Friday, April 16th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


Patience and perseverance paved Dr. Kelly Paxton's path to becoming a dentist

by Christine Knapp

Dr. Kelly Paxton of Midgette Family Dentistry

Dr. Kelly Paxton of Midgette Family Dentistry

I've known since I was in middle school that I wanted to be a dentist," Dr. Kelly Paxton of Midgette Family Dentistry says. "Growing up, I went to one dentist, and I went to him until I left for college."

Kelly, born and raised in Michigan, graduated from The University of Detroit Mercy. Upon graduation, she randomly decided that Virginia looked like a good place to put down roots.

"I looked for jobs from Washington, D.C. down to Virginia Beach. Battling cold Michigan winters, I fell in love with the area, especially the warmer weather," Kelly laughs. "It was also important to me that I was close enough to my family- only a day's drive away."

That led her to find Midgette Family Dentistry in Chesapeake. Due to the caring staff, genuine concern for patients, and well-known integrity of the practice, Midgette Family Dentistry has been a trusted practice in Western Branch for over thirty years. Kelly calls the practice "family."

"I fell in love with this office from the moment I walked in," she explains. "Dr. Baker and Dr. Midgette- they had the same morals and values as my childhood dentist. They care about their patients and provide top-notch technology. I was impressed at our first meeting, and well- the rest is history. I've been here since I started my career, and that was 14 years ago."

Kelly credits her childhood dentist as the motivation for her to pursue dentistry.

"My dentist growing up, Dr. Schoonover, he influenced me and my career path to become a dentist," Kelly explains. "He let me work for him over the summer and helped feed my desire to work in the dental field. He truly showed me what dentistry was all about, and I will be forever grateful for his friendship and mentorship," she recalls.

Kelly's career path to becoming a dentist wasn't always easy. She ran track during her undergraduate studies, and she traveled with her sports team while pursuing her biology degree. She explains that when she went to dental school, it was a breath of fresh air because she could focus more on her studies and not be torn to pursue two passions at once.

"I still run," she smiles. "I'm never going to be a marathon runner, but I love the way running makes me feel, and everyone needs that something that motivates them to reach for more. Balancing track and school helped me become very organized and disciplined in prioritizing my time," she describes.

Long hours of studying, the balancing of priorities, patience, and perseverance- they all led to achieving her dreams of getting through dental school, becoming a dentist, and finding an office that she loves.

"In the dental world, we all work together, and if there's a problem, we always lean on each other," she says. "I surround myself with a great network of specialists- folks who have helped me develop and advance my career. This includes Dr. Midgette and Dr. Baker, as well as oral surgeons, orthodontists, periodontists, and others. I always have someone I can call," she smiles.

Kelly, has been married to husband, Robert, for eleven years. He shares in her joy of raising their two young boys, Owen and Chase.

"It really just goes back to my experience as a child
 and the feeling I always had walking into my dentist's office.
That staff always went above and beyond with any dental problems...
That's the type of dentist I want to be for our patients."

- Dr. Kelly Paxton

"When I'm not in the office, I enjoy spending time with my kids," she says, beaming. "Since I was athletic growing up, I enjoy going to games and partaking in these activities with my boys, too. I like to be involved with their practices, play basketball or baseball, "play cook' with them, and just share in their interests and what makes them unique and special."

Kelly feels very lucky to have the family and career she's always wanted.

"I'm at the point in my career where I know how to solve any problems that come my way- whether in the office or on the ballfield," she explains. "When a patient walks in, I'm able to find out what needs to be done and how to solve their problem by asking questions and using my experience and knowledge to help them. I'm proud of where I am now and wouldn't have it any other way."

"It really just goes back to my experience as a child and the feeling I always had walking into my dentist's office," she continues. "That staff always went above and beyond with any dental problems I had. Once I was at a high school dance and my bridge, that replaced a front tooth, was knocked out. I found the bridge after the dance, and my dentist came in on the weekend to put it back in for me. As a teenager, this meant so much! I didn't have to walk into school with missing teeth. That's the type of dentist I want to be for our patients."

Not only are Kelly's patients important to her, but so are her staff and team members.

"Recently, one of my assistants told me she really loves working here. She feels like she belongs here and is a valued member of the team, and it makes us feel good. We are very close to our employees and the staff, and even though we've had some folks retire, we remain close. Our patients are an extension of that family as well," she says.

When Kelly is not at the office or with her sons on the weekends, you can find her pursuing volunteer work at the Church of the Resurrection, attending local concerts with her husband, or traveling to see family in Michigan.

When asked what advice she would give to women pursuing careers in business, she pauses for a moment.

"Find what you enjoy doing and do that to the best of your ability," she replies. "Don't do something halfway. If you want to be the best at it, you have to keep going. Education, learning- it's a long-term pursuit. Many people quit early on because if it's not working in the short-term, they think they must find something else. But the things that are truly worth fighting for sometimes take a little longer, so don't give up."

Midgette Family Dentistry

3326 Taylor Road
Chesapeake, VA 23321