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Orthodontist brings fun to braces

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Sierk Orthodontic Christopher stands outside his new location in downtown Tigard.After more than 30 years, the small orthodontist’s office on Hall Boulevard is moving on up.

Earlier this year, Sierk Orthodontics took over the long vacant bank building at 12000 S.W. Main St. and owner Chris Sierk couldn't be happier.

“We got by for the longest time in that older space,” Sierk said. “It was nice and neat but didn’t have all the bells and whistles like this.”

Sierk spent months transforming the empty building into a fully functioning dentists office, with a special surprise for his patients: A game room the likes of which he hasn’t seen since he was a boy.

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Ian Brennan, 10, and Megan Macaulay, 8, pass time by  playing video games in the game room at Seirk Orthodontics before getting their braces checked on.“We are sitting what was the drive-through breezeway,” said Sierk, next to a large stand-up Atari gaming system.

With classic video games like Pac Man and Galaga lining the walls, and TVs with movies for the younger kids, Sierk’s game room has become a big hit with his patients, most of whom aren’t old enough to hold a driver’s license.

“It’s now the cool office,” Sierk said.

Sierk runs two orthodontic clinics in Tigard and West Linn, where he lives, splitting his time between the two cities.

Sierk opened the new office in January, and said that the response from the community has been great.

“There are so many patients in Tigard that rely on us,” Sierk said. “A lot of people know of us because of things we do for the community, but now people can drive by and can say, ‘Oh, that’s where they are.’”

Sierk isn’t your typical orthodontist.

He runs a free shuttle service to pick up pateints from school to make their appointments, and each year gives out a few hundred free mouth guards to youth football teams in Tigard and West Linn.

“It helps keep us connected to the community,” Sierk said.

Sierk comes from a long line of orthodontists --- his father and both his brothers are dentists --- said he can’t imagine doing anything else.

“A dentists can do the world’s best crown on your moral, but you’ll never see it,” Sierk said. “You just take their word for it. Here, we see every day what we are doing for kids and that’s rewarding.”

Most of Sierk’s patients are in middle school, and Sierk said he gets to know each of them.

“You hear their stories, and learn what they are doing. You learn about their lives,” Sierk said. “They are at such a transitional age. When they come in for the first time they hardly speak to you, but by the time they are done they are so thrilled about their smile and their teeth. It’s a very visible difference.”

He said that he hopes revitalizing the old bank building will encourage others.

“The building was vacant and people were just passing though, there was trash,” Sierk said. “Hopefully, this will spur others to do the same thing.”

The orthodontic clinic on Hall Boulevard has stood since 1978. Sierk took over the practice in 2000, and said he had planned to stay there forever, until the opportunity presented itself.

Sierk said he plans to add up to 14 classic arcade games in the chidlren’s play room.

“This practice is 36 years old now, and there are many more years to go with this new office,” Sierk said.

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