Community profile: Dr. Brynne Gordon returns to her roots |

Community profile: Dr. Brynne Gordon returns to her roots

Glenwood native takes over practice of longtime dentist Dr. Setterberg

Dr. Brynne Gordon, DDS, and retired Dr. James Setterberg at the dental office in Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

As a Glenwood Springs native, Brynne Gordon didn’t think twice about jumping at the opportunity to return to her roots after spending many years in Chicago once graduating from dental school.

“We knew we couldn’t turn it down. Even though it meant selling the practice we knew and loved, what I call my first baby, it was a little bit bittersweet to walk away from that but we knew the opportunity was just too good and we can not believe how lucky we are to be back here,” Gordon said.

After 38 years, well known Glenwood Springs dentist Dr. James Setterberg is passing the reins to the girl he once wrote a letter of recommendation for when she was in the process of entering dental school.

“Any applicant coming from a dental family being a mom or dad or both, they know the ups and downs of the business,” Setterberg said. “She worked in her dad’s office, she saw Dr. Rob Anderson (her father) get someone out of pain or restore their smile or whatever it might be and she said ‘That’s what I want to do.’ When individuals share that kind of thing with you, you know that they are sincere with wanting to help people.”

Changing perceptions

Most people, young and old, have a fear of the dentist. After Gordon spent time working with root canal specialist Roger Brown while on summer breaks she realized she wanted to be someone that changed that negative perception.

Dr. Brynne Gordon, DDS, speaks with a patient at the dental office in Glenwood.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

“I think everybody has that little bit of fear or trepidation about the dentist, especially a root canal specialist, and he had a way to make the patient who would come in so nervous and scared and by the time they left they were so happy and relieved. They were comfortable and I was so inspired to see that he could change people’s minds about what going to the dentist is really like,” she said.

Gordon has had a glimpse into the dental world since a young age after her father, Dr. Rob Anderson, opened a dental practice in Glenwood Springs in 1976.

“My dad taught me a lot about dentistry both technically and how to run a business,” Gordon said. “But more importantly he has been a great example of how to treat people with empathy and respect… I’m proud of him and thankful to have him as a mentor.”

Own business

After finishing a residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago it only took a few years for Gordon to realize she wanted to open her own practice which she went on to do completely from scratch.

“I really just wanted to do things my own way. When you work in other offices you can see what you like and what you don’t like and how you could do things differently. I finally got enough confidence and enough ideas about how I wanted to run things that I was able to start my own practice,” Gordon said.

So, that’s what she did. She opened and owned In the Loop Dental for 10 years in a Chicago high-rise.

Dr. Brynne Gordon, DDS, inspects a dental implant model at her office in Glenwood.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

“It was definitely an adventure. I had literally zero patients and one staff member… We just went for it. It was actually really gratifying to see year by year how much we could grow and how quickly we could hire other staff members and when I left we had a really great, thriving practice that I was super proud of,” she said.

She credits the success of her business to the simple fact that she believes in treating her patients the way she would want to be treated. Most of her business growth was through internal referrals. In the end she had more than 2,000 patients and eight staff members.

New opportunity

After spending so much time developing a niche and creating a thriving business, Gordon had every intention of keeping her family in Chicago.

“When I was thinking about avenues to come back to the valley I just didn’t think there were any,” she said. “I didn’t want to do a start up again and I didn’t really know what other opportunities there were and so that’s why we went ahead and made our lives in Chicago.”

That was until Dr. Setterberg called with the opportunity of a lifetime.

“He called me and said he was thinking about retiring and he wondered if I would be interested in buying his practice, “ Gordon said.

The idea of Gordon taking over Setterberg’s practice came up a few years ago when Gordon mentioned she would be honored to take over, had the opportunity ever presented itself in the future.

Setterberg asked Gordon what her thoughts and philosophies were when it came to her patients.

“You very much need to leave patients with someone who has the same style, the same care as you do,” Setterberg said. “And she went on to tell me that she just wanted to treat patients as though she was sitting there herself or if they were a family member. We are absolutely almost verbatim on that and that is so special. Having that sort of care philosophy for our patients was so important in the transition for me knowing that I’m leaving my patients in great care with a wonderful individual.”

Setterberg officially retired on Jan.15, and Gordon took over the practice three days later.

“I want to take what Dr. Setterberg has built, he owned his practice for 38 years and it was his first baby too… I want to do everything I can to honor his legacy and also just build something that we can be really proud of in the next 20 years,” Gordon said.

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