MO 8AM - 5PM

Meet Our Team


Karen, RDH

Registered Dental Hygienist
Karen is our veteran at Columbia Dental Center - practicing for over 25 years. Her dental career began back in the 80’s when she worked chairside as a dental assistant until she returned to college and graduated in the 90’s with her hygiene degree. Over the years, she has worked with prominent dental companies in product development, sat on dental advisory panels, tested and evaluated products as a clinical researcher, past national lecturer, and had been a feature and monthly author for RDH Magazine as a columnist for five years. Her proudest accomplishment was being one of eight chosen nationally as a winner of the prestigious “Award of Distinction”, in dental hygiene.

Karen is passionate about her patients and enjoys how her younger patients have “grown up” under her care - so don’t be surprised if she opens up a fun picture when you were five years old and puts it on her computer screen for you to see and enjoy a light-hearted laugh! Karen’s most famous patient was a home-run hitting Cardinal from the late 90’s.

Karen is “from home” in Waterloo…a term used by locals who have lived in the area their entire life and have family here. She is married to her husband ,Jeff; has two children and is a grandma of six, whom she adores! She has authored a book (found on Amazon), She holds a black belt in Shorin-ryu karate,recreationally plays violin and abstract paints for artsy-relaxation.Restoring and maintaining an old farmhouse from the 1800’s occupies her spare time.

Heather, RDH

Registered Dental Hygienist
Heather was raised and still resides in Columbia, IL. She attended college at Forest Park in St. Louis where she received a degree in Dental Hygiene. She has over twenty years of experience delivering quality care. Her top priority is providing patients with the absolute best care. When she is not at work, she is spending time with her husband, Matt, and their two children, Mason and Maisy.


Registered Dental Hygienist
Teresa earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale. She is passionate about attending continuing education courses to learn the latest techniques, materials and emerging technologies. She has extensive training in the use of Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas), Laser Gum Therapy and Local Anesthetic. Teresa is patient focused, driven to provide a personable experience along with the highest quality of care possible. She enjoys building relationships with her patients and educating them on the importance of their overall oral health

In her free time, Teresa enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She has been married to her husband Carl for 16 years and lives locally in Columbia. Together they have 3 children, Caitlin, Morgan, and Max. The family also has two fur babies named Gander and Bentley. Her family enjoys camping, hiking, boating, fishing and most everything else outdoors.

Britani, RDH

Registered Dental Hygienist
Britani attended Lewis and Clark Community College and graduated with a degree in Dental Hygiene. Britani is a lifelong learner and has certifications in Laser Gum Therapy and Local Anesthesia. She has enjoyed being a part of our dental family and building relationships with patients to help them understand their oral health needs. Outside of the office, Britani enjoys reading and spending time with her husband and three children.


When asked what Tami most likes about her position at Columbia Dental Center, she quickly responds that she “LOVES educating patients especially on care of braces using flossers.” Educating is something she has been doing for 17 years in practice here along with dental assisting, coordinating hygiene and polishing teeth. Tami ensures appointments run smoothly from the time she takes needed x-rays to charting and re-appointing for future visits.

She works on operatory set-up, maintains sterilization of instruments and does maintenance throughout the office. Tami has advanced CPR training as well as training in Sleep Apnea. Outside of the office, Tami can be seen riding in her vintage BMW where she says “convertible hair-don’t care!” As a mom and grandma spending time with family (this includes time spent with her tea- cup yorkie ) is very important to her. When she sits and watches her favorite movie, she is watching “The Notebook”. You may catch Tami eating often at the Cheesecake Factory or in line at Starbucks where she is ordering a white, mocha-latte, no-whip, skim…oh, and a shot of ESPRESSO, please!


Office Manager
Julie is a Columbia native who has over twenty years of experience in all areas of dentistry. She handles all front office duties including scheduling, insurance and coordinating patient care. Throughout her many years in dentistry, she has attended continuing education courses which have helped her develop mindfulness of patient needs. She loves interacting with patients and enjoys getting to know them. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, especially her husband, Thomas and son’s, Leo and Xavier.


Patient Treatment Coordinator
Heather is a Waterloo native with ten plus years of dental insurance knowledge. She handles front office administrative duties including patient scheduling, treatment plans, insurance and finances. She is the Mother of three adult children and " Mimi" to her granddaughter, Luna. In her time away from the office, she enjoys antiquing, repurposing furniture, and spending time with family.


Patient Care Coordinator
Becky has lived in Columbia over 30 years. She began her career assisting with the clinical aspects of dentistry before transitioning to coordinating patient care. She loves spending time at her clubhouse with her husband, Rusty, and two dogs. She also has three daughters and eight grandchildren that keep her busy.


Office Administrator
Sonya helps facilitate daily operations within the office. She believes in a patient centered approach and advocates on their behalf when working with insurances. She enjoys working with patients to receive treatment and achieve a healthy mouth. When she’s away from the office she enjoys listening to audiobooks and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Wanda, RDH

Registered Dental Assistant
Wanda has over thirty years of experience in the dental field and is proficient in all areas of dentistry. She enjoys educating patients, answering questions, and calming their fears. She Is Nitrous Oxide & Sedation certified. She is trained in correcting smiles through fixed braces, Invisalign, implant treatment, removable appliances and CEREC digital dental crown technology. She is a patient advocate and enjoys the challenge of restoring smiles. She enjoys building patient relationships with her bubbly, positive personality and radiant smile. Wanda loves to travel, dine out, and spend time outdoors with her husband, Gary, their three children, son-in-law, and furry baby, Koda. Family, friends, baking, reading and camping are her treasures.

Casey, RDH

Registered Dental Assistant
Casey is a lead chairside dental assistant. In addition to assisting, she sterilizes and maintains dental equipment, tools, treatment areas, and assists in administrative duties. She is CPR-certified and has training in treating Sleep Apnea. Casey enjoys expanding her education especially with new, innovative technology that makes our patients feel comfortable during treatment. She relates well to patients of all ages and enjoys meeting new faces and getting to know them. Casey has a tender touch and uses her skills to educate patients about treatment before, during and post-operatively. Away from work, she loves spending time with her husband, Jeremy, and their daughter. She enjoys shopping and baking desserts (her cookies are amazing!), but her favorite pastime of all is riding four-wheels on the weekend with her family and friends.

Kari, RDH

Certified Dental Assistant
Kari graduated from Vatterott College with a Degree in Dental Assisting. She is CPR-certified and has training with Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas). She also has additional training with the digital dental scanning, Implants, and Invisalign. She enjoys providing a positive experience to patients who are anxious about treatment and allowing the self-conscious patient to love their smile again. When she’s not in the office, you can find Kari at the baseball field with her two boys and husband. She enjoys going to Cardinal games with her father and spending time with her family.

We’re Here To Help You

Dr. Rick Leppo, Dr. Caroline Connolly and your Columbia Dental Center care team are here for you.