The team at Yahara Dental thrives on creating happier smiles through expert family dental care. Get to know the friendly people who provide exceptional family dentistry in Stoughton’s best dental office.
Paula – Business manager
After graduating from Elkhorn Area High School, I attended travel school in Florida before being employed with Midwest Express Airlines in Madison for 13 years. I began my dental career working for Dr. Oinonen in 2004. I have been with Dr. Thor since he purchased Dr. Oinonen’s practice in 2011.
My time at Yahara Dental is split between working behind the scenes on the administrative operations of the business and backing up the front desk. I will also be seen floating around offering assistance where needed. I try to be an integral part of our team by keeping our administrative and business affairs well-managed and helping with patient flow throughout the day.
I live outside of Stoughton with my husband, Travis, and our German Shepherds. We have two grown daughters: Abby who is a flight attendant for American Airlines and Olivia who is a stay-at-home mom to our beautiful grandson, Greyson. With a husband and daughter who both travel for work, my perfect day away from the office is just having the entire family together.
What is my special talent? Hearing a song and remembering what movie it is from. I can’t seem to remember anything else but I hear a song and the movie just pops in my head.
I simply cannot live without cake. Everyone knows I will do anything for cake.
What is my favorite movie? Halloween (the original). I’m absolutely terrified of Mike Myers but can’t stop watching. I’ve seen it at least twice a year for the last 35 years.
Jennifer – Registered dental hygienist
I grew up in Edgerton and received my dental hygiene education at Madison Area Technical College in Madison. I made the move from a dental office in Madison to Yahara Dental in 2014 looking for a small-town family practice.
You will find me getting to know my patients as I provide them with preventative dental care and help them maintain a healthy smile. I enjoy researching alternative health ideas—many I’ve learned from my patients. I bring energy mixed with an upbeat personality and a positive attitude… and maybe some cookies to share with the team! I keep myself busy helping anyone who needs it.
I am married to Adam and have two children, Bella and Madix. When I’m not at Yahara Dental I like to spend time with family and play games with the kids. I especially enjoy the outdoors and getting my yard into shape.
Most people think I’m crazy because I wear long underwear to work all year long.
What is my guilty pleasure? Puppy chow. I can’t live without it.
Tiffany – Dental assistant
I was born in Fond Du Lac, grew up in Ladysmith and moved to Madison in 2011. I was drawn to the dental profession because I desired a rewarding career where I could best use my people skills and compassion to help people. I have been part of the Yahara Dental team since February 2013. I started out as Dr. Oinonen’s full-time assistant until his retirement.
I have a positive and laid-back attitude which helps my patients feel comfortable during procedure. I spend my days chairside to Dr. Thor, usually discussing sports. When I’m not chairside I’ll be found helping at the front desk or working in the lab—all while making my co-workers laugh.
I got married at the Wisconsin State Capital to Brian in August 2018. We enjoy spending time with our eight nieces and nephews and our Jack Russel Terrier, Mya. We make several trips a year up north to visit family and friends. When we aren’t traveling, we enjoy sporting events and music concerts.
What is my secret obsession? Wheel of Fortune before dinner and Dateline after.
What is my favorite movie? Breakfast Club. I’m often heard quoting lines from it during the day.
Kaci – Registered dental hygienist
I grew up on a farm outside Highland, Wisconsin. Even as a child I knew I wanted to be part of the dental field, attributing much of that to having great dental appointment experiences with a fantastic childhood dental hygienist. After high school I moved to Madison to attend Madison Area Technical College for dental hygiene and have been with Yahara Dental since 2010.
My role as a hygienist is providing my patients comfort and education while I care for their teeth. I take the time to get to know my patients and love catching up with them. I’m known for my positive attitude and my laugh can often be heard throughout the office. I am always willing to lend a helping hand and do best to make the office enjoyable to my patients and co-workers.
I live in Verona with my husband Zach and our daughter, Berkley, born in 2018. We love taking Berkley on long walks and attending sporting events. We have close relationships with our families and friends and spend a lot of time with all. I enjoy live music, vacationing, local festivals, outings with Berk, summertime and boating.
