MATTOON -- Dr. Cody Gass, who grew up in Mattoon, has joined the dental practice of doctors Jennifer Kennedy and Phil Kepp in his hometown.

Gass recently started serving as a dentist at this practice, 601 Broadway Ave., after graduating in the spring from the Southern Illinois University School of Dentistry.

"It is really nice to be able to serve the community I grew up in," Gass said.

The new dentist graduated in 2009 from Mattoon High School, where he played baseball, basketball and football. Gass said he remembers Kepp making customized mouth guards for the MHS football team when he was a player. Gass noted that he got to assist Kepp with this annual program late last month.

Gass graduated in 2013 from Eastern Illinois University, where he majored in biology and chemistry. Gass said he knew going into Eastern that he wanted to help people and work in the medical field. He said his job shadowing experience with doctors Kennedy and Kepp while he was an EIU student helped him decide to become a dentist.

As a dentist, Gass said he enjoys being able to work with his hands and to develop relationships with his patients. Gass said he has seen many familiar faces from around Mattoon since he joined the dental practice.

"Doctors Kennedy and Kepp have been awesome, great mentors," Gass said.

Kepp said Gass told him, when he was a student, that he wanted to work in general practice dentistry and to have the opportunity to work in sports dentistry too. Kepp said he is glad to help provide these opportunities for Gass. Kepp said he has been getting good reports about Gass from patients and staff members since he joined the dental practice.

"I think its absolutely phenomenal that we have someone with such great character and ability," Kepp said.

More information is available by calling the dental practice of doctors Kennedy, Kepp and Gass at 217-235-0556.