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Wadena gets its first female dentist

Bertha-Hewitt alumna Heidi Reuter is joining Dr. James Matthiae at his practice in Wadena starting Jan. 4. She is the town's first female dentist, according to Matthiae.1 / 2
Heidi Reuter and her family are relocating to the Wadena area. Clockwise from top, Elise, Ryan, Heidi and Cole.2 / 2

Bertha-Hewitt alumna Heidi Reuter loves to put smiles on people's faces.

The 29-year-old is Wadena's newest dentist and the first woman to hold the position in town, according to Dr. James Matthiae.

"I'm excited to practice in a rural area and become a part of a rural community again," Reuter said.

Reuter will join Matthiae at his practice on First Street Southeast Jan. 4. She is the first dentist Matthiae has worked with since he started his dental office in Wadena in 1982, he said.

She is excited to learn from Matthiae, she said. And Matthiae said he's looking forward to learning from her.

Reuter graduated from Bertha-Hewitt School in 1998 and from the College of St. Benedict in 2002. She received her dental degree from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 2007. She lives in Hastings, Minn., with her husband, Ryan, and their children, Cole, 3, and Elise, 9 months. The young family are in the process of transferring their lives to the Wadena area.

Reuter always knew she wanted to go into a profession in the medical field, she said. Her interest in the field was strengthened when she did a health care internship with Tri-County Hospital, she said. She decided to become a dentist when she was in college.

"It's just a great profession," Reuter said.

She really likes the cosmetic side of dentistry, she said, and enjoys seeing people smile after receiving treatments such as Invisalign.

There is an art involved in dentistry, Reuter said. There are always new advancements and changes in the dental field.

Her favorite part of being a dentist, however, is getting to work with people, she said. She likes working with kids and is looking forward to getting to know families.

She's also excited about being the first female dentist in Wadena, she said.

"It's always fun to be the first," Reuter said.

A lot of her patients really like seeing a female dentist, she said. Her dental school class was almost half male and half female.

The opportunity to return to her roots is another reason Reuter is eagerly anticipating her career in Wadena.

"I don't think there's anything better than coming back to the community you were raised [that] nurtured you and helped you become who you are," Reuter said. "I really like this area."