By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
For 35 years now, anyone with tooth pain has been fortunate to find quality care right here in Moapa Valley, whether it be during the business day or after hours. Dr. Lance Robertson is celebrating thirty-five years of providing dental care at his local Overton office.
Although Robertson’s office is currently in a small medical complex on Moapa Valley Boulevard and Ramos Ranch Road, it wasn’t always that way.
Robertson was born and raised right here in Overton. His father, Wayne “Doc” Robertson worked at Moapa Valley High School for 41 years, teaching math and various sciences before making the jump to counseling. Robertson himself graduated from MVHS in 1972 and knew he wanted to do something that would make a difference in his hometown.
Robertson left the valley after high school to pursue an education. He had decided his senior year in high school that he wanted to be a doctor or at least work in the medical field, but he also knew he wanted to stay in a small town. After a little research, he realized that, as a doctor with a small town practice, he would constantly be on call with no time to call his own.
From there, it wasn’t hard for him to make the jump to dentistry. He realized that while still being able to serve his community and work in the medical field, he would have greater flexibility over his schedule and more time to spend with his family.
With those goals in mind, he studied chemistry at BYU. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he moved to San Francisco where he attended the Pacific Dental School, graduating in 1982.
Robertson enjoyed his time at dental school and felt he got a good education there. “I’d put the Pacific Dental School in the top 5 clinical schools in the nation because they really teach you how to be a good doctor,” Robertson said.
During this time he also married his high school sweetheart Connie. They are the parents of 4 kids and have 9 grandkids.
After graduating, Robertson returned straight back to Moapa Valley. He started his practice on October 25, 1982.
He began his office in Overton in a 12X60 foot trailer. It was located in the spot where the Moapa Valley Library now stands. He had worked out a deal with the county to park the trailer in that spot.
But when the library was built, Robertson had to move. So he packed up and pulled his trailer to a new spot: the place where his current office now stands.
He remembers fondly the days spent in the trailer, which he shared with local optomotrist Randall Jensen. “We had a couple of privacy panels that we used,” Robertson said. “Randy would come in when I wasn’t there and take the panels down and flip the dental chair around and it was perfect for his distance eye exams.”
Robertson laughed as he remembered that on the days that Randy used the trailer, he had to bring his own equipment. He would pull up with a whole van full of stuff that he had to move in and out for the two days a week he brought his practice to Moapa Valley from Las Vegas.
After fourteen years in that trailer, Robertson eventually outgrew it. He decided he needed something a little bigger and more permanent. So in 1996; together with Jensen and new area chiropractor Bret Staley; Robertson decided to build a medical office complex on the piece of undeveloped land right his trailer was parked.
“I found the right business partners in Bret Staley and Randy Jensen,” Robertson said. “Together we built the new building where we’ve been ever since. It’s been great to be close business partners with them and even closer friends.”
Robertson moved into the new building in August of 1996. Jensen and Staley moved in just after that in September. The trusty trailer that had served them so well and so long was donated to the Senior Center, who continued using it for years after that for their thrift store.
In his 35 years, Robertson has made many memories and had several laughs. One of his favorite memories happened several years ago. It was an ironic situation when a young man misjudged a ball and knocked out a tooth. Robertson went in after hours and worked really hard to save and re-implant the tooth. Everything worked out great until a few years later when the boy took an elbow to the same tooth during a basketball game and ended up knocking that same tooth out – this time for good.
Robertson laughed and said, “There was no saving it the second time. It just must not have been meant to be there.”
Another fond memory was made when Robertson had a young girl in his chair. She was about ten and he had a filling to do. He had given her the numbing shot and she was sitting there just as good as gold. He said his hygienist turned on the high-speed suction tip to help during the procedure and the girl turned to Robertson and asked in all seriousness, “Is she going to suck my brains out?” Robertson said she was so serious that they couldn’t even laugh in front of her.
Robertson said it has been a joy serving in Moapa Valley all these years and he looks forward to continuing on. “It has really lived up to what I had hoped a small-town practice would be,” he said. “My whole idea in staying rural was so that I would not only know my patients, but know their families and children as well. Those relationships are important to me and it has been very rewarding. I love what I do and I plan on continuing to do it.”
Robertson’s practice is located at 1170 N Moapa Valley Blvd, Suite A. The office is open Monday and Tuesday from 8-5 and Wednesday from 8-6. Thursdays are by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling 702-397-8844.