When Clinic Administrator Nathan Yoder opened the door to the Gentle Family Dentists building in West Liberty on Jan. 8, over two inches of water greeted him.
Pouring around his feet, he walked inside and discovered all the floors were covered in water. Further in, lighting, televisions and walls had fallen into disrepair. Worst of all, tons of dental equipment, the heart and soul of Gentle Family Dentistry, had been destroyed.
Apparently, due to freezing temperatures the night before, a water pipe in the ceiling broke, pouring water all over the building and causing over $100,000 worth of damage.
"I tried not to overact," said Yoder. "I called the doctors and told them to take a deep breath, but even afterwards they were still surprised."
Dr. Carol Moreno and Dr. Roberto Moreno, a mother and son team that manages the Gentle Family Dentists Practice in West Liberty and Muscatine, arrived later to take in the damage.
The inside of the building was a mess, broken dental equipment and electronics lying around, entire rooms destroyed by the water flow. The pipe had broken in the middle of the building, causing the maximum amount of damage it could due to its location.
The room in which it had broken had collapsed. Due to the devastation all appointments were moved, cancelled or relocated. Then the real work began.
"First we had to hire someone to vacuum out all of the water since it was everywhere," said Yoder. "We had to shut down for two weeks afterwards."
They hired West Liberty and Muscatine personnel to help with repair, including Pine Tree Interior and Todd Hackett Construction. For more than a month they worked to replace flooring and walls, while bringing in new equipment.
Long days went into reestablishing the building, all the while both doctors kept the business going in Muscatine. It didn't help that freezing temperatures were reported nearly every day of January.
A month-and-a-half later, the West Liberty location of Gentle Family Dentists celebrated a complete recovery with an open house on Wednesday, Feb. 19.
Walking inside, it's difficult to tell the business suffered such a watery blow. The floor is brand new, and the rooms where water struck the hardest have been revamped, looking better than ever.
Most importantly, the water pipes have been removed from the ceiling. Should they ever break again, they won't cause nearly as much damage.
"We're still working on it, but it looks better," said Yoder. Standing in one of the few areas that still needs work, he looks relieved to be back in a fully functioning dentistry practice.
As for the dentistry equipment, it's been replaced and is ready for use. West Liberty is with its family dentist once again.
Gentle Dental recovers from devastationJacob Lane · Wednesday, February 19, 2014