Cover Story: Spangler & Rohlfing Pediatric Dentistry—Where Kids Can Be Kids!
by Patty Jo Sawvel ~
From the likes of her first visit, no one would have guessed that Gail Thurber Rohlfing would grow up to be a dentist. In fact, this three-year-old threw such a terrible temper tantrum that her mother picked her up and marched her out of the office before she ever made it past the waiting room. Gail tried to get out of the next visit too, but her mother made her stay.
After that, she still felt a tension during her six-month check-ups, but she did not act on it. Then at age five, Gail spontaneously announced that she wanted to be a dentist. She drew teeth on her Mrs. Beasley doll and every night she brushed two sets of teeth—hers and Mrs. Beasley’s. When she was old enough, Gail took steps to turn her dream into a reality.
“I have always loved working with children and I wanted to create an experience where kids would not be afraid, where they would have fun, and where they would have positive dental experiences,” Dr. Gail Rohlfing said.
So she chose the best schools possible for her 11 year educational journey. It was when she was selected as one of two resident students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, that she met Gina Spangler.
Dr. Gina Spangler shared warmly, “The first time we met, we just clicked. We were the only two students in the program and we were best friends. It was a dream come true when we went into practice together.”
Today, that dream dental office—where kids feel like kings and queens and everything is designed with them in mind—has been a reality for 18 years. Beth Morphis said that when she tells her daughter that she is going to Dr. Gina’s you would think that she told her she was going to Disney world. She looks forward to it all day, and this is from a kid with a challenging mouth. She has actually had to have a tooth extracted and several fillings.
“This dental practice makes the children feel so special, so comfortable, and so at ease,” said Beth graciously, “that my eight-year-old daughter has decided that she wants to be a dentist.”
This is where the additional three years of pediatric dentistry training really pays off for the dentist and the little patients.
“We do not give kids shots; we give them sleepy medicine to put the tooth to sleep. And we do not use a drill; we use Mr. Whistler (a drill with water) and Mrs. Bumpy (drill) to chase away the sugar bug hiding in their teeth. By using this child-friendly approach, most of our little patients do not even know that they have gotten a shot or a filling,” Dr. Gail Rohlfing explained.
This is exactly the kind of dentistry that Dr. Sam Ajizian and his wife, Dr. Vanessa Ajizian, wanted for their children. So when they moved from Las Vegas to Winston-Salem 12 years ago, they started asking around.
“I found out quickly that this is where the pediatric experts take their children! The dentists there have extra skill—not just in dental care, but in the best way to care for children. Their office is geared entirely for children, and now my wife and I refer all of our patients to Spangler and Rohlfing Pediatric Dentistry,” said Dr. Sam Ajizian.
Last year, Dr. Spangler and Dr. Rohlfing welcomed Dr. Kate Lambert aboard. Amazingly, all three dentists shared the same mentor and it was at his suggestion that they became a trio. Dr. Kate specializes in infant oral health, children with special health care needs, and craniofacial anomalies.
“Dr. Kate Lambert is such a dynamo. Not only is she an excellent dentist, but she takes on the most difficult tasks. When we decided to go paperless, she asked ‘What can I do? Can I take this off of you?’ and she put our whole staff to ease. I love her spirit!” exclaimed Dr. Spangler.
Mandy McNeill loves Dr. Kate Lambert’s compassion. Dr. Kate has been seeing baby Eli since he was one week old. He was born with a cleft lip and palate and Dr. Kate makes his nasoalveolar molding (an appliance he wears on his face 23 hours a day) which must be adjusted for growth every 10 days.
“I drive an hour and a half one way to see Dr. Kate and I would drive three hours one way if I had to. She handles Eli as if he was her own child. She cuddles him, plays with him, and he loves her. That makes it so much easier for me as his mom,” Mandy shared.
Dr. Kate Lambert is part of Eli’s craniofacial team at Wake Forest Baptist Health Brenners Children’s Hospital. But she also helps typical children just like Dr. Gail and Dr. Gina.
Cindy Resendes, mother of two, noted, “I never believed in pediatric dentists. I loved my family dentist and I wanted to take my kids there. But my family dentist recommended that I take my children to Dr. Kate. My respect for him went through the roof because he cared enough to send them to a dentist that is trained just to work with kids and they love it!”
Last fall, Spangler & Rohlfing Pediatric Dentistry opened a second office in Kernersville. It was a godsend for their many Kernersville patients.
“This saves me so much time and it is so much easier on the kids,” said Mayor Dawn Morgan. “For the past 13 years, I have been driving my children to Winston-Salem and now their dentists are just a few minutes away.
Mayor Morgan added with a laugh, “Originally, I thought you had to have a doctor’s referral to take your child to a pediatric dentist. I am so glad that I found out that any child can go there. They make the experience so fun and relaxing for the children.”
Actually, the practice is pretty fun and relaxing for the three doctors too. They arrange their schedules so that each doctor has plenty of time with her family. Dr. Gina Spangler and her husband Dr. Vic Spangler can always count on Dr. Gail or Dr. Kate to assist them if they need to take time off to support the activities of their three children—Hudson, Avery, and Sophia. Hudson, by the way, has decided to attend dental school.
Dr. Gail Rohlfing can count on the team to give her plenty of flexibility to spend time with her husband Paul, and their two sons, Grant and Pierce. Dr. Kate Lambert and her husband, Trey, have not yet started their family, but they have a really cool dog, Harper. And, they know that when they do have children, the team will support their family needs.
“We are delighted to open our second office in Kernersville because this is a community that truly values family and children. For years Kernersville came to us, and now we are returning the favor. The community has made us feel so welcome,” said Dr. Gina Spangler.
MORE ABOUT US
Dr. Gina Spangler – Pediatric Dentist, 18 years
Dr. Gail Rohlfing – Pediatric Dentist, 18 years
Dr. Kate Lambert – Pediatric Dentist, Surgeon
Serving Children Birth to Age 21
- Preventative Care
- Fillings, Crowns, Extractions
- Special Needs Including Cleft Palate
- Craniofacial Anomalies
900 Old Winston Road, Suite 210, Kernersville, NC 27284
336.992.9222 • www.happykidssmiles.com
- When preparing children for their first dentist appointment, one or two days before the visit, read one book or watch one video. Resist the urge to over-prepare them as this can actually frighten them.
- Children are more relaxed when they see other children having fun at the dentist’s office. Before choosing a pediatric dentist, peek your head in the door and see if it is designed specifically for young children and teens.
- Children smile 400 times a day. Help keep that smile bright by regular dental check-ups. First checks are recommended at age 12 months.