Ross Penland, DMD

Susan Bridges, DDS

Jessica Tomberlin, DMD

Haley Buff-Lindner, DMD, PhD

Martha Hardaway, DMD, MS

Matt Leach, DDS

Growing Smiles Pediatric Dentistry © 2023

Kayla - DAII

Kayla is a dental assistant who has kept us on our toes and laughing ever since she joined our staff a year ago. Never one to meet a stranger, her bubbly personality and infectious laugh ensures that our patients and parents enjoy their visit and feel as though they are a part of the GS family.

Amber - DAII

Amber has been a dental assistant with Growing Smiles for 5 years during which time she has brought us so much joy with her sweet and caring personality! Not only is she a DA in office but she also holds hospital credentials and assists with procedures under General Anesthesia. Her fun loving approach and sweet country accent make even our littlest patients feel right at home.

Jackie- Front Office

Jackie has been with Growing Smiles for five years and has been that super helpful sweet voice you hear on the phone when you call our Hickory office! She's also the one to speak to if you need a referral to an orthodontist or an oral surgeon. Jackie loves dogs, her two daughters, and most importantly the TARHEELS.

Tammy - Hospital Coordinator

Tammy, official title - Hospital Coordinator, real title - the OG of Growing Smiles! After more than twenty years with this practice she knows it all! There is rarely anything that goes on during the day that this amazing lady doesn't have her hands in! Currently she schedules hospital procedures for both Dr. Ross and Dr. Haley at both hospitals but through the years she has done a little of it all. I'm positive that she made your child's visit just a little easier on you whether it was verifying your insurance before their visit, answering questions while you were there or just being a familiar face from visit to visit.

Heather is a DAII and has been with Growing Smiles for almost 20 years!!! Having worked with Dr. Waldron in Newton before Dr. Ross joined the practice in 2011, Heather brings many years of experience as well as caring heart to every patient she sees. She remembers all of her patients and they definitely remember her sweet smile, loving personality and excellent skill. Beautiful, sweet and hardworking, she gives so much to Growing Smiles and to our patients and we are so thankful to have her.

Heather - DAII

Chana- DAII

Chana serves as a DAII in our Hickory office but she's much more than that. She has been a motivator for our staff with her positive attitude and fun ideas. She keeps us on our toes wondering what she may say next and keeps our hearts filled with the love she so freely shares. She keeps our office up to date on infection control, sterilization techniques and supplies to ensure that your child's appointment is safe and fun. She’s also pursuing her dental assisting certification and will transition to a new role at GS. Our designated photographer, joke teller, and organizer we are so thankful to have her as part of the GS family.

Meet Kelsea! A DAII who joined our staff last year when we opened our new office in Morganton. She has worked in both offices as a dental assistant, assisted in sterilization and even works in the front office from time to time! She has brought so much laughter to our days with her fun personality, crazy laugh and insane love for Luke Keuchly.  She's also the mastermind behind all of the amazing event decorations seen in our Hickory office.

Kelsea - DAII

Emily has been a DAII with Growing Smiles since she graduated from the assisting program at WPCC in 2012, from Newton to Hickory and Morganton! From every move we've made, Emily has been there with her positive attitude, sweet soul and mermaid hair. She always been a joyous member of our staff but her two sweet daughters instilled a kindness and understanding in her that does not go unnoticed by our patients. We have tv's on the ceiling so your little one can watch their favorite movie while they get their teeth brushed and they love singing along with Ms. Emily!

Emily - DAII

Kathy is a Dental Assistant II and works primarily in our Hickory office. She also maintains credentials at Frye Surgery Center where she assists Dr. Haley and Dr. Ross with dental procedures under General Anesthesia. She loves spending time with her daughter, close friends and fishing with her husband.

Kathy - DAII

Anne is our Insurance Specialist in our Morganton office! With years of experience in medical billing and having worked in both our Hickory and Morganton offices, she is sure to be able to help with anything you need! Fun fact- Anne is Dr. Ross' mother!!!

Anne - Insurance Specialist

Jess is a wonder woman! She translates, she assists, she works in the front office, she maintains hospital credentials, the list goes on and on! She's talented and dedicated and her love for Growing Smiles is outweighed only by her love for her son who we call our Baby Larry.

Jess - Front Office, DA

Bekah graduated from the DA program at WPCC and joined Growing Smiles last year. She has worked in both our Hickory and Morganton office and is our only red head lol!!! Her sweet, nurturing approach makes our patients feel more at ease and makes all of us enjoy working with her everyday.

Bekah - DAII

Sommer, sweet Sommer, works at the front desk and is the first face you see when you walk into our Morganton office! Her kind, caring nature is so infectious and when you call in, I guarantee her southern twang will welcome you right into our Growing Smiles family!

Sommer - Front Office

Panda - DAII

Panda is a DAII and has been in Dentistry for almost 10 years. She loves spending time with her husband and three children going hiking, camping and traveling with dimples as big as her heart her sweet personality eases even our most nervous patients.

Meet Kim, a Certified Dental Assistant who's been with Growing Smiles for 19 years! For those of you who have met Kim during your child's dental visit know that her experience is one of many things that make her a great dental assistant. She loves the beach, riding motorcycles, kayaking, and spending time with her high school sweetheart hubby and their sweet g-baby Marlie! She lives life to the fullest which brings an easy going and exciting dental visit  for your little one!

