Grass Valley dental practice keeps spirit |

Grass Valley dental practice keeps spirit

Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

From an early age, going to the dentist’s office was a routine occurrence for Michelle Kucera. In fact, her first afterschool job at 14 was cleaning the dental office where her mother worked as an assistant.

“Then one day I had a revelation,” she said. “I said to myself, ‘I could be the dentist!’”

She was right.

Kucera went on to get her dental degree at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Dental Medicine in Ohio.

In August 2012, Kucera bought the dental practice of longtime Grass Valley dentist Terry Horlick, who still works several days a month.

“The transition was very nice — Dr. Kucera spent a year and a half working part time with Dr. Horlick, who is very well-known in the community. She got to know staff and patients and gradually assumed more and more of the workload at the office,” said office receptionist Marge Shasberger, who has worked at the office for the past six years. “As a board-certified pediatric dentist — like Dr. Horlick — Dr. Kucera brings the high standard of care and concern for every individual that the office has always afforded patients. She also brings new ideas on public exposure, such as our new logo, name and comprehensive web presence.”

The name, Caring Tree Children’s Dentistry, springs from a much-loved, longtime tree sculpture that dominates a portion of the waiting room. Working with children is especially rewarding, said Kucera, who went back to school to get her pediatric dentistry certification after her residency in Fresno.

“During my residency, I worked in a community hospital, primarily with the families of migrant farm laborers,” she said. “I found I really enjoyed working with children.”

During her time in Fresno, Kucera met her husband, Bill Boyce, and the two moved to Germany, where Kucera worked under contract as a pediatric dentist on two military bases. After returning to the states, she worked at a community hospital in Sacramento and at the Miner’s Family Health Center in Grass Valley prior to joining Horlick. Her husband works as a Placer County public defender and the two are expecting a baby in October.

“I really want to carry forward Dr. Horlick’s good-hearted philosophy,” said Kucera. “And I also want to reach out to parents, to help their kids start down the path of good dental habits. It’s rewarding to see a kid leave my office happy and pleased — to discover that dentists aren’t that bad after all.”

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at or call her at 530-477-4203.

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