1061 E Main St. Ste 101
Grass Valley, CA 95945
grass.valley@caringtreedentistry.com
150 Gateway Dr. Ste 110
Lincoln, CA 95648
lincoln@caringtreedentistry.com

About Us

In 2012, Dr. K purchased the practice from Dr. Terry Horlick (who retired in 2015), and branded it as Caring Tree Children’s Dentistry. Caring Tree is now expanding to include a second office in Lincoln later in 2018. Dr. K nurtures a supportive, joyful, and cohesive team in her practice, knowing this ensures the most positive dental experiences for our young patients and their families.

Meet The Doctor

Michelle Kucera, DDS (“Dr. K”)

Our Core Values

  • We value being gentle, CARING and respectful.
  • We look for opportunities to bring lightness, laughter and JOY to our practice.
  • We empower our patients and their families with the latest in oral health care EDUCATION.
  • We are committed to clear COMMUNICATION.
  • We are a part of the COMMUNITY and pledge to give back.
  • We are a TEAM.

Dr. Michelle Kucera, known as Dr. K, has always loved children.

One of her most profoundly touching moments came when she and her slightly younger sister were babysitting their much younger and then very small sister, a toddler. They decided to encourage the little one to walk by standing at opposite ends of the room and calling to her. The adolescent Dr. K and sister cajoled, cheered, supported and reassured the baby. Much to their surprise, the toddler took her first steps! This was an exciting and life-affirming moment for a teenage girl.

When Dr. K was in high school, she got a job with a local dentist and orthodontist. At the time, like most high school kids, it seemed like a way to get some income. As time went on, she became fascinated by interacting with so many different people during the course of the day. She loved the science of dentistry – there was so much to learn.

A guidance counselor inadvertently propelled Dr. K to dental school by suggesting she set her sights on working for another dentist as a hygienist. Always an achiever, Dr. K felt she would be happier becoming her own boss. Not long after that, she attended Case Western Reserve University, graduating in only six years instead of the typical eight.

Always valuing a relationship with others, she was interested in patients’ stories while in dental school. She took the time to listen and develop a bond with them, earning their trust and honoring them as individuals. She was surprised when these patients often brought her small presents as tokens of their gratitude. As far as Dr. K was concerned, the gift of time was essential and natural – she truly cared what they had to say.

An Aunt was an exciting and enchanting role model for young Dr. K. This Aunt was an independent and opinionated woman with a singular goal – to become an airline pilot. Dr. K followed her Aunt’s career with fascination and reverence. The Aunt began her career as a flight instructor, then became a pilot flying freight at night. So difficult was it at that time for her to enter a male-dominated field, she needed the tenacity and sheer focus to persevere. Now, she is a pilot for Delta Airlines. She was the first woman in Dr. K’s family to achieve such an impressive level of education and responsibility, and served as a wonderful model to encourage a young woman to follow her own path.

Her long list of goals includes riding her bicycle across the United States, learning to speak Spanish well, and someday perhaps joining the Peace Corps. She loves spending time with her daughter, a toddler and watching her grow and learn. She also looks forward to traveling with her husband and daughter to India, Asia and eventually Africa. The discovery of new and creative foods is part of the pleasure of travel.

The creation of a cohesive and joyful team who supports one another is something Dr. K works to nurture in her practice. After purchasing Caring Tree Children’s Dentistry in August of 2012, she immediately set out to honor and show respect to her entire team, knowing that this ensures the very best of experiences to her young patients and their families.

Credentials

Doctor of Dental Surgery
Pediatric Dental Certificate
American Board of Pediatric Dentistry Board Certification
California Oral Conscious Sedation License
Staff Member Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital
Basic Life Support Certification

Meet Our Team

Robyn H.

Registered Dental Assistant

Robyn truly understands the challenges parents with young children face. As a single mother of three children before she was 25, she held two jobs and attended Dental School to become a Registered Dental Assistant. Although at times it was daunting, she persevered, and graduated at the top of her class.

