Dental practice built on foundation of respect for staff, patients

| August 15, 2012 | 0 Comments
Dr. Stephen Dalseth

Leading With Faith winner Dr. Stephen Dalseth. Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

From the nominator“I was blessed to share the journey of the November 2011 dental mission to Haiti with Dr. Dalseth. . . . While in Haiti, I was able to see how selfless and giving he is. He cares so deeply for these Haitians and their well-being and has been there numerous times through the last 10 years.”
— Jodi Short
(Dr. Pascal Dalseth was also a nominator)

In his words

I think most of all, it’s important to be respectful to your employees, first of all, because they’re the most important thing. And, treat everyone fairly [and] let the staff people be empowered. We like them to feel like they have enough responsibility and we trust them enough that they can carry out their mission and help our patients.

In terms of patients, we are happy to help anyone that requests our help and our care. We let them know what their options are in terms of their dental needs and let them make the decisions for themselves. We just never try to make people feel uneasy about themselves or like we’re trying to push them to do any care that they aren’t ready to do or don’t want to do.

We have a real laid back office, and I think evidence of that, is we see people that I started seeing back in the early ’70s. We have one family that I’m aware of where we see four generations of patients, and a lot of families with three generations.

The comment I hear from patients is, ‘We really love your staff, can’t believe how long they’ve worked with you. They seem so happy and they’re always willing to help.’ That’s the message that I give to the staff — our patients stay with our dental practice, not necessarily because of the dentists, but it’s much because of the staff people themselves, from the hygienists to the patient coordinators to the receptionists to the assistants.

I can tell you about a time down in Haiti [while on a dental mission trip]. This was one of the first times that I went, in 2006. We had virtually no equipment down there at all. We had no power drills, and limited visibility in terms of light. Up here, we have all modern equipment and the best assistants. Down there, we didn’t have any of that to work with.

Taking out teeth surgically was extremely difficult under those conditions, and I just basically prayed and asked for help in doing these things. We were able to do these difficult procedures with not a lot to work with. That just shows we were getting help from on high.

I was raised in a family of six children with parents that were very religious. We always said the rosary during May [month of Mary]. Faith was an important part when I was growing up. In elementary school, we had the Franciscan nuns at our parish grade school. They were wonderful people. And, certainly the influence of the Benedictines at St. John’s University [in Collegeville] where I did my undergraduate work. The Benedictine philosophy, you can’t help escape that.

My older brother [Father Gerald Dalseth] is a Catholic priest, and he just retired last month. He was a priest for the Diocese of St. Cloud. My mother was very pleased when he became a priest.

We’ve developed an excellent practice. We’ve always encouraged staff development and I don’t think we have ever turned anyone down.

I think it’s an office where people feel they get excellent care in a broad range of dental services. We do lots of surgeries, we do orthodontics, TMJ implants. Patients like the fact that they don’t have to go to other offices for specialty care.


Age: 71

Company: Dalseth Family and Cosmetic Dentistry

Title: Dentist

Parish: Risen Savior, Burnsville

Children: Pascal, Daniel, Anthony

Activities: volunteer on sister parish committee (St. Rose of Lima in Gris Gris, Haiti), organize and lead dental mission trips to Haiti, hunting, biking and gardening

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Category: Leading With Faith