Gresham dentist opens his dream office

Brian Allen's new space at Burnside, Cleveland opened on July 5
by: John Klicker, Brian Allen is thrilled to open his new dentist office. A native Oregonian, Allen says he has known he wanted to be a dentist since he was 5 years old. Allen says his team has helped his business prosper.

It's taken two years, but Gresham dentist Brian Allen has finally moved into his dream office.

Built to Allen's specifications, the new building sits near the southwest corner of Burnside Road and Cleveland Avenue in Gresham.

The family practice dental office opened Wednesday, July 5, and Allen is accepting new patients.

The front room is spacious, giving patients a choice of comfy couches and, soon, a peek at the work of Portland mosaic artist Ruth Frances Greenberg.

'It's going to be really nice,' Allen says of the mosaic Greenberg is constructing for his new office. 'It's a picture of Mt. Hood with an elk in the foreground, done in tiny tiles.'

Next to family, dentistry is Allen's No. 1 passion, but art and the outdoors tie for third.

The dentist insisted that a large, interior wall be painted a deep chocolate brown to show off his nature-themed artwork, and he's looking forward to switching out his artwork, to keep the office looking fresh for patients.

The 42-year-old father of four started working on his dream office more than two years ago, while working out of another building near the new Gresham Station medical complex, where his wife, Sheri, works as a surgical nurse.

'I wanted to be my own boss,' Allen says, 'I wanted to be totally independent and not rely on anybody else, to be in control of everything I did.'

The result is a modern building with an emphasis on keeping patients comfortable - Allen even designed a conference room where he can talk to patients about future dental work and financial obligations.

Accompanying Allen is his dental team, Mary Lehl, the office manager; Liz Rusnac, Allen's assistant; and Diane Budworth, Allen's hygienist.

Asked why patients are drawn to Allen's practice, the doctor credits his team. 'Mary really helps bring people in,' he says. 'She cares about people and most patients talk to her before they ever meet me.'

Then there's Diane, the dental hygienist.

'She's incredibly thorough but gentle,' Allen says. 'She's good at what she does, and she's very good with kids.'

Liz helps keep everything running smoothly and Allen's personality puts patients at ease.

'I'm a people person,' Allen says. 'I love what I do, and I care about my patients. I want them to feel and look good, and I want to put them at ease.'

Allen came from a dental family. His father was a dentist and three of his four brothers have also gone into the profession. Two, including Allen, are family dentists, one is an endodontist, doing root canals only, and the other is an orthodontist.

'I've known I wanted to be a dentist since I was 5 years old,' Allen says. 'It's a great profession, and I enjoy what I do.'

When he's not working, Allen is outside with his family. He and Sheri often take their children - Jennifer, 18, Melissa, 16, Nathan, 13, and Daniel, 11 - camping, and the family is involved in their church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A native of Oregon, Allen says he wouldn't choose to live anywhere else.

'Oregon has so much to see and do,' he says. 'There are so many wonderful places to hike and fish. I can't imagine being anywhere else.'