate parents, but also fill a niche in the market by offering certified care.

Geoffrey Ping is board certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Earning his specialty took an extra two years of residency after dental school. Dela Cruz has also completed her additional two years, and is eligible to sit for the board's oral exam next year.

For now, the couple has realized their dream to have their own practice here in Wenatchee, which is close to Ping's extended family. Ping was born here and grew up in Ephrata.

And having their own office means they can work together and take care of families according to their own vision, rather than those of another dentist.

"When it's your own you can implement your own improvements and your own decisions. We can create the experience our patients have," Ping said.

Wenatchee Pediatric Dentistry joins Timothy Reynold's Wenatchee Valley Dental Village in East Wenatchee and Cara Schroeder's Children's Dentistry office in Wenatchee as children's dental providers. Ping and Dela Cruz will see patients ages 0-18.

OUTLOOK

On a scale of 1 to 5: Drs. Geoffrey Ping and Asia Dela Cruz say:

2009 was a 1

2010 will be a 4
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Title Annotation:OUTLOOK 2010
Author:Davis, Yvette
Publication:Wenatchee Business Journal
Date:Jan 1, 2010
Words:542
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