Meet the Team

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that your child’s dental care should begin at age 1. In order to care for your child using the best techniques and equipment available, our pediatric dentistry practitioners spend a great deal of time attending continuing-education courses every year. Our extensive education in dentistry for children and orthodontics has made us the practice of choice in the area. Here, you can trust our care for the most precious smiles in your family. Including your own.

Howard L. Howell, DDS

“The most compelling aspect of orthodontics is that you have an opportunity to change lives through your treatment and interaction with young patients and their parents. Of course, the majority of my patients are children, which gives me an opportunity, with my treatment and patient skills, to influence the growth and development of so many young people. There is great joy in seeing your patients grow and evolve physically and personally throughout their orthodontic treatment. Solving their dental, social, psychological and physical challenges is extremely gratifying.”

Undergraduate Degree: University of Florida
Doctorate & Orthodontic Residency: Medical College of Virginia
Postdoctorate: TMJ Dysfunction
Licensure: Florida and Virginia
Hospital Staff: South Florida Baptist Hospital
Certified: CPR Emergency Care
Membership: American Association of Orthodontists, American Society of Dentistry for Children, American Dental Association, Southern Association of Orthodontics, Florida Association of Orthodontists, Florida Dental Association, West Coast Dental Association, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association

In his spare time, Dr. Howell enjoys sports, watching high-school and college football, golf, scuba and fishing. He has coordinated an expedition to the South Pacific islands to search for Amelia Earhart’s airplane, and he has dived 12,875 feet deep in a three-man Russian submarine on the wreckage of the Titanic. He also discovered and helped salvage the bronze base to the Cherub on the Grand Ballroom Staircase. The artifact is currently touring museums worldwide.

B. Gene Whitehead, DMD

“I love the interaction with children and dealing with all the different behaviors and personalities. I’m fascinated by all the different approaches and methods we use to address the behaviors we encounter to create a pleasant dental experience for each child and parent. I am very compassionate and caring. I always give the children some control and options during dental treatment. I hope to give all my patients a lifetime of not being anxious about dental care.”

Undergraduate Degree: Auburn University
Doctorate: University of Alabama School of Dentistry
Residency: Pediatric Dentistry, Eastman Dental Center, New York, NY
Licensure: Florida and Alabama
Board-Certified: American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
Hospital Staff: Morton Plant Hospital
Certified: CPR Emergency Care, Advanced Cardiac Life Support
Membership: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, Tampa Bay Pediatric Dental Association, (Past President) Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry, Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Florida Dental Association, West Coast Dental Association, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association

In his free time, Dr. Whitehead enjoys golf, boating, traveling and watching his Auburn Tigers.

Michael I. Stewart, DDS

“I developed an interest in the medical arts at a very early age. I also enjoy working with my hands and helping people on a personal, individual level. Dentistry is an art based on science, and orthodontics is even more so. It was a perfect fit for me. Orthodontic problems have many possible solutions, and my goal is finding the right solution for the individual patient. I enjoy the personal interactions with the patients and their families. Frequently, some small action on our part can make a major difference in their lives. Empathy and humor are my best qualities. I try to identify with my patients and use humor to create a nonthreatening atmosphere that facilitates our relationships.”

Undergraduate Degree: BA, American Studies (cum laude),University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
Doctorate: Emory University School of Dentistry
Postdoctorate: Craniofacial Disorders, Orthognathic Surgery and TMJ Dysfunction
Residency: Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Montefiore Medical Center / Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY
Licensure: Florida
Certified: CPR Emergency Care, Advanced Cardiac Life Support
Membership: American Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, Southern Association of Orthodontists, Florida Association of Orthodontists, Florida Dental Association, West Coast Dental Association, Central Florida Orthodontic Study Group, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association

In his spare time, Dr. Stewart likes restoring automobiles, reading, bicycling, sailing, landscape architecture and studying US history.

