Friday, April 16th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


Family-friendly, advanced dentistry

by Allison T. Williams

Drs. Kelly Paxton, Brian Midgette and James Baker<BR>Photo by The Girl Tyler

Drs. Kelly Paxton, Brian Midgette and James Baker
Photo by The Girl Tyler

Western Branch resident Keith Colby is quick to sing the praises of Midgette Family Dentistry.

On Christmas Eve a few years ago, the retired U.S. Coast Guard officer was out of state visiting family for the holidays when he cracked his tooth. Slightly panicked, he called his dentist, Dr. James Baker of Midgette Family Dentistry, for advice.

"I was terrified," Keith says, laughing about the experience now. "But Dr. Baker told me to just enjoy the holiday and to call him as soon as I got back in town."

The Chesapeake dental office is closed for the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. But two days after Christmas that year, Dr. Baker and a small team of dental technicians and office staff opened up the office long enough to fix Keith's tooth.

"They reopened the office just for me," the grateful patient says. "I was amazed that someone would go to that level of kindness and professionalism for me. How many businesses do that these days?"

Dr. Kelly Paxton, one of the practice's three general dentists, explains, "That commitment to service is exactly what patients at Midgette Family Dentistry will find every day." Although the practice is dedicated to using state-of-the-art dental technology, it's equally focused on treating patients with the same personalized, family-friendly service one might expect at a smaller practice.

"They reopened the office just for me.
 I was amazed that someone
would go to that level of kindness
and professionalism for me.
How many businesses do that these days?"

- Keith Colby

"Our dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants usually work with the same patients and we build lasting relationships over time," Dr. Paxton says.  "We are genuinely interested in hearing about our patients' children and grandchildren, their pets and the things happening in their lives."

Dr. Brian Midgette, a Western Branch native, opened the thriving dental practice in 1989, two years after earning his dentistry degree from the Medical College of Virginia. Dr. Baker, a fellow MCV graduate who operated his own local dental practice for 26 years, joined Midgette Family Dentistry in 2002.

Dr. Paxton joined the practice in 2006, after graduating from the University of Detroit's Mercy School of Dentistry. Although she initially looked at several practices in Virginia, it was Dr. Midgette's uncompromising commitment to patient care and his investments in technology that drew her to Chesapeake.

"I was looking for a dental office with the same morals and ethics as my dentist in Michigan," Dr. Paxton smiles. "I found it here."

The team at Midgette Family Dentistry <BR>Photo by The Girl Tyler

The team at Midgette Family Dentistry
Photo by The Girl Tyler

Dr. Paxton and her husband, Robert, also from Michigan, left their native state in search of adventure and to escape the cold. In the years since making their home in Western Branch, the couple has had two children: Owen, 7, and Chase, 5, who are in second grade and kindergarten, respectively.

"We love it here," Dr. Paxton says. She just purchased a new bicycle and looks forward to riding with her boys this summer.

Dr. Paxton was a teenager when she set her professional sights on dentistry, mostly because of positive experiences with her own family dentist.

"Between braces and having missing teeth that had to be replaced, I spent a lot of time in my dentist's office when I was growing up," Dr. Paxton laughs. "I liked my dentist and how he made me feel in his office. I was never afraid to go.

"One day, in junior high, I realized this would be a good career for me."

Dr. Paxton went to the University of Detroit on a track scholarship, where she learned to juggle classes, track practices and studying.

 "It taught me how to manage my time," she says. "I had to learn to study at all hours of the day. When I didn't have track in dental school, I suddenly had a lot more time to study."

Dr. Paxton says she thrives on the creative, problem-solving opportunities that dentistry offers.
"That's why I'm so passionate about dentistry," the dentist adds. "Every patient brings a new challenge, and that makes every day exciting for me."

She turns those challenges into opportunities to change the patient's outlook. "So many people don't smile because they aren't confident about the way their teeth look," she reveals. "I love being able to make a patient smile!"

Midgette Family Dentistry was one of the first in Hampton Roads to implement new digital technology in their practice. For example, patients getting a crown used to require multiple visits. Now, thanks to computer-aided design and manufacturing, the work can be completed in a single visit. First, digital scans are taken of the patient's mouth. Then, the CEREC, a milling machine, uses the digital scans to produce a permanent porcelain crown for the patient.

"It's sort of like a 3-D printer," Dr. Paxton says. "The crown looks natural, fits perfectly and saves patients time because they don't have to come back for additional appointments."

In 2016, 3-D Cone Beam Computerized Tomography was added to the practice's digital X-ray services. The machine produces 3-D digital images of the patient's mouth and allows the dentist to see the mouth from multiple angles. This helps the dentist make better assessments and more thorough diagnoses for patients.

"So many people don't smile
because they aren't confident
about the way their teeth look.
I love being able to make a patient smile!"

- Dr. Kelly Paxton

Midgette Family Dentistry strives to give patients all the dental services they need under one roof.  A periodontist, Dr. Eric Niver, works at the practice every Friday, handling all dental implants and tooth extractions.

All three dentists at Midgette Family Dentistry place a great deal of emphasis on preventative dental care. For example, on their initial visits, all new patients are screened for oral cancer and obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that is caused by a blockage of the airway during sleep. It can lead to multiple health problems if left untreated.

Dr. Paxton also encourages patients to be proactive in their dental care. When the dentist comes in after a cleaning, patients should feel free to ask questions.

"Many people are embarrassed about their teeth and don't want to talk about them," she says. "Our job is to tell patients what's wrong and explain how we can fix it, and to educate them in preventative dental care. We love our patients, but we'd really like to see them for checkups only!" Dr. Paxton laughs.

Midgette Family Dentistry

3326 Taylor Road
Chesapeake, VA 23321