By Starrla Cray
A 29-year dentist in Dassel has chosen to purchase a second office in the neighboring town of Winsted.
Dr. Ken Ness purchased Winsted Dental in mid-December after the previous dentist, Dr. James (Jim) Neff passed away from cancer in August 2013.
Since then, Ness has been sharing his time between the two locations.
“Dr. Neff had a great practice here,” Ness said. “The values that were important to Dr. Neff are important to me, as well.”
Ness and Neff have similar names, too, and Ness said they sometimes received each other’s mail by accident through the years.
“One thing that intrigued me about the Winsted practice is that it’s similar to our practice in Dassel, with technology,” he said.
‘A great career’
Ness is a Cokato native, and graduated from Dassel-Cokato High School in 1976.
By then, he was already interested in a dental career.
“The dentist I went to as a child was a good role model,” he said. “It was fun going there.”
Ness and his siblings were also encouraged to pursue health care by their father, who was superintendent of the Dassel-Cokato School District. (Today, one of Ness’s brothers is a plastic surgeon, the other is a dentist, and his sister is a teacher at the Dassel-Cokato School District.)
Ness earned undergraduate degrees in biology and physiology from the University of Minnesota, and went on to the U of M’s school of dentistry.
During Ness’s senior year of dental school, his childhood dentist, Dr. Gordon Bengston, called to ask about his plans after graduation.
“[Bengston] was looking at retiring at the time,” Ness recalled.
So, Ness purchased the business, and has enjoyed 29 years at Dassel Dental.
“I like rural communities like Winsted and Dassel,” Ness said, adding that Dassel has been a great place to raise a family.
Ness and his wife, Karen, have three adult children. Stephanie, 29, is a nurse at Buffalo Hospital; Daniel, 27, has a sales and marketing career; and Kevin, 26, works in human resources and finance.
Ness and his sons also have a side business in Minnetonka called Strength Studio, which offers personal training sessions.
For Ness, dentistry has been “a great career.”
“I like to work with my hands, I like helping people, and I like the sciences,” he said.
In the future, Ness is looking forward to adding more dental options (such as CAD/CAM dental restorations and intra-oral scanning) at Winsted Dental, to better serve his patients.
Winsted Dental is located at 123 Fairlawn Ave. To learn more, or to make an appointment, call (320) 485-4322.