VIRGINIA – “It seemed like a good fit and a great opportunity,” Dr. Clarissa Sparkman said of her decision to move to the Iron Range and open Plum Tree Dental. “It is meaningful for me to practice dentistry in a place that truly needs dentists.” Dr. Sparkman’s new practice, which opened Aug. 20, is located at 202 S. 5th Ave. in Virginia.
“When Dr. Patty Stone’s practice became available for sale, it seemed like a good opportunity to satisfy my interests in both dentistry and small business management,” she said. “Plus, it’s fun to put your own spin on things. There is something very gratifying about calling a place your own and really tending to it.”
According to Dr. Sparkman, there were additional benefits to moving to the Iron Range “My husband Graham and I both enjoy the outdoors,” she said. “We also enjoy that the Iron Range has its own unique culture.”
Dr. Sparkman and her husband Graham have four children: Medora (10), Kazmire (6), Ambrose (3) and Iona (almost 1).
Dr. Sparkman said she is often asked about the unusual “Plum Tree Dental” name. “My Polish maiden name was Sliwoski, which translates to plum,” she explained. “Like many Rangers, I am proud of the hard work ethic and trailblazing spirit of my ancestors. I wanted to pay homage to them with our name. Their example and encouragement provided a rich soil for me to plant this business.”
Plum Tree Dental’s mission is to offer comprehensive, quality family dentistry in a gentle manner and personal environment. “I love that we get to see whole families and all ages,” Dr. Sparkman said. “There is something to enjoy about each stage of life. Being a mom myself, I especially enjoy when the kiddos come in. My goal is to offer excellent, tailored and unhurried care to patients of all ages.”
Plum Tree Dental employs two dental hygienists, two dental assistants and a front office manager. “I really am fortunate to be working with a great staff,” Dr. Sparkman said. “We have a couple fresh faces to dentistry and some staff with many years of experience, so it’s a great mix. Our hygienists provide the cleanings, and I provide most all the other services with help from my assistants.”
Among the services offered at Plum Tree Dental are dental exams, cleanings, fillings, partials and dentures, implants, crowns, bridges, extractions, root canals and cosmetic dentistry. “I really enjoy that I get to do all the dentistry myself,” Dr. Sparkman said. “If you come to Plum Tree Dental, you will see a hygienist for your cleaning and myself, the doctor, for your dental work. That’s it.”
Dr. Sparkman, who has been practicing dentistry since 2012, was born in Duluth and grew up in Moorhead, MN. She graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in nutrition. During that undergraduate time period, Dr. Sparkman was involved in ministry outreach, where she met her husband of now 17 years. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. “Graham is originally from the coal mining hills of East Kentucky,” Dr. Sparkman explained. “I attended dental school in Kentucky, so we could spend time with his family.”
When asked about her DMD dental license, Dr. Sparkman explained that there really isn’t any difference between DMD and the DDS license many dentists have. According to the American Dental Association, the two degrees are equivalent. “Dentists with either degree have graduated from an accredited dental school and are highly trained professionals in their field,” she added.
“I am really blessed and thankful for the chance to open Plum Tree Dental,” Dr. Sparkman said of her new practice. “I hope it’s a business that lives a long life and one day its legacy will be that it was place people were compassionately cared for.”
As Dr. Sparkman is fond of saying, “We want to give Rangers something to smile about.”
Plum Tree Dental is open Mondays – Thursdays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call 218-749-1776 or visit www.plumtreedentaldmd.com.