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The Lake Barkley Chamber of Commerce recently celebrated the opening of Lyon Family Dental at 252 Commerce St., with a ribbon-cutting. Dr. Dom Rivera and his wife, hygienist Jaylyn Guess Rivera, are accepting new patients.

There’s something, or more accurately, someone, familiar about the new Lyon Family Dental office.

“I graduated in 2009 from Lyon County High School and grew up around here. Most people knew me as Nikee Rivera,” Dr. Dominec Rivera said. “… Now, I go by Dom.”

Rivera completed his four-year bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky with a major in biology. “After that, I actually went over to the University of Louisville for four years and earned my doctorate in dental medicine,” he said.

Asked if that combination of higher education left him conflicted concerning athletic rivalries, he responds with a grin, “No, it’s very clear that I’m a UK fan; there’s no mistaking that.”

Why dentistry? “I was going to go into family medicine before. Then, I started shadowing some doctors and just realized it wasn’t as exciting or fun as I thought it was going to be,” he said. “I’m a hands-on person. So, when I got into dentistry, it really was just by chance.”

One thing led to another and an opening for a research project at the school of dentistry was under the direction of the head of the committee. Another volunteer opportunity happened to be with the president of the oral pathology association in dentistry. So, when the time came, the switch from pursuing the position of “Medical Doctor” to “Doctor of Dentistry Medicine” didn’t seem so different to Rivera.

“At the University of Louisville, we partnered with the medical school, taking a lot of the same courses with the same professors,” he said. “After we finished those classes, we would go to the labs and learn dentistry. We did that for the first two years. We spent the last two years working on real people. We would do the same thing — in the mornings, we would have classes and in the afternoons we would have clinics.”

For those who remember “Nikee” as a teenager, there’s another connection to those days still in his life. “My wife, Jaylyn, actually graduated from Lyon County High School the year after I did and she did the same thing that I did,” he said. “She went to the University of Louisville and graduated with a degree in dental hygiene. So, she’s also our hygienist here.”

“We’ve been together for 15 years; so, we’ve grown up together,” Jaylyn Guess Rivera said. “I’m just really excited to be back home and able to help everybody.”

The Riveras have two children: son Kai, 3, and daughter Maddie, 1. Dom Rivera is the son of Joey and Jenny Rivera. Jaylyn is the daughter of Lori Guess and the late Neal Guess.

The young family looks forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.

The practice is located at 252 Commerce St. For more information, visit lyonfamilydental.com.

“We’re accepting new patients, whether it’s for one visit or a lifetime of visits,” Dom said. “Anyone who walks through that door, we’re happy to help.”