As a young college student, Lauren (Oglesby) Edwards dreamed of one day working with her uncle at his dental office in Abilene.
This summer, that dream came true.
In July, Dr. Gary Linn, a Wylie resident and former Wylie parent, welcomed Edwards into his practice.
“I always dreamed of returning to Abilene – particularly working here with my uncle at this office,” Edwards said. “It’s a dream come true – I hope for both of us.”
Edwards attended Wylie from kindergarten through her graduation in 2004 and then moved across town to attend Abilene Christian University. While in high school, she flirted with the idea of being a Spanish teacher.
But then she went on a medical mission trip.
“I worked there for about three weeks,” she said. “I was in charge of holding the flashlight into people’s mouths. That was a turning point. I saw how much you could heal – how much you can ease pain. I know that’s not what everybody thinks of dentists. But you can improve the quality of life so much.”
With the Spanish teaching idea now abandoned, Edwards waivered between dentistry and the medical field. That’s when she turned to her uncle.
“I started working on her a little bit about dental school,” Linn said. “I thought at the time it would be great to have her working with me. I have been looking forward to this for a long time.”
Edwards was never one of those kids who wanted to leave Abilene and never return. All along, she planned to make Abilene her home.
“I had to move away for dental school,” she said. “They didn’t have one here. We came back as quick as we could.”
Edwards met her husband, Jeffrey Edwards, in the chemistry lab at ACU. Although he is not from Abilene, his grandmother taught at ACU, and he had spent a lot of time in Abilene. He had no problem with his wife’s dream of coming back here after dental/medical schools and residencies were complete.
“He was sold on Abilene from the minute he set foot at ACU,” Edwards said. “There was no arm-twisting involved.”
The couple has two young sons, Carter, who is 2, and Harrison who is 10 months.
Edwards said she spent a lot of time in her uncle’s office as an ACU student, observing him at work. Watching him with children was one of the things that inspired her to be a dentist.
She said she remembers watching him gently explain a procedure to a young child and then begin the dental work.
“I thought she was starting to cry but when he turned off the drill, she was giggling,” Edwards said. “I thought, ‘If I can ever be that good that’s when I will know I’ve made it.’”
Ironically, Linn himself turned to an uncle for advice on dental school years ago. Linn originally got a degree in accounting but did not enjoy the work.
“I just didn’t really feel like I fit in,” he said. “It wasn’t me.”
So he went to his uncle, John Estes, a long-time Abilene dentist, for advice and decided to go into dentistry. He has had been practicing at the corner of Chimney Rock and Buffalo Gap Road for 26 years.
Adding Edwards to his practice will allow him to extend his hours and offer a few additional procedures, such as root canals.
Edwards said she is thrilled that her dream has come true. No one could ask for a better situation than working with Dr. Linn, she said.
“He’s a wonderful dentist; he’s a great person, and he is a pillar in this community,” she said. “Getting to go to work with a family member who has my best interest at heart is great. Getting to learn from his experience is priceless.”