Louis Heitke, dentist

Posted on April 24, 2013

Is there anything special about being a dentist in downtown Madison? Or is it pretty much the same as being a dentist anywhere else?

According to Dr. Louis Heitke, it’s not the same at all. Heitke, 60, began his practice in Mount Horeb, opting for the kind of small-town atmosphere he knew from his childhood in Portage. But patients he met at a part-time gig at the downtown MATC didn’t want to drive all the way out to the country. So he moved his practice here in the 1980s, finally settling into a cozy building at 122 E. Johnson St.

Heitke loves getting to know the Madisonians who pass through this building. He develops personal relationships with patients and their kids, and even their kids’ kids. “The clientele is intelligent,” he says, “and into things that are very interesting. They’re eclectic in terms of the range of their opinions. There’s a liberal tilt, of course, but there are also scattered conservatives.”

Heitke strikes you as the kind of dentist who would take pleasure in this eclectic crew, no matter what their views. He has a sense of humor and a curiosity about people that goes well beyond the usual doctor/patient small talk.

Why did Heitke choose to be a dentist in the first place? The inspiration came from his father-in-law, a dentist in Lancaster who seemed happy with his life. “He said there was nothing he’d rather do than be a dentist. It was odd for me, at that time, to find somebody who was contented.”

— Dean Robbins