Hoover Business Spotlight: Get to Know Dr. Spaulding of Ross Bridge Dentistry
Finding Her Calling
Jason Will: How and when did you realize that you wanted to be a dentist:
Dr. Spaulding: Dentistry is in my DNA. My mom has been a dentist for 30 years and my dad owned a dental communications company. They created a dental practice in a suburb of Atlanta. It has a family friendly work environment, where onsite child care is provided for patients and staff. My three brothers and I literally went to work with our parents every day until we reached school age. At that point, my mom and dad’s office became my bus stop and my after school care. Dentistry was first introduced to me as a profession when I was 15. One of my mother’s dental assistants abruptly resigned prior to the start of summer break. I didn’t have a summer job lined up yet, so I was drafted to help out. Up until this point, I hadn’t fully grasped the scope of my mom’s role. All I really knew was that my mom “fixed and cleaned teeth” but that was about the extent of it. I didn’t really understand that my mom and dad were business owners or how important a person’s smile is to their self confidence. My occupational calling began to reveal itself during the time I spent at my mother’s side, watching her care for her patients. My dad enjoyed teaching me the business part of owning your own practice. Accounting, technology and team building are his strengths and I learned a lot.
Jason Will: Where did you earn your degrees?
Dr. Spaulding: I completed my undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Georgia. By graduation time, I was ready to spread my wings. I longed to explore a new city, in a new state, with an entirely different culture from my southern roots. I applied to 16 dental schools across the country and got accepted by eight of them. In the end, it came down to the affordability of Georgia vs. an adventure waiting in Boston. Adventure tipped the scale and I spent the next several years thriving in my new city and attending Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. Soon after I started dental school I met my future husband, Andrew. He was studying at Northeastern University and we survived graduate school together. We married shortly after we both graduated.
The Navigation Back South
Jason Will: Why did you leave Boston?
Dr. Spaulding: My husband is a PhD chemist and he received an offer from a local pharmaceutical company, Biocryst. His job gave us a chance to move back to the south and be closer to my family in Atlanta. When I first moved here, I went to work for a fast paced dental practice in Hoover. When the pandemic hit, dental offices were shut down for several weeks, and that left me in a limbo situation of employment. That’s when I realized that the most certain thing I could do was to buy my own practice. I wasn’t expecting to own so soon, but my parent’s entrepreneurial experience and my husband’s support helped to fill in the gaps and give me the confidence to take a leap of faith.
Jason Will: How did you end up in Ross Bridge?
Dr. Spaulding: Dr. Gia Brothers started the practice here in Ross Bridge in 2009. She wanted to homeschool her children during the pandemic. She started looking for a dentist to purchase the practice around the same time that I began looking for a practice to buy. When I came by to tour the office, it was actually the first time I had ever visited Ross Bridge. I quickly realized that this was not just an opportunity to own a practice, it was also an opportunity to be an integral part of this amazing community. As soon as I saw the family centric nature of this community, I thought to myself, “If I can make this work, then when we’re ready to start a family of our own, I’d be able to bring the baby to work, just like my mom did with me.” I didn’t know it at the time, but I was pregnant. Less than a year after buying Ross Bridge Dentistry, I gave birth to our son, Riley. We purchased the condo above the office, so he’ll be able to go to Deer Valley Elementary and be able to ride the school bus over here. At lunch time, I bring him to the park right next to the office. I get to practice in the most family friendly neighborhood in Birmingham!
Not your typical dentist.
Jason Will: What sets your dental practice apart from others in the area?
#1 We are not insurance driven. That doesn’t mean that we don’t take insurance. I would say over 95% of our patients have dental insurance, but we do not let your insurance plan dictate your overall dental care. When new patients come in, they recieve a comprehensive plan to keep their teeth for a lifetime. We take a full mouth series of X-rays in order to create a health record for every single tooth. We also take periodontal (gum) measurements in order to map out the bone health around your teeth. We take intraoral pictures of everything and use our intra-oral scanner to 3-D render your mouth. Our aim is to provide an extremely thorough examination and treatment plan. We will lay out the best recommendations and go over various options to obtain the same goal: great oral health. In a more insurance driven practice, to accommodate everyone, a dentist must get patients in and out quickly. To do that, you have to jump from room to room, leaving very little time for a more personal approach. At Ross Bridge Dentistry every single checkup is either an hour or an hour and a half depending on the patient’s individual needs. At my prior dental office, it was common for me to see 30 patients in a day. I did not have time to get to know them, and I know I might have missed important things because I wasn’t able to spend the right amount of time accessing their medical needs. So, we operate at a slower pace, yet we deliver a much higher quality of care. Focusing on quality not quantity also helps us better serve the community by having the capacity to handle emergency procedures. If someone breaks a tooth, they’ll be seen that day and you can even schedule online with a few clicks.
#2 We are technology driven. In addition to digital x-rays and touchless forms, we also have a scanner that allows us to create 3-D model of our patient’s teeth. This gives our patients an opportunity to be more involved in their diagnosis and to clearly see the problem area, as well as get a clear visual of their treatment plan. We take intraoral pictures of everyone’s teeth before, during and after treatment, so they can see what we see.
#3 We believe in educating our patients. I love educational videos. Having the opportunity to educate my patients is something that is very important to me. I want to make sure that my patients understand everything that I am recommending. Every mouth is unique and it is important for everyone to know what is going on inside of their own body. It is also equally important to educate patients on the oral hygiene and habits that can prevent cavities, broken teeth and gum disease. I had the luxury of growing up inside of a dental office. Not everyone did.That is why I have a goal of breaking down all of dentistry into easy to understand videos and diagrams. I want to meet people wherever they are when it comes to their knowledge about dental health. Most people were taught the importance of brushing their teeth, but that is kind of where some people’s dental education ended. I’ve started creating short (1-3 minute) videos on our TikTok, Instagram and Facebook explaining everything from toothbrush recommendations to the way Botox melts away wrinkles.
#4 We offer cosmetic dentistry. We have many treatment options to get you closer to the smile of your dreams. We utilize clear aligners to straighten teeth and offer three different teeth whitening options to brighten your smile. Some patients prefer to simply straighten or whiten their teeth with the use of veneers and crowns, we do that as well at Ross Bridge Dentistry.
#5 We offer Botox. Enough said.
Jason Will: What’s your elevator pitch?
Dr. Spaulding: We’re a one stop shop for Family and Cosmetic Dentistry. We slow down and take the time to get to know you as an individual. We are already your neighbor, give us the opportunity to be your dental home!