Some people never discover their niche — their purpose — in life. For Joseph C. Vize, you might say being a denturist was his destiny. “There’s no question that this is what I was born to do,” he says of his chosen profession. Dentistry runs in his blood. He is the son of a denturist and the grandson and nephew of dentists.

But the 35-year-old denturist didn’t always feel so certain of his place at the dental chair. As a small child, he saw the struggles his parents, Randall (Randy) and Janet Vize, endured as they lobbied tirelessly, but ultimately unsuccessfully, for denturists independence in Nevada.

He saw his father arrested and the family endure harassment and threats to the degree that the police had to intervene on their behalf. He remembers he and his younger brother being sent to his grandparents for months at a time because of the dangerous physical threats the family received from the Nevada dentists. These dentists also pressured people to stop patronizing Randy’s business thus money was scarce. He tried other jobs but his heart was not in it; he was a denturist and he wanted to serve. This was a major dilemma because of the financial and emotional hardship on his family. When he learned there was a group of denturists in Washington State who were seeking independence and even though he didn’t want to leave Nevada he decided a move would be in the best interest of his family and he was excited to join the effort in Washington. So the Vize family moved to Washington, joined in the effort for independence, and celebrated with the passage of I-607 – the denturists won their independence by the biggest margin of any issue placed on the ballot! Randy received his denturist license and the family enjoyed five great years before tragedy struck; Joe’s father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and passed away; he was only 59.

Honoring his father’s wishes to maintain his denturist practice, Joe who was headed to Washington State University to complete his studies in engineering, quickly changed direction. “I decided that I had to at least try to keep my promise. I figured that I would fail, but I would at least be able to say that I tried, and did my best.” Joe enrolled in the denturist program at George Brown College and the further he delved into his studies the more he began to appreciate his “father’s profession.” He also realized he had a talent for it. The years of doing small odd jobs in his father’s laboratory had provided a strong platform for his career. After graduation and completing an internship with Oregon Denturist, Ken Holden, and sitting for the Oregon State Boards, Joe received his Oregon License and later a reciprocal denturist license in Washington State and has not looked back; he now has a clinic in Washington and Oregon.

“I really am doing what God intended for me to do,” he says. His patients agree. They continue to bring gifts and notes of appreciation to him and his wife, Stephanie who manages the front offices in his clinics. Joe believes that the tremendous satisfaction of providing beautiful functional dentures, and enhancing a patient’s quality of life, is the greatest reward of his work. He says, “My dad always said, ‘I wish I could pay my bills in thank-you notes, and I agree.”

Because Joseph loves denturitry, he takes an interest in constantly improving his own practices and abilities and is always ready to receive new information. “Everybody does something a little bit differently, and you can learn something from everyone,” he says.

Following his father’s footsteps, Joe is totally immersed in his profession. He is a member of the National Denturist Association, USA, and serves on the Board of Directors as Vice-President. He is the past president and board member of the Washington Denturist Association. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Oregon State Denturist Association. He believes that active involvement in these professional organizations is absolutely vital to the protection and ongoing success of the denturist profession.

Along with the family practice, Joe inherited some key family heirlooms. The dental chair in his main operatory belonged to his grandfather. “Part of it is nostalgia, part of it is practicality,” he says. “The old-style barber-type chairs are better for taking impressions because they hold the patient upright.“ He says that patients get a kick knowing that the chair they are sitting in dates to the early last century.

Joe still works closely with his family, his wife is the office manager, his mother does the bookkeeping and his brother is the dental lab technician. Karleen Meyer is practically adopted; she has worked with the family as a dental lab technician for over 20 years.

Joe will be forever grateful to Ken Holden for “taking him under his wing” and mentoring his internship and knowing the valuable lessons he learned and realizing the importance of this college requirement he was delighted to be asked to mentor a student soon to graduate from The American Denturist College.

Joseph has also found a larger family within the network of denturists he and his wife have met over the years. “It feels like family,” Stephanie says. “They even know Ruger,” she laughs, referring to the couple’s 10-year-old miniature schnauzer. “He might tell you he has other hobbies, like target shooting or cars,” Stephanie says of her husband, “But when you catch him reading about surgical implant placement with color photographs across the table while you’re trying to eat lunch, and when he has a 15-minute break during a hectic day, and you find him watching a YouTube video entitled, Anatomy of the Skull, you begin to realize this is pretty much all he thinks about.”

It is, after all, his destiny.