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Meet Dr. Len Gerken, Your Trusted Family Dentist

Welcome to Oro Valley Smiles! I have been asked many times, “why would anyone want to be a dentist?”  Actually, my initial interest in the Dental profession began while in Middle School, despite not having had anyone in my family, in the profession.  I was attracted to both the autonomy and independence the profession offers, as well as the opportunity to help make something perceived to be so unpleasant, a positive experience!  38 years later with 27 years of clinical dentistry behind me, I still get great joy helping people get the treatment they deserve in an empowering and more pleasant manner than they would have ever perceived and/or feared!  

The Practice of Dentistry has evolved into a more patient-centric profession, which happens to be my core practice value.  My first question to every new patient is simply, “how can I help you?”   This drives the entire experience in our office and our approach to help individualize care for this patient, at this time, in the manner in which the patient seeks.  There is simply not “only one way” or one option to get “there.”  Education and clear mutually respectful communication has become the foundation of successful “win-win” outcomes in our office.

My education began with undergraduate work at Oregon State University, and a subsequent four years of Dental School in Portland.  I graduated in June of 1992, and started my career in the US Navy as a Dental Officer.  Following my four-year service obligation, I purchased a Dental Practice in Corvallis, Oregon.  Thirteen+ years later, I sold my burgeoning practice and had the opportunity to take a year sabbatical as well as some personal time away; it was wonderful!  After 2 years back home in Southern Oregon as an employee dentist, we looked for a sunnier and warmer place to be.  While exploring a number of opportunities, I fell in love with Southern Arizona and Oro Valley.  Since early 2012, I have worked in a number of clinical settings here in the greater Tucson area before settling down in October of 2015, when my wife and I purchased Oro Valley Smiles.

My primary professional focus is on friendly, comprehensive “big picture” dentistry for the whole family.  I have over 27 years of experience performing a broad range of services, with a primary focus on the area of "Minimally Invasive Dentistry.”  This is a philosophy that espouses the concept that original tissue is of more value than anything artificial, and the best thing you can have in your mouth, is YOUR teeth.  We use only the best materials and time-tested and proven approaches to help our patients achieve and maintain optimal dental health and comfort.  At Oro Valley Smiles, “It’s all about you!”

Dr. Gerken and familyMy greatest blessing is my family.  I met Robin, my wife of 26+ years, while in Dental School, and she has continuously supported me personally and professionally.  We have three sons: Cole, Parker, & Brady; each an individual, and who are in high school and/or college.  I have also been fortunate to be surrounded by a wonderful staff that shares the commitment to go above and beyond for our patients with our patient-centric focus. I look forward to the opportunity to provide for your care and building a mutually beneficial long-term professional relationship, supported with predictable outcomes in our friendly and comfortable office.

Yours in Dental Health and Wellness,
Dr. Len Gerken

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The best dental office. Extremely professional and yet very personal, targeted care. They always make me feel so welcome and stress my dental health is of the utmost importance. Dr. Gerken may be the best dentist in southern Arizona. I recommend him to anyone who has fears or qualms about seeing the dentist. You will be absolutely amazed.

-Alexis C.