When Drs. Ron and Eileen Kirschbaum were planning to retire, they had their hearts set on one candidate to assume their dental practice at 230A Mountain Road.
As Eileen put it, “We love our patients and we wanted someone really awesome to take over.” The candidate had been a patient since she was a child. As she matured and was pondering a profession, it was Eileen and Ron who had suggested dentistry.
Soon the young woman was shadowing the Kirschbaums in the office, later becoming their assistant in the summer. She completed an undergrad biology degree at UConn. When she decided to go to dental school for four more years, it was the Kirschbaums who provided letters of recommendation to UConn’s dental school. She was accepted, studied diligently, earned two prestigious awards – including one in restorative dentistry – and graduated in 2022.
She spent the next year in residency at Danbury Hospital treating patients with complex medical histories, dental traumas and requiring advanced crown and bridge work.
This August, Suffield native Dr. Brenna Frechette, that “awesome” patient-turned-dentist whom the Kirshbaums had mentored for years, purchased their practice. She changed the name to Frechette Family Dentistry and currently employs four hygienists and several assistants.
“This is my dream come true,” said Brenna. “I love adult dentistry because I enjoy performing some of the cosmetic procedures, but kids are so much fun, too. I have a blast with them.”
Eileen’s specialty was pediatric dentistry, while Ron was a generalist who had bonded many broken front teeth. Brenna does both. She, too, enjoys the challenges of bonding. She takes great satisfaction in the technical complexities such as looking at the symmetry of teeth and deciding which materials to use.
Being able to spot possible medical problems during routine exams also attracted Brenna to dentistry. Tongue lesions or gum abnormalities can be precursors to more serious conditions like cancer, so Brenna takes pride in identifying possible issues and recommending patients see their medical doctors.
Both Brenna and Ron are artists in their spare time. The office is adorned with their paintings. They feel artistry and dentistry have a lot in common. Each requires patience and fine motor control, for instance.
After buying the practice, Brenna received support from her family. Her mother fills in at the office. Her father, a CPA, helps with financials and contract writing. A sister who’s a graphic designer created her logo and painted it onto the interior office wall. Her fiancé helps with inventory control and odd jobs.
As for the retired Kirschbaums, Ron is weighing his options. He enjoys hiking, running, painting and photography. Eileen is teaching high school science after receiving an accelerated teaching certificate.
They both lamented how much they’ve missed their staff and patients. They reminisced about starting in a one-room office in 1991 above what is now Scoop Du Jour ice cream shop and working for other dentists as they gradually built their practice.
As they begin their next chapter in life, we wish them well.