Dr. Dawn Anderson all smiles over Colfax dentistry

By: Gloria Beverage
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At age 36, Dawn Anderson is living her dream. Raised in Amador County, Anderson first dreamed of a career as a dentist while in high school. Through the Regional Occupational Program, which gives students an opportunity to earn credits while working in a business, Anderson spent weekday afternoons at a dental office. At the urging of the dentist, she began to seriously consider dentistry as a career. “I had always enjoyed my experience at the dentist,” she said. “I had had great childhood dentists. Still I had never thought I would (become a dentist). It was so beyond what I thought I could accomplish.” Not only that, she knew her parents would be unable to help her with college expenses. So, she took matters into her own hands. At 18, she moved to the Bay Area where she got a full-time job as a dental assistant/office manager and started taking night classes. Initially she took science classes, then moved into the pre-med program. “I enjoyed them,” she said. “The more I learned the more I realized what I didn’t know. And the more I realized what I needed to learn.” She admits it was a grueling schedule – working days and attending classes at night – but she gained a solid understanding and love for the field from her boss, who offered plenty of opportunities for hands-on experience and training. After earning a BS degree in microbiology and chemistry from San Francisco State University, Anderson completed her studies at the UCSF Dental School in 2006. Shortly afterward, Anderson, her husband, Ian, and their first daughter, moved to Colorado. Outdoor sports enthusiasts, the couple wanted to live close to the mountains so they could go hiking, mountain biking and camping. “We wanted to be close to recreation (areas),” she said. “But, we didn’t care for the weather. We loved the snow, but it was too hot.” After two years, they returned to the foothills, settling in Plymouth where Anderson joined a dental practice. Earlier this spring, when she heard that longtime Colfax dentist Dr. John Demorest wanted to retire, she approached him about taking over the practice on Grass Valley Street. In announcing his retirement, Dr. Demorest wrote to his patients, “I needed someone who has the ability to connect at a personal level and also has the highest standards of competence to practice the best dental care. The person I ultimately found is Dr. Dawn Anderson.” And to prove his faith in Anderson, he added that “she will certainly be my dentist – caring for me and all of my extended family.” Anderson believes she has found her dream practice. “It was just everything I ever wanted,” she said. “I wanted (an office) in a little house that’s homey and inviting. And I’d like to follow in Dr. Demorest’s footsteps.” She admires that Demorest, who is an avid runner, had balanced a successful practice with time for his family, community service and, of course, outdoors activities. As a youth, Anderson was very active in Girl Scouts, 4-H, FFA and “any other club I could get involved with. The awards I received for my volunteering meant a lot to me.” Now, she’s reached a point in life where she is able to pay it forward by getting involved in the community. “I just want people to know I’m here,” she said. ”I enjoy working on kids. Being a mom, I want them to have a good dental experience. Anderson and her husband, a software engineer, share their Meadow Vista home with their two daughters: Claire, 4; and Ella, 2. For more information about Anderson, visit