Lee takes over at Buckley Dental

Buckley Dental Care has had a longtime presence on Main Street in Buckley, though it has never become long in the tooth. Since opening the office more than 30 years ago, Dr. Stephen Brooks kept himself current by studying advances in the field and using new equipment.

Brooks retired in September, selling his practice to Dr. Joseph Lee, a Mukilteo, Wash., native who recently moved back to Washington from Boston with his wife and newborn child.

“I bought it outright,” Lee said. “That included the staff, equipment and building.”

The transfer of ownership was described as smooth by Lee, with no loss in staff and no major or issues with longtime patients that could not be solved.

“After moving back into state, my wife and I saw anywhere from 12 to 13 dental practices,” he said. “I wanted a family practice, and sometimes family dentists get set in their way of doing things, but with Dr. Brooks, he kept everything up to date. It’s the best of both worlds.

“Everything is pretty established. I was fortunate to have a great staff come with the business. The staff has done a great job during the change.”

Lee has experience running his own practice in Snohomish, prior to selling it and working as an employee on the East Coast, while his wife attended dental school.

Operating a practice is a different experience from working as an employee, Lee said.

“Well, there’s the business aspect of it,” he said. “That’s something you don’t learn in dental school: how to budget.

“There’s also always the next new thing coming up in dentistry. You have to know if it’s going to be beneficial to your practice or not.”

At the moment, there’s very little Lee feels he needs to add to the business, he said. The examination chairs are equipped with new tools such as intra-oral cameras, which allow Lee, the two dental hygienists on staff, and patients to view teeth and gums live on an LCD screen. The one thing Lee mentioned he would like to add is a digital X-ray system. Another change coming will be to digitize all patient records, in accordance with the new federal health care law.

Finally, patients can expect the Brooks name to be removed from Buckley Dental Care’s signboard sometime after the new year.

“I think people are starting to know that Dr. Brooks has retired,” Lee said.

Buckley Dental Care is open four days a week, Monday through Thursday, at its 761 Main St. location. The practice can be reached at 360-829-1201 or

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