What is the strangest job I’ve ever had? Separating live bait at a campground/recreation area. I had to separate night crawlers from leeches.
What’s your secret obsession? The sweet smell of babies.
What is your guilty pleasure? Bravo channel reality TV.
Gwen – Patient coordinator
I grew up in a large family on a dairy farm in Central Ohio and attended high school in Millersburg, Ohio, which is known for its large Amish population. In the late 60s and early 70s my family built and ran Lake Wapusun, a large campground business, and purchased Lakeville Speedway, a dirt race track. I spent much of my childhood and early teens working with the public and helping people enjoy their experiences. Working with the public is something that is in my DNA.
I moved to Cleveland, Ohio in my early 20s and got licensed in group health/group life insurance sales. My specialty was companies with 300+ employees. It allowed me the opportunity to travel over 20+ states and truly fall in love with our beautiful country. It also turned me into an avid adventurer who loves to travel.
My son and I have lived in Stoughton since 1995 after living in Northern WI. I owned my own picture framing and interior design business before closing it in 2012. I went back to my insurance background and started working in the dental field in 2013. I became a part of the Yahara Dental family in 2020.
I love to primitive camp and recently purchased a vintage camper that I am restoring. Home renovation projects are always in progress at my house. I love to learn new skills and adding more tools to my arsenal.
I live in Stoughton with my two dogs, Finn and Maggie, and feel blessed that my son, Kris, still lives near.
Little known fact: I have always wanted to write children’s books and travel to Ireland.
Mikaela – Dental assistant
I’ve lived in the Stoughton area all of my life. My husband, Lukas, and I were high school sweethearts and graduated from Stoughton High School in 2007. After that, I attended M.A.T.C. and got into the Dental Assisting program. I’ve always liked going to the dentist, so I knew I wanted to do something in the dental field. I graduated from the Dental Assisting program in 2008 and started working in Madison for one of the oral surgery groups that same year. I worked there until 2019 and started working for Dr. Thor after that.
I love helping people and that’s why I do what I do! Seeing patients come in for treatment and seeing the “after” with a beautiful, confident smile is so rewarding. A lot of people don’t like going to the dentist, so I do what I can to help them feel at ease. I enjoy getting to know our patients and catching up with them when they come in!
Lukas and I have two Boston Terriers, Tux and Tego. We love to travel and take winter vacations to anywhere that’s warm and has a beach! Throughout the year, we go to a lot of sports games and enjoy taking advantage of the bike trails we have in the area. I love country music, reading a good book, and spending time with friends and family.
Do you have any collections? Yes! My husband and I collect sports memorabilia. We have autographed baseballs, football helmets, canvases, and framed photos. Our biggest collection, however, is our BOBBLEHEAD collection! It consists mainly of Milwaukee Brewers, but we also have Milwaukee Bucks, Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, Madison Mallards, Lakeshore Chinooks, and some other random ones like “Sister Jean” or Matt Hamilton, the curler.
What’s your secret (or not-so-secret) obsession? I’m a huge bird nerd! I love watching the birds and taking photos of them.
What is your guilty pleasure? I love watching “Dr. Pimple Popper” on TLC! I love all of that “gross” stuff!
Sally – Registered dental hygienist
A native of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, I graduated from Sun Prairie High School. While in High School I began working part time in a dental office, first at the front desk and then as an assistant. The thought of helping people achieve better dental health inspired me to attend the MATC Dental Hygiene Program, from which I graduated in 1992. I began working at the office for Dr. Oinonen in 1998 and have been with Dr. Thor since he purchased Dr. Oinonen’s practice in 2011.
I am known for my compassion and gentle touch. Everyone should feel comfortable at the dentist and leave feeling educated. I’m known around the office for my years of experience and attention to detail.
I currently live in Evansville with my husband Bryan. We have one son, Bryce, who is attending Viterbo University in hopes of becoming a nurse. When I’m not at the office I enjoy being active. I love to ski, bike, golf, shop and spend time with my family and friends. I unwind with a good book or craft project.
Who is my favorite music artist? Garth Brooks. I have seen him in concert twice.
What is my guilty pleasure? Chocolate! Anything chocolate!