Steven R. Slavkin, DDS

“I always had a strong desire to help people. Especially to help them maintain good oral health. I greatly admired the dentists and physicians I knew as a child, and I wanted to help people like they did. With kids, I realize the importance of creating a friendly, comfortable atmosphere so their early experiences in the dental office will be positive. With parents, I share my observations about their children’s oral health and treatment needs, but I also discuss teaching their kids effective oral health strategies at home. I want good oral health and a comfortable relationship with their dental home for my patients. I also have great compassion for the kids. If ever I’m in doubt about how best to take care of a child, I pause and think, ‘If this were my son or daughter, what would I want for them?’ That usually clarifies what I should recommend.”

Undergraduate Degree: Washington and Jefferson College
Doctorate: Case-Western Reserve University
Residency: General Dentistry, Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic
Licensure: Florida
Appointments: Acting State Dental Officer, Florida Army National Guard; Chief Dental Officer, Multinational Task Force (4,000 members strong), Kabul, Afghanistan
Membership: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Florida Dental Association, Florida Public Health Association, West Coast Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Association, Polk County Dental Association, Public Health Leadership Institute of Florida Alumni Association, Tampa Bay Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

In his spare time, Dr. Slavkin enjoys sailing, maintaining his aquarium, gardening and growing most of the salad greens and vegetables his family eats.

Tanya Bejarano, DDS

“I feel blessed to be able to work with children as it gives me an opportunity to experience the uniqueness of each child and to be a part of their lives in a small way. I am a very compassionate and caring individual. Working with children has taught me immense patience and unconditional love. All of our doctors are continually engaged in learning new behavior management techniques and new clinical methods through continuing education. I strive to have an early and positive influence on your child that will shape their dental experience for the rest of their life.”

Undergraduate Degree: University of Florida
Doctorate: University of Southern California
Residency: Pediatric Dentistry, Miami Children’s Hospital, Miami, FL
Licensure: Florida and California
Board-Certified: American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
Certified: CPR Emergency Care, Pediatric Advanced Life Support
Membership: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, Tampa Bay Pediatric Dental Association, Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry, Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Florida Dental Association, West Coast Dental Association, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association

In her free time, Dr. Bejarano enjoys tennis, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Daniel V. Ruffolo, DDS, MSD

“I first became fascinated about Orthodontics after having braces myself. I was able to see firsthand how a great smile has a huge impact on one’s self-esteem. Orthodontics is challenging, it takes planning and precise execution to get the desired result. I love the mental discipline of thischallenge. I enjoy the individual relationships I am able to build with each patient by seeing them on a regular basis. It is great to see how happy patients are when their braces are removed and their new beautiful smile is revealed!”

Undergraduate Degree: University of California Riverside
Doctorate: University of Southern California
Post Doctorate and Masters: University of Colorado
Licensure: Florida and California
Certified: CPR Emergency Care
Membership: American Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Southern Association of Orthodontics

In his spare time, Dr. Ruffolo enjoys going to USC football games, playing hockey, snowboarding, mountain biking and spending time with his family and friends.

Howard L. Howell, DDS

“The most compelling aspect of orthodontics is that you have an opportunity to change lives through your treatment and interaction with young patients and their parents. Of course, the majority of my patients are children, which gives me an opportunity, with my treatment and patient skills, to influence the growth and development of so many young people. There is great joy in seeing your patients grow and evolve physically and personally throughout their orthodontic treatment. Solving their dental, social, psychological and physical challenges is extremely gratifying.”

Undergraduate Degree: University of Florida
Doctorate & Orthodontic Residency: Medical College of Virginia
Postdoctorate: TMJ Dysfunction
Licensure: Florida and Virginia
Hospital Staff: South Florida Baptist Hospital
Certified: CPR Emergency Care
Membership: American Association of Orthodontists, American Society of Dentistry for Children, American Dental Association, Southern Association of Orthodontics, Florida Association of Orthodontists, Florida Dental Association, West Coast Dental Association, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association

In his spare time, Dr. Howell enjoys sports, watching high-school and college football, golf, scuba and fishing. He has coordinated an expedition to the South Pacific islands to search for Amelia Earhart’s airplane, and he has dived 12,875 feet deep in a three-man Russian submarine on the wreckage of the Titanic. He also discovered and helped salvage the bronze base to the Cherub on the Grand Ballroom Staircase. The artifact is currently touring museums worldwide.

