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Dr. Katie Bullwinkel and pediatric patient

Dr. Katie Bullwinkel and pediatric patient

The building is the same, as is the staff inside, as well as the orthodontist helping to bring brighter smiles and increased self-confidence to patients. There’s a new name and a new logo, but everything else about what had been the orthodontics wing of Summerville Pediatric Dentistry remains comfortably unchanged.

That’s because the new name is really a familiar one: Dr. Katie Bullwinkel, orthodontist with Summerville Pediatric Dentistry since January of 2016, has started a new practice called Bullwinkel Orthodontics. Her office at 405 West 5th North St. was the original home of Summerville Pediatric Dentistry, and while the two offices are not affiliated, she maintains close ties to Dr. Dorothy Baker at the dentist’s current office down the street.

“It was an opportunity I could not pass up,” says Bullwinkel, a native of Chapin, S.C., graduate of The Medical University of S.C. and a mother of three.

“This office is a perfect fit for me—I have a background in pediatric psychology, and I have my own experience with children by being a working mom and a busy mom. I know what it’s like to have kids and take them for appointments, so I think I bring a personal touch to the office that makes it special. And it’s always been a dream of mine to own my own office, and Dottie was wonderful enough to help me realize that dream.”

Stronger Than Ever

Dr. Katie Bullwinkel doing orthodontic work on a pediatric patient

Dr. Katie Bullwinkel doing orthodontic work on a pediatric patient

Bullwinkel, whose husband is from Charleston, split her time between working at offices in Mount Pleasant and her native Chapin before an opening arose for an orthodontist at the practice then called Summerville Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics. She joined Baker’s practice, and the connection was instant—to the point where Baker knew it was Bullwinkel who would one day take over her orthodontics wing.

As Summerville Pediatric Dentistry grew larger and busier, Baker moved the dentistry wing to another building at 384 East 5th North St., where it’s currently located. Over Christmas, she approached Bullwinkel about taking over the orthodontics practice.

“Once she realized it was a good fit for her and her patients, she knew this would be the plan,” Bullwinkel says. “We’d been talking about it for a while, and this was the time to do it.”

The purchase became official in January. Bullwinkel says patients will notice no difference other than the new logo, and that her relationship with Baker—whom she called a mentor, and says coached her so she was ready to open her own office—is stronger than ever.

“We still communicate on the back end, we still text every day, we still communicate about our patients,” Bullwinkel said. “Dottie and I are great friends. We talk all the time. This is just my opportunity to realize a dream, and she’s been very instrumental in helping me with that.”

A People Person at Heart

Growing up, orthodontics was not exactly the career field Bullwinkel foresaw for herself. She was more interested in architecture, until she realized during a shadowing assignment that it lacked the personal interaction she desired. As someone who did her own time in braces, Bullwinkel wound up working after school for her orthodontist, who helped her see that the profession combined design elements—just for teeth, rather than a building—with people skills.

“It brought together that design and artistic element, and also kids and families and people,” she says. “I’m just a people person at heart. I come from a long line of teachers, and there’s lot of teaching and coaching in orthodontics. You really have to have the patient on your side, no matter what the treatment.”

Now, she’s putting those skills to use in an office with her own name out front. If your child is in need of orthodontic care, contact Bullwinkel Orthodontics at (843) 285-5315, or visit their website at BullwinkelOrtho.com for further information.