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‘We always talk teeth’

For the Rasmussens, dentistry runs deep in the family

October 15, 2018

By Matt Carey

Rasmussen family portrait at Marc and Mona's wedding

Happy family: The Rasmussen family at the Sept. 2 wedding of their son, Marc and daughter-in-law, Mona. From left, are Drs. Russell Walther, Kirstin Rasmussen Walther, Richard Rasmussen III, Sarina Bhole, Mona Khalaj, Marc Rasmussen, Angela Rasmussen, Richard Rasmussen Jr., Rocio Barocio Rasmussen, Matthew Rasmussen.

Tampa, Fla. — For the Rasmussens, dentistry is a way of life, not just for themselves but for the whole family; Drs. Angela and Richard Rasmussen have four children who are dentists and each of them married dentists.

The list of doctors: Richard and Angela, 63; the oldest son Rick, 34; his wife, Sarina, 31; twin brothers Marc and Matt, 31; Marc’s wife, Mona, 31; Matt’s wife, Rocio, 29; daughter Kirstin Walther, 29; and her husband, Richard Walther, 32.

While studying for a degree in chemistry from Niagara University in Niagara Falls, New York, Angela initially considered becoming a physician or a psychiatrist. One day, she happened to be paired off with a student who was interested in dentistry and showed her the ropes. Another factor in her choosing dental school was her desire to have a family and how being hospital-based would make that more difficult.

Angela went to dental school at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where she met her husband, Richard, after they were put together as lab partners.

Not all of the kids initially wanted to be dentists. Rick was interested in sports medicine and Kirstin wanted to be a veterinarian. But their passion for dentistry developed over time. According to Angela, this came from the kids being around their parents.

“They always shadowed in the office and saw our love and our passion for it,” said Angela. “The relationships we built with our patients kept them engaged.”

The family does not all work together now, though Richard, Rick and Matt work in a practice across three offices in Tampa and Clearwater, Florida. Angela has a cosmetic dentistry practice in Tampa. Kirstin is a general dentist in Tallahassee, Florida. Marc works at a practice in Mount Airy, North Carolina, as a general dentist.

Overall, Angela says having a family with so many dentists has been a positive experience.

“It keeps things fresh for us and the kids appreciate the experience because they come into established practices and that speeds up their education.”

As you can imagine, the Rasmussens have to be cognizant that family gatherings are not completely absorbed by discussions about dentistry.

“We put a time limit on it because we always talk teeth. After 15 to 20 minutes, we play a board game or put on a movie,” she said.

To answer the obvious question, they do not have any grandchildren yet.