Drs. Liz Martin Kidder and Dustin Kidder practice together every day and are expecting their first child this month. Photo by Collin Richie.

Timing is everything: Married dentists Liz and Dustin Kidder

For dentists Liz Martin Kidder and Dustin Kidder, it was not love at first sight. Not even close. They both were attending a dental conference in New Orleans when local oral surgeon Dr. Rick Akin invited them and others to a small private dinner at Antoine’s restaurant. Liz and Dustin sat across from each other.

“At first I didn’t like him,” remembers Liz. “But throughout the evening he kind of grew on me.”

She returned to her home in Minnesota, and Dustin remained in touch. He ultimately invited her to an LSU football game, and while in Baton Rouge that weekend, the duo decided that she should move here.

“I believe timing is a critical part of the success of any relationship,” says Liz. “I was definitely tired of the cold winters, and everyone in Baton Rouge welcomed me wholeheartedly from the start. We didn’t have a long courtship—we married 13 months after we met—but we are both in our 30s, both had been married before, so we knew what we wanted from a partner and in life. It has never felt rushed.”

The couple works in the same office every day and is expecting their first child this month. inRegister sat down with Liz recently to learn how she and Dustin keep their marriage and their dental practice flourishing.

The Kidders, married a little over a year ago, admit that it was not love at first sight for them as Hollywood movies would suggest, but their commitment and their common interests keep their love alive. Photo courtesy Liz Kidder.

This is a month known for romance. Are either of you romantic by nature? 

We both have a pretty good sense of humor more than a sense of romance, but we make a constant effort to make each other feel appreciated. Dustin will surprise me with flowers, or a really well-thought-out gift, I try to make sure I always have a cheesy card to celebrate every birthday and holiday. We both recognize the importance of romance, but more so we try to focus on the bigger picture—keeping each other as our No. 1 priority, being good citizens of our community, valuing our families and friendships, keeping sight of our bigger long-term goals, and taking time away from everyday stuff. We both read a book last year that discussed the idea of focusing on splurging on experiences rather than material goods, and it really resonated with both of us. We try to keep that in mind when it comes to holidays and gifts. We love to travel and try new things, so as much as possible we look for things we can look forward to, plan and experience together rather than buying each other things.

How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

I’m pretty sure I can safely say this Valentine’s Day will be a unique one, as we are expecting our first baby around the beginning of February! I’m sure we’ll do something a little special on that day; maybe we’ll get some nice steaks that we can make at home or open a nice bottle of wine or Champagne we’ve been saving. We’ll have a lot to celebrate this year.

The two of you have your dental practice together. Does working together enhance a marriage or hinder it?

When I made the decision to move here, we were both very against working together. I am naturally an extremely independent person—I had my own practice in Minnesota and had always hoped to be a solo practitioner. However, as was the case with our relationship in the beginning, the timing worked out that it really made sense for me to join him.

At night what do you talk about? People’s cavities, bridges, etc.?

There is always a bit of that—it’s tough to get away from it! But we’re just like any couple; you can only talk about work so much and then we get into other things. It’s fun because a lot of dentists practice alone and only get to talk shop at continuing education courses.

Who cooks? Do you share household chores?

Believe it or not, Dustin does most of the cooking; he’s fantastic at it! We really do share the household chores. We joke a lot because Dustin is not very handy at all. As my dad would say, he doesn’t know which end of the hammer he’s supposed to hold. I grew up with a father who could fix anything around the house—he would never let us throw anything away. Once he took a broken hairdryer out of the trash because he wanted to save it for parts! Some of those skills passed on to me, so I tend to do the more “masculine” tasks around the house, like hanging shelves, painting, installing bathroom fixtures, and he does the cooking and laundry! There’s a lot of work involved in owning a home with two people working full time, so we both make a concerted effort to share the load.

You’re going to have a baby this month.Will you take him or her to the office?

Who knows? No, I’m kidding. The baby might make an occasional appearance at the office, but we are both too busy to be worried about taking care of a baby while we are at work. This whole thing is a learning process for both of us. We are working on finding the best childcare fit for our family, which is no small task in Baton Rouge! Call us crazy, but we know it will all work out and we’ll find a good fit for us and our child.