By Dawne Belloise
As the decade-long owner of her dental practice, Integrative Dentistry, Roxanne Siegrist’s life is consumed by her patients, her business, her continuing education and her family…but she wouldn’t have it any other way. “To me, as a working mom, I feel like parenting and owning a business is synergistic, meaning, the skills and the wisdom that I get from running a business are something I can impart to my children but also helping to treat my children and to optimize their health is a continuous driving force in the evolution of my practice.”
Before moving to Crested Butte, Roxanne never felt rooted in a place. While she was growing up, her mom moved the family around a lot. “My mom was rather bohemian and imparted that life philosophy to me as she moved around to different graduate schools.” The eldest of five siblings, Roxanne was born on Chicago’s southside, but grew up Nordic skiing and hiking in North Dakota and northern Wisconsin. She graduated from high school in 1999 in Richland, Washington, the area where the Manhattan Project’s plutonium came from. “The mascot for the high school was a mushroom cloud,” she recalls. “It was the history of this town.” Because she moved so often as a child, she found her grounding in books, music and ideas. “These were more important to me than a sense of place when I was growing up.”
Roxanne has lived in Crested Butte longer than anywhere else. She finally feels rooted and is happy to be raising her three sons here: Jack (11), Charlie (5) and Theodore (2). She had all three boys as home births. Her firstborn, Jack, was born in a 1700s farmhouse on Long Island, New York. Charlie was born in a condo in Crested Butte in the middle of winter and her third, Theodore, was born in an old Victorian house in Gunnison.
Roxanne explains the integrative aspect of her practice as far more than just cleaning teeth and drilling cavities. “The morphology of our skulls and jaws has changed significantly since the industrial revolution, because our environment has changed. It’s called epigenetic and it’s not evolutionary.”
Six years ago, she purchased Don Brown’s dental practice located in the Majestic Plaza, which was also once the restaurant Le Bosquet. “People would come in and say, I used to have crème brûlée here and now I’m getting a filling,” she laughs. Owning her own space has allowed Roxanne to feel even more established in Crested Butte, she says. “It’s a big deal for me because I saw so many small businesses losing their space to operate. I made it a priority to find a long-term home for my practice.”
Roxanne attended dental school on Long Island, New York, graduating in 2011. She received her undergraduate degree in biological sciences from the University of Chicago and earned her Masters in Ecology in 2007 from Southern Louisiana University, studying the swamps of Louisiana. Roxanne arrived in Crested Butte a decade ago from rural western Arkansas where she worked in dentistry for a public health clinic. She says, “It was a very underserved area. When I walked in the door, there were 500 people with serious dental infections on a waiting list. Here I was, straight out of dental school. I became very independent and got proficient at managing infections, extracting teeth and treating young children.”
Roxanne feels that part of what makes her practice unique is that she has extensive training in cranial osteopathy. “Part of who I am as a dentist is that I feel the way the bones are moving, and I basically do jaw orthopedics to expand and reposition jaws to optimize the airway. The issue of poorly developing jaws is one of the greatest issues of human biology of our times. The really important key is that when you have small jaws that have developed downward instead of forward, you have a compromised airway.” She explains how many health problems are associated with a small airway, “from learning disabilities in children to everything that’s associated with sleep apnea. It’s a constant oxidative stress on the body to have a compromised airway. It’s very multifactorial. I take these extra courses because it’s a passion to try to ameliorate the problems for my patients. I can help optimize cranial growth and development. It’s my ministry and my passion,” she says, in addition to her practice of general dentistry.
Although she’s continuously studying and her work schedule is tight, Roxanne does find time to enjoy the outdoors with her sons. “When I arrived in Crested Butte in 2014, I thought it was beautiful, like a fairytale, and the community is amazing. It was like a winter wonderland.” She still hikes, skis and mountain bikes, but Roxanne feels that she has to be careful to not injure or strain her hands or wrists since her work is so hand intensive.
Music is also an important part of her life. “I love folk music, playing fiddle and mandolin and it’s been imparted onto my kids so I can help them out with music theory,” but she notes, “I don’t come home and use my hands for instruments because they need a break at night.” She still plays mandolin and they sing together as a family. “We cook together and my Jack is a way better cook than I am,” she laughs. “We hike a lot together and travel around western Colorado and Utah. We’ll also go to Denver museums. We do have fun. I really like hiking with my dogs in the quiet of the woods when it’s covered in snow. It really regenerates me. I feel like CB is my home, my children are growing here and so is my practice. Being in a community like this at the end of the road and deep in the mountains, even though it’s isolated, the community is so progressive that I’ve been able to be progressive.”