May 22, 2012
Creating bright, beautiful smiles is just one of many great things that happen at the Armbruster’s dental practice located at 501 S. Third Avenue. Dr. Jim and Patti Armbruster are also dedicated to creating bright futures for area students. That’s why they chose to join the Northeastern Junior College Foundation’s Club 1941 in support of the Hope Scholarship program. (Courtesy Photo)
By Cindy Johnson
Sterling – Longtime benefactors of Northeastern Junior College and the HOPE Scholarship Program, Dr. Jim and Patti Armbruster will tell you that there is no contest. The Run for the Roses HOPE Gala, held in 2010, was the best fundraising event for the HOPE Scholarship to date – hands down. But then, this Sterling dentist – dental hygienist team hail from the Bluegrass State. They met at the University of Louisville, in the shadow of Churchill Downs, where Jim was in dental school and Patti worked in the Department of Periodontics. After graduation, Jim served as a dentist in the Navy and was stationed in Memphis, Tennessee. He and Patti were married in the spring of 1978 amidst the excitement of the Kentucky Derby.
Within the year, the newlyweds left Memphis to build a future together in Sterling, Colorado. Jim says simply, “I wanted to live in Colorado – and I wanted to practice in a small town.” It was the opportunity to purchase the dental practice of Dr. Joe Carr that brought the two to Sterling. Through this purchase, they entered into a business that now spans nearly ninety years. Their dental practice was first established in the 1920’s by Dr. Jim H. Jackson, who was joined for a short time by Drs. H. D. and O. B. Kellogg, men with surnames of historical significance to northeast Colorado. During this period, it was called the Jackson-Kellogg Dental Clinic. Dr. Carr took over the practice in the early 1970’s.
Of course, dentistry has changed dramatically over the past ninety years. During the 34 years Jim and Patti have been in practice, they have seen major advances in automation, computerization, technique and pharmaceuticals that ensure both a safe and comfortable experience for patients. The Armbrusters pride themselves on offering all eighteen disciplines of dentistry to the residents of northeast Colorado including orthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery and sedation dentistry. “Jim really enjoys learning new things”, says Patti. “He is constantly looking for ways to improve the services that we offer our patients.” In fact, theirs is the only general dental practice in the six-county area of northeast Colorado to offer both oral and IV sedation.
Another significant part of the Armbruster dental practice is implant dentistry. The passion that Jim and Patti have for their work is obvious as they demonstrate the potential applications for this technology using small educational models of the human mouth. Implants are held in place by posts fastened directly into bone. These posts vary in diameter depending upon the patient. Because bones recede as we age, “mini” posts are now available for older patients. Implants can replace individual teeth or an entire upper and/or lower plate. When replacing several adjacent teeth, implants are fashioned like dentures that snap on and off the posts for cleaning. Because they are secured to bone, implants function like natural teeth without the issue of slippage.
Over the years, the Armbruster family has developed a close connection to Northeastern Junior College. Patti began taking classes at NJC in 1991 when her children were in grade school and went on to complete her B.S. in Dental Hygiene from the University of Colorado in 1997. She speaks enthusiastically of the tremendous opportunity that NJC represents for non-traditional students. “The ability to work and go to school at NJC was such a gift for us” she adds, “and the transition from NJC to a four-year university was seamless.”
Both of the Armbruster children continued the NJC tradition. Daughter, Mya, graduated from NJC in 2000 and the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy in 2005. Son, Matthew, is currently a student in the Wind Technology Program at NJC. “He absolutely loves the program and enjoys learning all aspects of this technology”, says Patti.
The Armbrusters have joined Club 1941, this year’s fundraiser held by the NJC Foundation to benefit the HOPE Scholarship program. They view support of the HOPE as a way to give back to their community and ensure that others can take advantage of the educational opportunity that NJC offers, just as their family has done.
As former urbanites accustomed to the lush green surroundings of Kentucky, Jim and Patti are unlikely converts to the high plains of northeast Colorado. Yet, converts they are. “We love Sterling.” says Jim, “It is a great place to live and raise a family.”