In 1977, Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as the 39th president of the United States, music fans mourned the death of Elvis Presley, the Atari 2600 gaming system was released, and in Holdrege, a new dentist came to town.

Dr. Grant Hinze graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and purchased a dental practice from Arden Means at 502 4th Ave. in downtown Holdrege and started seeing patients on July 1, 1977.

Dr. Hinze, originally from Gothenburg, had the choice of completing an oral surgery residency in Philadelphia or becoming a small-town dentist. He and his new bride, Kay, decided to settle in Holdrege, close to their family, and start a family of their own.

Today, Dr. Hinze said his biggest reward has been helping generations of families with their smiles.

“Sometimes, I tell kids about their grant-grandfather,” Grant said. “I have seen generations of families come through my door. I’ll say, ‘you have a tooth just like your great-grandma.’ I can see the resemblance.”

The Hinzes moved to their current location at 725 Burlington in 1993.

Dr. Hinze has seen many changes throughout his 40 years as a dentist. One of the most dramatic was in x-ray technology. Gone are the days of taking an x-ray, dipping it in a developer tank and then showing it on a screen with a bright light. Digital x-rays and now 3-D x-rays have made dental work more accurate and have helped diagnose issues that may not have been seen 40 years ago.

Another big change has been switching from the use of heavy metals and mercury for fillings to all-white fillings.

Grant and Kay have enjoyed several staff people throughout their 40 years including Stacy Havenridge, Marti Baily, Dee Ivey, LaVonn Vaughn, Johanna Popple, Courtney Gerdes-Gehring, Terry Krohn, Paula McClymont, Willa Dannull, Marvel Borden, Vickie Klein, Mandy Sands, Heidi Stogdill and current staff Kimberly Powers, Dusk Westerbuhr and Hannah Hays. They have also enjoyed many after-school high-school employees: Bethanny Goodschmidt, Nicole Gerdes, Schuyler Edgren, Tori Goodschmidt, Emily Popple-While, Leslie Butler-Palensky, Kendra McElvain-Custer, McKenzie Coulter-Grimm, Amy Johnson, Cindy Hall and Alli Eulberg.