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Meet the Winston-Salem Team!


Dr. Charles Kidroske

Lead Dentist

Meet Dr Charles N. Kidroske AKA “Dr Charles”
Dr Charles has been with Smile Starters since 2006
He served in the Army as a dental assistant from 1993 to 2001. He was stationed in Friedberg Germany, Skopje Macedonia, Lawton Oklahoma and Seoul Korea. In 2001 he left active duty to attend under graduate school full time at Cameron University in Lawton Oklahoma. In 2002, one year short of his bachelors in chemistry, he was accepted into the University of Oklahoma’s College of Dentistry. Dr Charles Graduated in 2006 and moved to Colfax, North Carolina.
He has served as the lead dentist in the Winston- Salem Office since 2008, he also served as the lead dentist in the Greensboro Smile Starters office 2009-2011. He loves working with children because he gets to juggle, tell jokes, calm the nervous patients and even allow the patients to play pranks on his assistants. Seeing a frightened patient enter the office and leave after treatment with a smile on their face is one of his greatest joys.
Family Life
He has been married to the love of his life Tara, for over 29 years. They have an amazing son and 2 beautiful daughters. He and his wife enjoy spending time with their children and their dog Bentley. They are foodies who haven’t met a cuisine they do not enjoy. Having traveled to every U.S. state at least twice, most of Mexico, all of the southern providences of Canada, Europe and Asia, U.S. and international travel is their passionate hobby.
Funny Fact
Jessica Mckoy his Office Manager was a student in the Butzbach Elementary kindergarten class in Butzbach, Germany, when, then Private Kidroske, lived two blocks away from the school in temporary housing.


Jessica McKoy

Office Manager

Meet Jessica, the Office Manager at our Smile Starters Winston Salem location. Jessica started her dental career over 10 years ago as a treatment coordinator and transitioned into dental office management. She has been a part of the Smile Starters team since 2019. Jessica enjoys interacting with patients and helping the parents in any way possible. In her spare time, she enjoys crafting, shopping, and hanging with family and friends (especially her niece Sophia). 


Kristen Ashley

Lead Hygienist

Meet our Lead Hygienist, Kristen. Kristen was born in Richmond, Virginia but has called North Carolina home since 2005. Kristen received her Bachelor of Science degree from Radford University in Exercise, Sport, and Health Education in 2005. She continued her education, receiving an Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene from GTCC in 2013. Kristen joined the Smile Starters team in 2014. Kristen is passionate in educating children with their oral health and helping children have the best time at the dentist.

Outside of work, Kristen enjoys spending time with her husband and dog Chloe. She enjoys the beach, traveling and spending time outdoors.


Nichole Covert

Lead Dental Assistant

Meet our Lead Assistant, Nichole. Nichole has been an asset to Smile Starters since she began in 2014. Nichole has been working in the capacity of lead dental assistant since 2019. Nichole has been recognized by members of the staff who admire her work ethic and dedication to her patients. Nichole started at Smile Starters as a Dental Assistant I,, worked her way up to Dental Assistant II, has worked in the Admin department, and is now currently our lead dental assistant. 

Nichole enjoys spending time with her husband Ryan, and their daughter, Ava. In her spare time, she enjoys crafting, fishing with her family, hunting, and going to the lake.

We are always excited to see you! Visit us at: 2041 Silas Creek Pkwy. Winston-Salem,NC 27103


Dr. Maria D. Lavandero

Pediatric Dentist

Meet Dr. Maria. Dr. María joined the Smile Starters team in 2013. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she has a BA in Biology from University of Puerto Rico and then received her Doctorate of Dental Medicine from UPR School of Dental Medicine. She continued her professional training and earned her certificate in pediatric dentistry from Boston University. Dr María is board certified with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.


She practiced pediatric dentistry in Puerto Rico for 25 years and was Assistant Professor in Pediatric Dentistry at the UPR School of Dental Medicine before relocating to North Carolina. Dr. María really enjoys treating kids, seeing them become confident and at ease when receiving dental treatment. She loves teaching kids how to keep a healthy and beautiful smile.


She is an avid reader and a world traveler. On her spare time, when she is at home, she enjoys gardening and hiking our beautiful state parks.


Dr. Antwan Bates

Dentist/ OR Dentist

Meet Dr. Antwan Bates. Dr. Bates has been with Smile Starters since 2012. He joined the Army in 2012 and is still currently serving. He attended Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry in Nashville, TN, where he calls home. He also attended LSU for his certification in hospital dentistry.

Dr. Bates started at our Greensboro location in 2012. He then moved to our Winston Salem location in 2017, where he currently practices. Dr. Bates is the appointed OR dentist for the Winston Salem location, where he has the ability to complete dental treatment in a hospital setting. 

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