This tenacity still serves her well. The desire to make a better life for her family has given her the vision to move forward in spite of everyday struggles. Her son, now a young adult, has had a serious chronic health issue for much of his life, requiring many surgeries over the years. Because of this, she has had ample opportunity to observe medical personnel communicate with both her and her son. She wants to do better than many of those with whom she has interacted.

As a result, she has learned how to communicate with empathy; to recognize fear and frustration in parents and kids. Having spent so much time in hospitals, she has an uncommon  perspective into the challenge faced by a parent whose child needs hospital dentistry, and can truly help them know they are in competent hands.

One of her goals is to someday open a full-service shelter for families – one which will fill the basic needs of all people with respect and compassion. She values hard work and is known for her insistence on working until the job is done – no matter how long it takes.

Robyn grew up on the family’s dairy farm with her sister. She remembers always being surrounded by family – her Dad had 10 siblings and her Mom 4, so Aunts, Uncles and Cousins were always present. Long days on the dairy were made interesting to a young girl by riding on the tractor and feeding the hungry animals.

One of her favorite role models is a nurse who cared for her son at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. This nurse, in spite of being tired and overworked, took it upon herself to make certain Robyn’s son got all services he needed, even when this meant she followed up by making calls to doctors or social services on her own time.

Her favorite thing about Dental School? She got to attend with her best friend. They entered school and graduated together, helping each other along the way with encouragement and understanding.

Credentials

Registered Dental Assistant (2001)
Coronal Polish License
X-ray License
Basic Life Support Certification

Judy G.

Registered Dental Assistant

Sally L.

Dental Assistant

Deborah M.

Receptionist & Insurance Coordinator

It warms Debbie’s heart to watch things grow – flowers, plants and children. She embraces the power of encouragement to help preschoolers develop their sense of innate curiosity about the world.

She is also acutely aware of the need for compassion and acceptance. As a young child, Debbie lived in the same small neighborhood of South San Francisco with three of her closest friends. Although each came from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, they recognized a kindred spirit in each other. Inseparable, the girls explored, learned and shared.

During an adventure in Golden Gate Park as ten-year-olds, they encountered a group of older girls who were far more ‘street-wise’. These girls were angry and berated Debbie’s best friend of color for being with her. Until then, the four never even gave a thought to their differences; so connected were they by their similarities. Afraid but undaunted, Debbie felt the sting of injustice. It was the beginning of a lifelong quest to promote tolerance and respect for all people. To this day Debbie and her friend Sharda, whose family came from India, are still close.

A painfully shy child, Debbie was not comfortable talking with her teacher or classmates in her early school years. In fact, so shy was she that she simply didn’t speak until second grade. Her third-grade teacher saw who she was inside – an intelligent, curious little girl who simply hadn’t learned to speak her mind. Mrs. White made an effort to complement Debbie often, showing interest in her opinions and ideas. As is often the case, the simple kindness of one adult opened the door for Debbie to develop self-confidence and courage.

Like many reserved people, Debbie’s listening skills serve her well in her position as Receptionist for Caring Tree. She loves the curiosity of the children she meets – and is especially fascinated with adolescents – their many interests, boundless energy, busy lives and inquisitive nature.

As part of the Caring Tree team, Debbie feels right at home. She is valued for the attributes she holds most dear – compassion, the ability to listen, acceptance and a strong work ethic.

Credentials

Background in Medical Office Management
Basic Life Support Certificate
Computer Scheduling Software

Bill B.

Marketing & Front Office

Bill is a nearly complete newcomer to the dental world.  Other than late-night and dinner table conversations with Dr. K about prophylaxis or the pros and cons of composites versus amalgams, his primary entry into this world is based upon the fact that he, indeed, has teeth.  (You’ll surely note it in his gleaming smile.)  Prior to working at Caring Tree, Bill practiced as a criminal defense attorney for nearly 15 years.  At some point, he began to realize that something felt a little off with his life.  (At this point, it should probably be mentioned that Bill not only works for Dr. K, but he’s also married to her.)

