New owner takes over Auburn’s Pier 210 Dental Group

By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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A longtime Auburn dental office has a new owner. Dentist David Roholt purchased Pier 210 Dental Group earlier this year from Walter Skinner, who started the business in 1978. The four-dentist office includes Skinner’s daughter, April Skinner, as well as Doug Musso and Ed Weiss. Roholt, who graduated from the University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry and practiced for 18 years in Monterey, became acquainted with the foothills when he purchased a home for his family in Lake of the Pines about four years ago. “We used that as our base for water skiing and snow skiing and really fell in love with it,” Roholt said this week. Growing up as the son of a doctor in a small midwestern town, Auburn’s ambiance also appealed to him. “What attracted me to the area is my love for the outdoors and the desire for a community similar to the town where I grew up — Bemidji, Minn.,” he said in an e-mail. “Coming from a small town in northern Minnesota, I grew up knowing and being known by most of the people in our town. Already I feel the same type of community here in Auburn and we already feel like a part of the community.” That connection to community was quickly apparent to Paul Ross, vice president of Community 1St Bank in Auburn. “He took over the dental practice from Walter Skinner, who was a 30-plus year friend of mine and very involved in Auburn Faith Foundation (and many other local organizations),” Ross said. “It didn’t take long to see that here’s a guy I just knew would fit into the Auburn community. He wanted to know what he could do in the community and for the community. … That was just a perfect match of him taking over a dental practice from Walter Skinner, who was very involved in the same things. So I was glad to see a guy like David come to this town.” The addition of Roholt to Pier 210 expands the office’s expertise in family and cosmetic dentistry. His specialty is dental implants. He has a fellowship certification from the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, an award for advanced education and experience in the field of dental implants, he said. Roholt hasn’t made many changes since purchasing the clinic, but he has updated some procedures. “We do a lot more composite restorations instead of silver fillings,” he said. The office’s mix of specialties works well, he said. “We cover a wide range of services,” he said. “With four doctors, we can meet the needs of almost any patient. All the doctors have interest in different styles of practice, but all are very experienced, gentle and caring. The staff is incredible and very committed to the practice and to our patients. We have many staff members who have been with the practice for more than 20 years and patients that have been with the office over 30 years.” A scuba enthusiast, Roholt went off to college envisioning a future career in much different terms. “I was going to go into marine biology, but then realized I wasn’t interested in teaching or doing research,” he said. He then turned to the health field, but chose dentistry over the medical path his father had taken. “There’s a lot more family time with being a dentist than with being in medicine, and that’s important,” he said. By coincidence, Roholt’s interest in marine life meshes perfectly with the Auburn dental office’s nautical theme. “It’s like a museum inside,” he said. “There are old brass navigation pieces, diving bell helmets. There’s a huge aquarium. There are antique steering wheels and the wooden pieces from the (bow) of a ship.” What does he like best about the job? “It’s the satisfaction of helping people — when you see someone who is extremely fearful of dentistry and you turn things around so they become comfortable when they come to visit,” he said. For relaxation, Roholt has discovered a talent for sculpture and drawing. “When I was about 35 years old, I just got an inkling I wanted to do some sculpting,” he said. “I took a couple of weekend classes and just started doing it. Just from hand-eye coordination from doing dentistry, it fit beautifully and just seemed to work.” Roholt has several sculptures and drawings displayed at Web site His son, Danny, also has some work displayed on the site. Besides Danny, 16, the family includes wife, Tina, and daughter Cassandra, 20. The Journal’s Gloria Young can be reached at or comment at -------- Pier 210 Dental Group Where: 210 Lincoln Way, Auburn Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday by appointment Call: (530) 885-5696