Kim - CDA

Jessica - CDA

Jessica is a Certified Dental Assistant who has been in the dental field for more than 10 years. She brings years of experience, expertise, comedy, impersonations and laughs to our days. And the only thing bigger than her personality is her faith✝️ This sweet girl takes care of her patients as if they're her own, prays for us and blesses us with the most beautiful singing voice.

Kalia - DAII

Kalia is one of the newer members to the Growing Smiles staff and we are so lucky to have her!! She has worked in pediatric dentistry since graduating from the dental assisting program and brings enthusiasm and experience to every dental visit. She works in both our Hickory and Morganton office so there are plenty of chances to get to know this awesome lady.

Ashley - Front Office

Ashley is the call center operator for our Hickory office. Love those personal reminder calls about upcoming appointments? That's sweet Ashley who exemplifies the term excellent customer service on a daily basis. She loves spending time with her daughter, lives life to the fullest and leaves a lasting impression on all of our patient's families.

Katie - Public Relations Coordinator

Katie is the Public Relations Coordinator for Growing Smiles. A graduate of UNC Charlotte she has been a proud team member of GS since 2011 and handles all things marketing! All the corny jokes on our facebook page..yep that's her! She also oversees IT within both of our offices, schedules tooth fairy visits, spreads the word in our community about our awesome oral health services, handles all social media and actively looks for new ways to be your child's favorite dental office.

Leslie - DAII

Leslie is also a DAII and been with Growing Smiles for many years. Leslie makes every patient she sees feel comfortable and relaxed with her mama bear approach and genuine concern for the patient's experience. She's a master at convincing even those with the most anxiety that the dentist office isn't scary. She uses her experience as a mother of 3 and her love for children to guide her in making her patient's visit fun and unforgettable. Her sweet country accent and loving hugs are sure to put your child at ease.

Sydney - Front Office

Meet Sydney, Dr. Ross' younger sister!! Summer time is our favorite time of year because that's when Sydney comes home from school to work with us! We look forward to sharing her bright light all year round. She's as sweet and kind as she is pretty and leaves every person she meets better than before they met her. She sprinkles happiness everywhere she goes and never meets a stranger. She works in the front office, in sterilization, runs errands, goes to both offices, pretty much anything and everything she can do to help out during our busy summer months.

Ashley - DAII

Ashley is a DAII who has been with Growing Smiles since 2013. As the youngest of 10 children, Ashley is very used to being part of a big family and is such a wonderful part of ours. Her love of family life and for children, including her own two, makes our patients feel right at home. She inspires us daily with not only her trendy style and awesome hair but also by letting God lead her in all decisions and being foremost in her life.

Holli - CDA & Clinical Supervisor

Holli has been a truly wonderful addition to Growing Smiles! We were so fortunate to snag her a year ago and add another Certified Dental Assistant to our growing staff.  I think if you asked anyone what her most notable quality is they would mention her work ethic born out of her generous spirit. Holli is an extremely hard worker, always willing to help her coworkers, goes above and beyond for every patient she sees and truly cares about our patient's experience. Also, she doesn't just enjoy farm life in our office decor, she raises baby goats, loves animals and spending time outdoors. She's from a big family herself so she fits right into our large work family!

Daniell - DAII

Danielle is a Florida native who brought the sunshine with her to Growing Smiles! She's been in dentistry for 16 years and brightens our days with her sweet smiles and sense of humor. She also has 3 children, 3 dogs and has been married to her high school sweetheart for 16 years!

Monica - Insurance and Translator

Our Hickory office is proud to have Monica who can assist with any insurance needs as well as serve as our on-site Spanish translator! She has worked with Growing Smiles for 5 years and has probably held every single baby that has come through our doors lol!

Darla- DAII & Clinical Supervisor

Darla joined our GS family in July 2017 when we opened our Morganton office but she's not new to the dental field. With 18 years of pediatric dental experience,  Darla has been such a blessing to our growing staff.  Her clinical skills, knowledge and experience bring a level of expertise to your child's appointment that will definitely make difference if they are a little anxious about dental visits.

Tina - Front Office

This other ray of sunshine is Ms. Tina. Her experience and skills are strong and her faith is even stronger. You can count on her to schedule your next appointment but also bless you with a happy smile, sweet sentiment and positive experience as you leave our office. She enjoys spending her time with her husband and 7 year old son Collin.

Kristy - DAII

Kristy is also a DAII and been in dentistry for 10 years. She started with Growing Smiles after falling in love with pediatric dentistry during her internship for dental assisting school. Her passion and work ethic make her an incredible asset to our GS family. She also has three children that she loves traveling with and spending the weekends in the pool and she inspires us all with her home renovation projects.

Whitney - DAII

Whitney is a DAII in our Morganton office. This sweet girl graduated from the dental assisting program at WPCC two years ago and has been such a blessing to our patients with her passion for pediatric oral health care. She loves working with kids and spending time with her own two beautiful daughters!

email us

our videos

In Morganton:


110 Juniper St Suite 200

Morganton, NC 28655