Anyway, at those times when late-night and dinner-table conversations between Bill and Dr. K were not about dentistry or the law, they steered towards the stress of being full-time working parents.  Bill and Chelle (that’s her home name, along with “Momma”) both realized that they were working very hard and piling on tons of stress and something different needed to be done. In early 2019, they cautiously and nervously agreed that Bill should leave the law and work for Dr. K – that’s right, for, not with.  While you might think that he gets a pass because of his marital status, you’d be right, but for the wrong reason.  He gets a pass because he works for an amazing person and, yeah, he actually likes it.

Bill’s focus will be twofold: marketing and front-office assisting.  Most of his focus will be on building up the Lincoln Caring Tree Office.  That means that Bill will always put forth his best argument as to why Caring Tree is the best (and frankly, the only) option for your child’s dental care.  Except, instead of making a dramatic closing argument in front of a jury, he’ll just let your kids’ health and happiness speak for him.

(P.S. Don’t ask him for legal advice, he’ll just tell you to call a lawyer.)

Lucy Q. Elizalde

Receptionist

Lucy has been with Caring Tree (in her heart) since she met Dr. K back in their Western Sierra days. Then she finally started working here in 2011 until she just had to leave in 2018 to stake her own claim and start a local and online bead and jewelry business. While making and selling jewelry, she finally tied the knot with Shane and soon after, they had Misael. Lucy may only have been a mom since 2019, but this local lady is full steam ahead in being the best mom she can be, and is.

She’d be the first to admit that raising a kid is exhausting and so she needs the down time to come to work at a – wait – a kids’ dental office?  Whatever her reasons, Caring Tree is happy to have her. Her laughter and positive attitude is especially contagious. And don’t be fooled by that sweet person who greets you – she’s no pushover and she has a sense of humor that is often better left in the breakroom. She can’t be too soft as the oldest of three kids.

All the siblings were born and raised in the back-country remote hills of Grass Valley. As she was graduating from Nevada Union her father persuaded her to go to Dental Assisting school.  It’s hard to say no to the two people who have the most positive influence on her: mom and dad. So, when she graduated from High School, she was already qualified as a Dental Assistant.  Lucky for her, because that led her to realize she’s better at being a receptionist than an assistant.

Lucy continues to work on herself, her family and her jewelry.  Don’t be shy about asking to see some of her beading, I’m sure she has some on hand. And if you hear some deep, heartfelt laughter in the office, there’s a good chance it’s coming from Lucy. Just make sure you really want to ask what was so funny, ‘cause she just might tell you.

Credentials
Xray Certificate
Basic Life Support

Catherine P.

Director of First Impressions

Let’s start by acknowledging that Catherine has lived the most interesting life in our office. I mean who else in this office raised 5 Siberian Huskies for a Racing Sled Team? So, you might ask, what brings her to our little dental office in Lincoln? We don’t ask such questions here – we’re just grateful to have her.

A poet at 4, Catherine proudly hails from a “Nut Family” (and we’re not talking a’monds) where the sounds of music, the smell of good food and the sight of family was always present. Her family is filled with musicians, chefs and academics. They gave her her love of music – (piano, accordion, guitar, violin and songwriting) and adventure (living the nomadic lifestyle). And of course, a family of educators instilled a lifetime of learning and listening in Catherine. Other than learning the whole new field of dentistry, she is re-taking up painting as she continues to work on her violin skills.

But, clearly family was not enough for her, so she ventured out to the gritty streets of London and New York and the sun-dappled island of Crete to cut her musical chops in the footsteps of the Chieftains and Richard Thompson. Exploring Europe appears to have fueled her desire to learn about people from many different cultures and eat their food.

This strong lady learned her ways from her Grandmother and a dear friend and mentor, Victor, an architect and sculptor. Grandma, a funny, strong and honest woman taught her about family and elbow grease, and Victor taught her about herself and to never back down. Nonetheless, her soft side gains warmth from the kids and her colleagues at Caring Tree.

Oh, and her blood runs Black and Orange. She said that might be important to some folks.

1061 E Main St. Ste 101
Grass Valley, CA 95945
150 Gateway Dr. Ste 110
Lincoln, CA 95648