When Dr. Eric von Hoven walked into the suite adjoining his dental practice he was expecting to find a leaky pipe, but what he got was a surprise.
The doctor’s oldest friends and colleagues sneaked into a rental property adjacent to the Cedar Creek Dental office, located at 380 Supiger Way, to throw him a surprise party to celebrate his 25th anniversary at the practice.
“I was under the impression I was going to have a meeting with a consultant today. So, needless to say, it is a little more enjoyable than that,” von Hoven said.
Von Hoven, who is originally from Edwardsville, attended dental school at Southern Illinois University. In 1992, von Hoven came to practice in Highland, when Dr. Michael Kapilla hired him to work alongside himself and Dr. Bret Gruender.
“The best thing that happened to this practice was Dr. von Hoven came along,” Kapilla said.
In 2000, Kapilla retired and handed his office over to von Hoven and Gruender, who worked side-by-side together until Gruender retired in 2016, leaving von Hoven as the sole practitioner.
“I couldn’t ask for a better person to be spreading our legacy,” Kapilla said.
Cedar Creek Dental also has had very few staffing changes over the years. Kathy Dumstorff, a longtime Cedar Creek employee, said much of that has to do with the warm work environment and the passion von Hoven has for his work.
“I mean, he said the other day that, ‘I can honestly say I love getting up and coming to work.’ And it shows in the way he treats his patients,” Dumstorff said. “He’s so compassionate, smart. Just the way he treats people and his philosophy, I could go on and on. He is a wonderful guy.”
Dr. von Hoven’s dedication to the practice is not the only thing that makes him an asset to the community, according to Dumstorff, the dentist also makes it a personal mission to be an involved member of the community. Dr. von Hoven participates with the schools to provide dental health demonstrations and supplies protective mouth guards for sports teams. He also gives oral cancer screening at the HSHS St. Joseph’s annual health fair, donates and hands out water bottles at the St. Paul Parish’s Kirchenfest bike race, volunteers with and supports veterans with Honor Flight and donates to local animal shelters. Dumstorff said that von Hoven buys a piece of livestock from a student every year during the 4H Auction at the Madison County Fair and hosts a thank you breakfast every year for more than 165 at the Highland Veterans of Foreign War Post 5694.
“They were awesome bosses and wonderful partners, and we really complimented each other well over the years,” von Hoven said.
But, von Hoven said that it is the hometown atmosphere of Highland that keeps him here, not only saving smiles, but spreading them as well.
“Families tend to stick around. They take care of one another,” von Hoven said. “It is not so much hustle and bustle. It’s pleasant. It’s simpler, and it is very enjoyable.”