You have an interesting family story growing up as your father was also a dentist. Tell us about your journey?
My journey began as a child watching my Mom and Dad run a successful dental practice in Opelika, Alabama for nearly 40 years. My dad is retired now, but through the years I developed a desire in my own heart to help the needs of others just like he did. There was something very special about seeing friends, meeting new patients, and forming lifetime relationships that interested me. Being able to care for the needs of patients, and building their trust, is something that has motivated me in my own career.
I graduated from Auburn High School and went on to graduate from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences. I spent some time after college reaffirming my desire to become a dentist by working with a woman-owned cosmetic dental practice in Vestavia, Alabama. In this office, I saw another side of dentistry: how to balance time with family as a mother with a career in dentistry. Life long lessons on this balance have been a part of my life ever since.
In 2003, I gave in to my calling and made the decision to enter the UAB School of Dentistry. During dental school, my boyfriend (now husband Brent) proposed and we were married in March of 2005. My husband grew up about 20 mins north of Birmingham, AL, where his dad was a veterinarian at Stewart Animal Clinic. We decided to settle in Gardendale due to the close proximity to UAB Dental School and his family. I’ll be honest, we planned and hoped for children one day and having grandparents nearby was a necessity for two working parents! As chance would have it, during my senior year, we were blessed with the birth of our first daughter, Bailey. With a loving and supportive husband beside me, I graduated in 2007 with a Doctorate of Dental Medicine …. and a precious 6 month old baby girl!
How long have you been practicing and what led you to choose Gardendale to lay down roots in Gardendale?
I have been practicing dentistry for 16 years. We have lived in Gardendale for over 18 years and began our life here well before I purchased my practice. We bought our first house on Gardendale Drive and began our journey on a shoestring budget and a lot of faith. After working as an associate dentist for several years and building my skills, I desired to own my own practice and work closer to family and my community.
We contacted an agent who could help us purchase a dental practice, and the timing was perfect! A general practice was for sale in Gardendale and it was only 2 miles from our house! We prayed earnestly for this decision, and the Lord gave us peace that this was where we should raise our family and begin my practice. In April of 2012, we opened our doors as Stewart Family Dentistry, and I have practiced here in Gardendale ever since.
In the last couple of years you moved into a new building that really looks wonderful. Tell us about making that decision and how that has changed the level of services you can now offer your patients?
My husband and I dreamed of owning our own property (and not paying rent for another decade)! We looked for properties around Gardendale, and then made an offer on the building on Main Street. I honestly drove by this property for years(I mean YEARS!), dreaming of owning it and being close to the kids’ schools…and having a bigger parking lot! Our offer was accepted and with many sleepless nights of planning and dreaming, our office was finished and we opened our doors in December of 2021.
We are now within walking distance of the three Gardendale schools, the community Civic Center, and the main business hub of our wonderful city. We hope to use our space to host many events as our kids go through school here, and have loved the support of our patients and this growing city. Our roots run deep now as we have a child in each of the schools in Gardendale, and are members of Church of the Highlands.
Our dental services have always been centered around quality care with the trust of our patients being at the core of all that we do. Our philosophy is to provide dentistry with the same care we would want to provide our own family. We now have nitrous(otherwise known as “laughing gas”) as an aid to help relax our patients, and we, most recently, started offering botox injectables. Training with the American Academy of Facial Esthetics, I look forward to adding this to our practice and treating patients. Our standards of care and serving our patients will never change. We keep an honest and ethical approach and have grown our practice with this foundation.
Your logo is always seen in many places around town as a sponsor to teams and organizations. How important is it to you to give back to your local community?
I hope to continue to give financially: to our precious teachers and local schools, to our church, to multiple local sports organizations, and to our growing city of Gardendale. My heart has been to help, in some way, with events that bring kids together like the GES Fall Festival, the Rocket Run, and the 6th grade Homecoming get-together. Sponsoring multiple young people in their sporting events and giving back in our schools and local events, continues to be an area I’d like to invest in.
On a much lighter note, many friends of ours, which I truly cherish, seem to find amusement in me taking care of our lawn. I honestly enjoy being outside whenever I can. Raised in a family of all girls, my dad taught us how to take care of our home. We mowed, weed-eated, and blew the driveway! Although I receive lots of offers for help, I’m training my kids the same way…to take care of their homes and investments.
A little sweat equity goes a long way!!