Tiptons on verge of making dentistry the family business

John Thompson • Updated Oct 23, 2017 at 9:35 AM

ELIZABETHTON — Not many boys and girls get the chance to pursue the career of their childhood dreams, but the chlldhood ambitions of the Tiptons are on the verge of coming true for Logan, his wife Carly, and his little brother Lucas.

All three of the Tiptons have long had the desire to become dentists. It has already come true for Carly, who graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry in May and started Appalachian Family Dentistry in Elizabethton on July 31.

Her husband, Logan, has completed three years at the Kentucky dental school. He is taking off this year to help Carly get her new practice on track and will go back to school next year with plans to graduate in May 2019.

Logan's brother, Lucas, is following in his brother's footsteps. Both Logan and Lucas graduated from East Tennessee State University. Both were also Eagle Scouts whose interest in dentistry was encouraged by obtaining the Dentistry Merit Badge. Lucas is now in graduate school at ETSU while he is searching for a dental college to attend.

Logan's and Lucas' father is Ron Tipton, operations manager at the Johnson City Press. "I remember our first jobs were at the Press, when dad would hire us to place inserts in the paper on big days," Logan said. Their mother, Rhonda Tipton, now works as the financial manager for Appalachian Family Dentistry.

Carly had a big change in her young life when her dad, Tim Brinson, died when she was only 13. She grew extra close to her mom, Regina Brinson. "My mom is my best friend and number one supporter," Carly said. Regina was successful both as a mom and as a businesswoman. She is the executive vice president of Monticello Banking Company in Monticello, Ky. Ten years after her father's death, Carly's mom married Danny Mink, who is now Carly's stepfather.

Carly said her inspiration to be a dentist came from Dr. Tawnya Muse, her dentist since childhood back in Somerset.

"She was wonderful to me," Carly said, remembering her happy trips to the dentist’s office as a little girl. Many children are frightened by doctors and dentists, but Dr. Muse not only won Carly's trust, she found ways to make the visit fun.

"She let me look in my mom's mouth, she let me push the button on the X-ray machine," Carly said.

From a very early age, Carly decided she wanted to be like Dr. Muse when she grew up, and probably would have taken over her practice in Somerset if Muse had not been such a young dentist when Carly was a child.

While her dream of being a dentist has come true, she never dreamed she would be a dentist in East Tennessee. That was where Logan and love entered the picture.

Logan's interest in dentistry started quite a bit later. He was in the Boy Scouts at the time. He was in Troop 231 at the Boys and Girls Club of Johnson City and was in the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts from the ages of 6 to 18. Even after he was no longer a Scout, he volunteered as an assistant scoutmaster while he attended ETSU.

In addition to becoming an Eagle Scout, Logan earned every merit badge that was available at the time he was a Scout, well over a 100. But the one that would have the most impact on his life was the Dental Merit Badge.

Dr. Kevin Lewis, a Johnson City dentist guided the work in achieving the badge, assisted by another Johnson City dentist, Dr. Bo Westmoreland.

"Dr. Lewis spotted my interest in dentistry. He allowed me to shadow him. He solidified what I wanted to do at ETSU," Logan said.

Lucas followed the path blazed by his big brother. He also became an Eagle Scout and went on to graduate from ETSU.

One part of the path Lucas has not yet followed is the one that leads to dental school. Logan's path led to the University of Kentucky. Lucas has begun the process of applying to dental schools.

For Logan, a lot more happened to him during his first year of dental school besides all the studies. He met Carly, who was in her second year. Her encounter with Logan is described on the Appalachian Family Dentistry website: "During her second year of dental school, she met a first-year dental student from Johnson City, Tennessee, and in the midst of exams, practicals and patients, he stole her heart. Now after being married for almost two years, the mountains of East Tennessee have won Carly over and she is happy to finally be calling this place home."

Carly said she is comfortable practicing in Elizabethton, a town about the same size as Somerset. Logan grew up in Johnson City and is more happy with the a bigger town. Carly said Elizabethton's location is nice because it is so convenient to Johnson City.

Several months before graduation, Carly and Logan were searching for a place to start a dental practice but weren't having much luck until they found that Dr. Estill Lee Miller was preparing to retire from his practice.

The made contact and an arrangement was quickly struck that allowed Carly to open her practice in Miller's old office by July 31.

Dr. Miller's patients seem to have adjusted nicely to being treated by a young woman and the change in schedule to allow patients some hours before work and after work have been readily filled.

Appalachian Family Dentistry is open on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday’s hours are now 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday's hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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