Dr. Calvin White DDS
Dental patients enjoy 45 years of White teeth
By Melissa James, York County Contributor
Hometown dentist Dr. Calvin White—known by most as Rudy—said his secret to happiness is to keep it simple.
White, whose surname seems tailor-made for a profession of giving people gleaming smiles, has practiced general dentistry from his small office on Route 17 for the past 45 years. The self-proclaimed homebody insists he’s just a regular guy who always dreamed of a simple life. With a bit of luck and a lot of love, he said, that’s exactly what he got.
“Ever since I was a child, I knew I wanted to be a dentist,” recalled White. “My childhood dentist was one cool guy and he inspired me. So, I pursued that dream through college, and it just worked out.”
After college, White did a short stint with an established dentist in Newport News to learn the ropes. He enjoyed it, he said, but quickly realized that he wanted to work for himself. When the opportunity arose to work with Dr. Ron Kiefer, a York County pediatric dentist who would soon be retiring, he jumped at it.
“Dr. Kiefer taught me a lot about the business side of dentistry and quickly became a trusted friend and mentor,” said White. “I spent the next few months learning all I could from him about the ins and outs of running a successful dentistry office.”
White recalled how he knew immediately that this practice was the place for him. He loved the small, simple office space, and especially the family atmosphere. The prime location on Route 17 provided him with the exposure he needed to grow and sustain his business. He also loved the York County community itself.
“I was ecstatic to purchase the practice and finally be able to call it my own,” White recalled. “I loved it so much here, that just a few years later, our family moved to the County as well.”
From the people he is proud to call his patients and neighbors, to the schools that each of his three girls attended, to the County staff who have always been there to help when needed, White said he couldn’t be happier here.
“The County has really taken care of me from a business standpoint, especially back during the widening of Route 17,” White remarked. “It was a hard time for businesses in the corridor, but it was a much-needed project, so we couldn’t complain. County staff visited us, listened to our concerns and did everything they could to help reduce any negative impacts on our business. They supported us and made it such an easy process, and I am forever grateful for that.”
White emphasized that his family provides another major support system in his life. His wife, Barbara, has been by his side since they met in high school and married in ‘74. Their youngest daughter, Molly, has managed the business office for the past 12 years, while their eldest, Kristin, helps manage life at home and provides full-time care for Barbara, who recently fell ill.
“Our family is a very close-knit team,” said White. “We all live within a 10-minute drive of each other, and we spend time together nearly every day. I don’t know what I would do without them.”
White’s middle daughter, Ashley, is a teacher in Newport News and is the mother of White’s only grandchild, 8-year-old Carter, who he said is the “queen of the family.”
“We absolutely adore her,” said White. “She brings us so much joy and is just so fun to be around. We are very lucky to live so close to her and all three of our daughters. It’s exactly how I dreamed my life would be.”
The dental practice is closed Friday through Sunday, during which time White completes regular maintenance around the house and office, runs errands and spends time with his family.
“I’ve never been someone to seek out social obligations or try to attract attention,” said White. “I love my life just like it is, and I appreciate the everyday tasks that each morning brings. I’m living my ideal life, and I am so grateful for it.”
White said he’s a low-key kind of guy who enjoys his work and his patients, but also cherishes coming home to his family when the day is done.
“I intentionally focus on the three most important things in my life: my family, my patients and my staff—and it all seems to just work out from there,” he said.
When asked about his hobbies, White replied that his work is his hobby, which is why he has no plans to retire anytime soon. He remains as enthusiastic about his work today as he was when he first opened his practice.
White’s dedication to his patients and his passion for dentistry have earned him a reputation as one of the most trusted and respected dentists in the community. Over the years, White has seen generations of families in his practice and has gained the trust and loyalty of patients who return to see him for decades.
“Each time I see a familiar face walk through the door, I feel honored that they came back and that I have another opportunity to serve them,” said White. “We think of our patients like family and do everything we can to make them feel that way.”
White’s commitment to his patients is evident in the warm and friendly atmosphere of his office. From the moment you walk in, you’re greeted with a smile and made to feel at ease. His team of skilled professionals shares his passion for providing exceptional dental care, and they work together to ensure that each patient receives personalized attention and treatment.
“We’re all really close here,” said White. “It’s very rewarding to have staff members who love their work as much as I do. I’m so fortunate to have each of them on the team.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, White was forced to close the office for three months and send his employees home. He credits the federal government’s Payroll Protection Program with keeping his team intact.
“I don’t want to even think about what might have happened without the help from that program,” White said. “It allowed us to pay our staff while they were out of work, and we were lucky enough to have each one return once we reopened.”
As White celebrates 45 years in business, he looks back with pride on the thousands of patients he has helped to achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. But he is also looking forward to the future, continuing to provide the same remarkable dental care that has been his hallmark for over four decades.
In a society where healthcare providers are constantly changing, and patients can often feel like just another number, it’s refreshing to have a hometown dentist like Dr. Calvin “Rudy” White, who genuinely cares about his patients and his community.