10 Under 10: Former hygienist returns to her rural roots to practice as dentist
Practicing in a rural setting means being able to pinpoint exactly where your professional peers are in relation to your location.
“The dentist in the county just north of me just retired,” Dr. Bosch said. “He was the only one there. There’s only one dentist in the county that is to the east of me, and he’s about to retire. He only works a couple of days a week right now. This last January, the one dentist that was in the county to the south of me retired.”
That paucity is one of the reasons Dr. Bosch decided she wanted to practice in a rural setting when she decided to make the leap from dental hygienist to dentist. Her successful trajectory has led to the distinction of being a 2022 ADA 10 Under 10 Awards recipient.
Growing up in of Hannibal, Missouri — famous for being the birthplace of writer Mark Twain — she used to play violin on the street while in costume for events commemorating the revered author. It was a quaint and impactful upbringing. After high school, Dr. Bosch left her hometown with the aim of becoming a dental hygienist. Rather than enter a 2-year associate degree program that’s more typically the path to the career, she headed to Milwaukee to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Marquette University.
She may not have known it then, but by beginning her career in dental hygiene, Dr. Bosch was building a specific frame of reference and affinity for someday working with her own assistants and hygienists.
“I have a really great relationship with dental hygienists everywhere I go because of that,” she said. “It’s been very beneficial to relationships because of my experience.”
Her mother was also a dental hygienist and, as a teen, Dr. Bosch eventually worked in assistant capacities at dental offices with her. That early exposure enticed Dr. Bosch to pursue the career. She sought a more extensive hygienist program based on the frame of reference she built through her experiences with the profession.
“I knew because of my experience with my mom that I wanted to have my bachelor’s,” she said. “I kind of thought maybe someday I might want to go to dental school; but, while I was in school, I loved dental hygiene so much that I decided to just do that for a while and kind of see how it went. So, I’m really glad that I did. I didn’t have to take as many classes once I finished because I got my bachelor’s, and it just gave me overall, in my opinion, a more well-rounded education.”
She ultimately would return to her rural home base, though she didn’t know this for certain at first. The stint with city living was good for her personal growth.
“Milwaukee is not gigantic by any means, but it was the biggest city that I had ever lived in before,” Dr. Bosch said. “Being the oldest of six kids, I was really excited to not have to take care of kids anymore and be out on my own.
“I ended up staying in Milwaukee almost five years. Once I decided to go to dental school, I knew I wanted to practice in Missouri.”
She also knew she wanted to return home for her dental education. From 2015 to 2019, Dr. Bosch earned both a Doctorate of Medical Dentistry and a Master of Public Health from A.T. Still University – Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health.
After completing her education, Dr. Bosch went to work in June 2019 for a practice in Edina that she ultimately would purchase about a year later. That practice had been saved by another in nearby Kirksville, which allowed Dr. Bosch to ultimately purchase it from them.
“The dentist here was getting older and very quickly wasn’t able to practice because of illness,” she said. “He reached out to them. They purchased it as a satellite office and with the plan to get a dental student or someone to purchase it and separate that from them. They kind of were just doing it as an investment so that it didn’t close. This community was very blessed that that happened because once dental offices close it’s very difficult to get them back off the ground again. The whole thing just worked out really well for me.”
Aside from her private practice, where she provides restorative, pediatric, endodontic, oral surgery, and prosthodontic care, Dr. Bosch works diligently to promote water fluoridation in rural Missouri communities. She serves on a workgroup of the Clarence Cannon Wholesale Water Commission (CCWWC) Community Water Fluoridation (CWF), where she addresses the impact of fluoridation on the health of rural communities.
Additionally, she serves as the secretary on the University of Missouri Extension Council and president of the Knox County Chamber of Commerce. She is the new dentist board member and the Northeast Missouri new dentist representative at the Missouri Dental Association.
The pastoral life has been a good fit for Dr. Bosch professionally as well as personally.
“I have two kids,” she said. “I’ve been married since 2004, and we kind of always dreamed of being in a small town, having some property and spending as much time outside as we could.”
She and her family live in Knox City, Missouri, and unwind by spending time in the small orchard – bearing peaches, cherries and apples – on their property and with their pet ponies, Dallas and Sophia.
“I like learning about that,” she said of the orchard. “I haven’t mastered it. I probably never will master it. I think it’s kind of like farming. You just do the best you can and hope the weather cooperates.”