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Face to Face with Dr. Brandon Johnson

Dr. Brandon Johnson, owner of Meridian Dental, spent 15 months in the Iraqi desert. He lived in a warehouse with the other members of the U.S. Army medical support company for the third brigade combat team. The thing he missed the most during his tour – family.”I love to ski … but I didn’t really think too much about that. The main thing was I just missed my family,” he said.Johnson has four children ranging from 2 to 9 years old. His youngest son was 9 months old when he left.As a dental student, Johnson received an Army scholarship and was stationed at Fort Carson when he graduated and deployed to Iraq in November 2007. During his deployment, Johnson said he treated soldiers and occasionally Iraqi prisoners.”Every once in a while, they’d load us up in a convoy and take us to outposts in the countryside,” he said. “We’d set up field equipment and treat the soldiers that were stationed outside the main base.”He said the armored vehicles helped him feel secure while traveling, but he preferred staying close to base.As part of the Army’s outreach, Johnson said he and the other medical professionals worked with Iraqi doctors. He consulted with Iraqi dentists and provided an assessment of their clinic.”It was actually a pretty nice clinic,” Johnson said. “They had nice equipment that had been donated by the U.S. We assessed their setup and the materials they were using. Our goal was to get them up and running so they didn’t have to rely on donations and could be self-sufficient.”Johnson said his biggest concern when consulting with the local practitioners was the need for better infection control. “Sterilization techniques were not as important to the dentists, and cross-contamination was not a real big concern for them,” he said.Now that he is home and nearing the end of his active duty service, Johnson said he is focusing on his Falcon-based practice, Meridian Dental.Both he and his wife are Idaho natives, but they fell in love with Colorado while stationed at Fort Carson. “We liked it so much we decided to make it work, to stay here,” Johnson said.With the help of his associates, Dr. Britny Massey and Dr. Kraig Kenny, Johnson’s practice opened last year while he was deployed. The office is open several days a week, with some evening hours and Saturday appointments available.”So many people here work in town (Colorado Springs); our busiest times are the evenings and Saturdays,” he said.Falcon has been a good area to open a new practice, Johnson added. He chose the location based on the growth potential and enjoys the small-town atmosphere.”The people are pretty nice out here,” Johnson said. “It’s more fun to come to work when you have a relationship with your patients. It’s the most rewarding thing so far.”Johnson said he didn’t always want to be a dentist. During much of his undergraduate work, he planned to be an architect.”For most of my college career I was doing art and drawing and drafting,” he said. “I was actually starting to draft for a builder and I realized it meant a lot of time spent at the computer.”He decided that wasn’t the career path he wanted to follow. While searching for alternatives, he said he started to think about his dad’s career.Johnson’s father is a dentist, and when he evaluated his father’s lifestyle, he found it appealing and liked the idea of working with his hands. Since Johnson graduated, he said two of his seven siblings have also pursued dentistry and orthodontics.Johnson and his wife are trying to convince his family to come to Colorado and set up shop. “We’d love to have them out here, but we’re trying to convince everyone not to do dentistry so we have some other professional services.”More about Dr. JohnsonWhat are your hobbies?I like to bike – road cycling and mountain biking. I love the mountains and skiing.What is your favorite book?I like “Clear & Present Danger.” It’s a really good book.Do you do anything with architecture anymore?Not really. I like it, but the most I do is some remodeling of our house.Are you working on any projects right now?No, I’ve been pretty busy getting the practice going. But my wife has a list of things she’d like me to get going on.

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