Smart and Successful
When he was growing up in a small town, a visit to the dentist meant two things to Randy Halihan: cavities and pain.
“We lived out in the country and drank well-water with no fluoride,” Halihan says. “Every time we went to the dentist, there was this big drama about how many cavities we had to get filled.”
His family’s dentist’s chair-side manner also left something to be desired.
“He was scary,” Halihan remembers, laughing. “We just sat on our hands and tried not to complain too much.”
But those childhood experiences didn’t discourage Halihan when he thought about a future career.
“My best buddy’s mom worked at a dentist’s office, and [the dentist] seemed to enjoy himself,” Halihan says. “I thought it sounded like a good career.”
Yet, he resolved to take a more friendly approach to the profession, and according to Melissa Goll of Lake in the Hills, he’s succeeded.
Goll, her husband and their four children have been going to Dr. Randy Halihan Family Dentistry in Crystal Lake since 2005.
“When you walk into his office, you feel like part of the family,” Goll says.
Halihan’s office manager of five years, Marie Krutwig, agrees.
“This is a great place to work,” she says. “Dr. Halihan is very jovial and fun. He laughs a lot.”
Country to city to suburbs
Though he now calls McHenry County home, Halihan was born in Chicago and was a young child when his family relocated to rural Will County. In school, he enjoyed science and playing football, baseball and basketball. He graduated from Momence High School in 1987 and enrolled at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Going from a small town to a big city wasn’t difficult, Halihan says.
“Those were some of my best years,” he says. “I loved the action of the city, and I loved the food. It seemed like there was always something going on.”
After completing his undergraduate degree in biology in 1991, he stayed at UIC for dental school and graduated in 1995. The next stop was the workplace.
“If you’re planning to specialize in something like oral surgery, you go into a hospital for a residency, but if you’re going into general practice, most people get out and get a job,” he says.
A job prospect brought him to Crystal Lake.
“I didn’t know anything about McHenry County, but that’s where the job was,” he says. “I practiced first in Crystal Lake, then in McHenry for several years to get experience.”
He followed a common career path for a new dentist, working with an experienced dentist in an established practice, then moving into a practice of his own.
“For a while, I was working for him during the day and then for myself in the evenings and on weekends until I got my business up to speed,” Halihan says.
Such a demanding schedule made staying in shape a challenge.
“During that time, I was single,” he says. “[I] worked out at a McHenry health club doing weights and cardio.”
In 2003, he married his wife Rachel, a former dental hygienist who’s now a full-time mom to the couple’s two sons, 4-year-old Parker and 2-year-old Carson. The Halihans are expecting another child this spring.
Family life keeps Halihan and his wife busy.
“A lot of our time goes into entertaining them,” he says.
However, his home experiences translate well into the work place. Case in point, Goll says that Halihan is especially good with his youngest patients.
“My oldest is cavity prone, and the first time we went in for a filling, he freaked out,” she says. “But Dr. Halihan hid the shot and joked around so he wasn’t afraid and made it fun.”
Healthy teeth, healthy body
Though his business and family life take up much of his time, Halihan knows the importance of staying in shape.
His fitness regimen includes working out at Healthbridge Fitness in Crystal Lake, playing racquetball and basketball, participating in a summer softball league and riding on area bike trails.
“It feels good to work out, just to break a sweat,” he says. “Team sports are fun because you create a bond with the other guys.”
He also likes the Seattle Sutton prepared meal plan.
“As your metabolism slows in your 40s, you gain weight, so I do it a couple of times a year,” he says. “I like it because it’s easy and it works.”
Being around health-conscious colleagues helps, too.
“We all talk about sports, and lots of the people who work here are into working out,” Krutwig says.
Halihan also encourages other men not to neglect their dental health. Both the American Academy of Periodontology and the American Heart Association support studies that have linked poor dental health and cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, many men wait until they’re in pain to see the dentist.
“In our industry, we like to say that the women come and the men are coaxed,” Halihan says.
“Some men are good about it, but many don’t come in until there’s a problem. So, the biggest thing they can do is to keep up coming in every six months.”