‘The years go by very quick’: Prince Albert dentist retires after nearly 40 years in practice

Prince Albert dentist Dr. Jerry Janzen (left) shares a laugh with a guest during a come-and-go retirement celebration on Friday at Legacy Dental. Janzen is retiring after nearly 40 years in the field. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Dr. Jerry Janzen didn’t plan on staying in Prince Albert his entire career, but after nearly 40 years in the community he’s glad he did.

Janzen, the co-owner of Legacy Dental, announced his retirement in February. On Friday afternoon, friends, family, colleagues and patients gathered at Legacy Dental to wish him well at a retirement celebration.

He said it’s incredible how quickly the time went.

“The days are sometimes long, but the years go by very quickly,” he said during an interview. “(There were) lots of changes: technological advances, time management issues, computers, milling machines, yada, yada, lots of technological stuff, greater diagnosis, and what we’re seeing is people are entering their 60s, 70s, and 80s a lot healthier as a result of it.”

Janzen was born in Prince Albert after his father, Dr. George Janzen, started a dental practice in 1953. When he left for university, Janzen didn’t originally intend on following in his father’s footsteps. That soon changed, and in 1985 he joined his father’s dental practice back in Prince Albert after graduation.

“It was a short-term decision to come to PA,” Janzen remembered. “I said, ‘I’ll be here for five years and I’ll see what happens and here we are 40 years later (and) we’re still here.”

Janzen said he’s been blessed to have staff and patients stay with Legacy Dental for extended periods of time. He’s currently one of four dentists practicing out of facility, including co-owner Dr. Markus Wilson.

Wilson joined Legacy in 2018 after graduating from dental school, and said Janzen was an excellent mentor and role model.

“Coming out of school, you think you know everything,” Wilson said with a chuckle. “Once you get in the real world and you start working with an excellent teacher and leader, things change quite quickly.

“What I really appreciate working with him is just he’s very patient and he’s really into just excelling (at) dentistry. It’s been an excellent journey.”

Janzen has seen plenty of positive changes in dental care over the past 40 years. He said it’s encouraging to see more recognition about the role dental care plays in overall health. The result is more and more residents who are entering their senior years with better cardiovascular and respiratory health.

“It’s one big system,” he said. “I think we used to look at it initially and say, ‘fix my tooth, it doesn’t matter that much.’”

Janzen said he hasn’t decided what to do in retirement yet. He plans to put some of the professional skills he learned to good use in the community, but in a less structured environment.

As for Legacy Dental, Wilson plans to keep the practice running with current associates Dr. Jenna Gogolinski and Dr. Walter Yim.

“We really hope to keep delivering the excellent quality of care that Dr. Janzen had delivered all these years … and just continue to help the citizens of Prince Albert increase their oral health,” Wilson said.