Dr. John A. Rothchild visited Durango for the first time 18 years ago. “People just looked young, healthy and vibrant,” Rothchild said. “It just impressed me. Everybody in this town was healthy.”

When he decided to retire from his practice in Chicago, he and his wife, Mary, started looking for homes in Durango.

Four and half years, two offices, and one failed attempt to retire later, Rothchild has settled in. He opened a practice in Durango after 13 months of retirement. “I got restless,” he said. “I saw an opportunity here and saw that the area could use my knowledge.”

He quickly outgrew his first office in Rivergate and opened another in Three Springs.

Rothchild, who has been practicing for 32 years, provides state-of-the-art care. His machines include the ability to make porcelain crowns in as little as an hour and a half, and another that can screen for oral cancer. Overall, his style of practice is firmly holistic, offering acupuncture and herbology in addition to standard dental care.

Rothchild was born and raised in Chicago. He went to dental school because he was intrigued by how dental work was both an art and a business. He began to move in a holistic direction with his education, especially after encountering patients with chronic facial pain. Often the symptoms were treated, but the pain would always come back. Rothchild realized that more aspects of health, such as diet or orthodontic care, needed to be considered. He began studying pieces like diet, lifestyle and blood chemistry, continuing to ask how patients could be helped through dentistry and nutrition.

In 1998, he earned a post-graduate degree in Washington, DC, focusing on preventive medicine. “I saw a lot of medical models I didn’t like, so I just followed my path,” Rothchild said.

And his patients follow him. Many don’t mind the distance required to visit his practice, coming from all over the Four Corners and even flying in from Chicago and Washington, DC.

Rothchild is also on staff at the Mercy Regional Medical Center, doing consultations and hospital cases.

As for life outside of work, Rothchild and Mary live in Pagosa Springs on 37 acres overlooking Echo Canyon Reservoir. He also plays trombone in a few local bands.

“I’m just having fun. Yeah, it’s busy, but I enjoy it,” he said. “I just like what I’m doing.”

The area itself doesn’t hurt.

“Look at this place,” said Rothchild. “It’s like working and being on vacation at the same time.”

Originally published in the October 2012 Durango Chamber of Commerce Newsletter.

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