Local dentist Brad Mayerle takes under his wings former patient and Lakeridge High School graduate Ian Tydeman
Ian Tydeman sometimes has a problem convincing people he really is a dentist.
The reason is that at age 29, Tydeman still looks like he did when he was a student at Lakeridge High School.
'I have this baby face,' Tydeman admitted.
Looking too young is a problem most people would love having. And anyway, Tydeman is qualified in every other respect as a dentist. That is why Dr. Brad Mayerle brought him in as his first partner at Mayerle Dental of Lake Oswego.
'Dentistry can be a lonely profession,' Mayerle said. 'You run the staff, you pay the bills. Now, to have someone 4 feet away help with the decisions is great.
'We are so lucky that we have jelled instantly. Because of Ian's excitement and his level of commitment, it makes it fun for our patients and staff.'
And besides, 'Ian has such a good personality. It's made life more fun to have someone around to joke around with.'
Actually, Mayerle and Tydeman are tremendously alike. Mayerle seems to be an older version of Tydeman, and Tydeman seem to be a younger version of Mayerle. With their super-short haircuts and ever-present big smiles, they even look alike.
Together, they have parties and get-togethers with their wives and staff, and they even go fishing together.
'Brad is an amazing fisherman,' praises Tydeman, and the office is adorned with several photos of Mayerle holding gigantically impressive fish that he has caught.
So far there are not any similar photos of Tydeman. But he's only been there three months.
However, this perfect dental partnership was not a stroke of luck. It was nurtured over a long period of time, and was a product of hard work, preparation, and good timing.
It was eight years ago that Tydeman first made Mayerle's acquaintance as a patient when Mayerle opened his practice in Lake Oswego. Tydeman was definitely a bright young man with high hopes of entering the medical profession. But being a dentist was far away from his thoughts at the time.
'I thought I wanted to be a medical doctor,' Tydeman said. 'I was so gung ho about it I volunteered at a hospital in northern India. It was crazy. I worked in a lab with two other doctors.'
Still, Tydeman stayed in close contact with Mayerle, and he slowly began to see that dentistry might be the better profession for him.
'Brad was my mentor,' Tydeman said. 'He wrote recommendations for me. He turned me around. It was nice to have a real world example like him.'
One of the most important factors in Tydeman's change of heart was seeing the relationship Mayerle had with his patients.
'You have this intimacy with them,' Mayerle said. 'You see them every six months. It's almost a family-type deal. You have real nice interpersonal relationships.'
As if to prove his point, Mayerle was munching from a plate of delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies a grateful patient had brought him.
Tydeman certainly did his part as a dental student at OHSU. In fact, he did almost everything possible - National Honor Society, Clinic Honor Academy, student body president. Tydeman proved to be well up for the huge workload required of a dental student.
'You get there at 6 or 7 a.m. and you come home at midnight,' Tydeman said. 'Where they really get you is the application process.'
Obviously, he could have gone to a lot of places. But right home in Lake Oswego proved to be the best place of all.
'I wasn't necessarily looking for a partner,' Mayerle said. 'But Ian and I really clicked. We have the same interests inside and outside the office. He made a natural fit. As time went along it was evident he was the perfect fit for me.
'His clinical skills are excellent. My job is to help him apply those skills to the real world.'
Mayerle even went to great lengths to set the stage for his new sidekick, doubling his staff from five to 10 people. That move was a tad scary in these economic times, but Mayerle said, 'It looks like things are going to work out really well.'
As for Tydeman, he is as happy as a kid in a toy store. In fact, for a young dentist Mayerle's office resembles a toy store with all of his cutting-edge dentistry equipment, like digital X-rays and televisions screens where patients can lovingly view their own mouths. Plus so many rooms that it's like a maze to a newcomer.
'From day one I have loved it here,' Tydeman said. 'I go out of here at night with a smile on my face. It's the best job in the whole world.'
Mayerle Dental is located at 14800 Kruse Oaks Drive in Lake Oswego. For more information, call 503-684-2944.