WATERLOO — This Seneca County community’s newest dentist says she and her family are happy in the Finger Lakes and hope to be here a long time.

Dr. Erin McTernan took over the All Smiles Family Dentistry practice at 44 W. Main St. in March. She changed the name to All Smiles of the Finger Lakes and picked up many of the previous dentist’s patients.

Born in the Bronx, McTernan knew she was headed for a career in the health care field. She excelled in science and biology in high school; after further study and personal observation of a physician, optometrist and dentist, she chose dentistry.

“I was no stranger to dental work,” she said. “I had a lot of tooth issues as a child and I was lucky to have had a good dentist and good experiences.”

She attended Manhattan College and earned an undergraduate degree in biology before going to Tufts University Dental School in Boston.

In Boston, she worked part time at an Empire Vision optometry office. That’s where she met optometrist Dr. Christopher Main, a Geneva native. They dated, got engaged and married in 2008. They moved to Providence, R.I., where she did some additional dental training while her husband worked for Empire Vision.

They also began a family, which today consists of children ages 1, 4 and 6. They moved to Poughkeepsie to get closer to her husband’s hometown of Geneva, staying there three years.

Ultimately, they moved to Geneva and Main began working at the Empire Vision outlet here — the business is now known as Vision Works. Meanwhile, McTernan worked for Finger Lakes Community Health, providing dental services in Geneva and Penn Yan.

“I wanted to start my own practice and found out that Dr. Griffee was retiring from this practice,” McTernan said. “I made inquiries and bought the practice.

“She left March 9 and I started March 10.”

McTernan and her family live on Washington Street in Geneva.

“So far, so good,” she said of her practice. “I inherited former patients and I’ve been busy. I hope to grow the business by word of mouth, so to speak.”

McTernan said she’s been welcomed warmly in Waterloo and enjoys the smalltown friendly atmosphere there.

Her parents still live in the Bronx, but McTernan said they enjoy coming up to the Finger Lakes so much that she doesn’t get back to New York City as often as she thought.

“The Finger Lakes are beautiful. There’s a lot to enjoy,” she said. “We like to travel and go camping when not working. I like it here and I look forward to giving back when I can.”

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