B. Gene Whitehead, DMD

“I love the interaction with children and dealing with all the different behaviors and personalities. I’m fascinated by all the different approaches and methods we use to address the behaviors we encounter to create a pleasant dental experience for each child and parent. I am very compassionate and caring. I always give the children some control and options during dental treatment. I hope to give all my patients a lifetime of not being anxious about dental care.”

Undergraduate Degree: Auburn University
Doctorate: University of Alabama School of Dentistry
Residency: Pediatric Dentistry, Eastman Dental Center, New York, NY
Licensure: Florida and Alabama
Board-Certified: American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
Hospital Staff: Morton Plant Hospital
Certified: CPR Emergency Care, Advanced Cardiac Life Support
Membership: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, Tampa Bay Pediatric Dental Association, (Past President) Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry, Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Florida Dental Association, West Coast Dental Association, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association

In his free time, Dr. Whitehead enjoys golf, boating, traveling and watching his Auburn Tigers.

Michael I. Stewart, DDS

“I developed an interest in the medical arts at a very early age. I also enjoy working with my hands and helping people on a personal, individual level. Dentistry is an art based on science, and orthodontics is even more so. It was a perfect fit for me. Orthodontic problems have many possible solutions, and my goal is finding the right solution for the individual patient. I enjoy the personal interactions with the patients and their families. Frequently, some small action on our part can make a major difference in their lives. Empathy and humor are my best qualities. I try to identify with my patients and use humor to create a nonthreatening atmosphere that facilitates our relationships.”

Undergraduate Degree: BA, American Studies (cum laude),University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
Doctorate: Emory University School of Dentistry
Postdoctorate: Craniofacial Disorders, Orthognathic Surgery and TMJ Dysfunction
Residency: Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Montefiore Medical Center / Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY
Licensure: Florida
Certified: CPR Emergency Care, Advanced Cardiac Life Support
Membership: American Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, Southern Association of Orthodontists, Florida Association of Orthodontists, Florida Dental Association, West Coast Dental Association, Central Florida Orthodontic Study Group, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association

In his spare time, Dr. Stewart likes restoring automobiles, reading, bicycling, sailing, landscape architecture and studying US history.

Steven R. Slavkin, DDS

“I always had a strong desire to help people. Especially to help them maintain good oral health. I greatly admired the dentists and physicians I knew as a child, and I wanted to help people like they did. With kids, I realize the importance of creating a friendly, comfortable atmosphere so their early experiences in the dental office will be positive. With parents, I share my observations about their children’s oral health and treatment needs, but I also discuss teaching their kids effective oral health strategies at home. I want good oral health and a comfortable relationship with their dental home for my patients. I also have great compassion for the kids. If ever I’m in doubt about how best to take care of a child, I pause and think, ‘If this were my son or daughter, what would I want for them?’ That usually clarifies what I should recommend.”

Undergraduate Degree: Washington and Jefferson College
Doctorate: Case-Western Reserve University
Residency: General Dentistry, Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic
Licensure: Florida
Appointments: Acting State Dental Officer, Florida Army National Guard; Chief Dental Officer, Multinational Task Force (4,000 members strong), Kabul, Afghanistan
Membership: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Florida Dental Association, Florida Public Health Association, West Coast Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Association, Polk County Dental Association, Public Health Leadership Institute of Florida Alumni Association, Tampa Bay Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

In his spare time, Dr. Slavkin enjoys sailing, maintaining his aquarium, gardening and growing most of the salad greens and vegetables his family eats.

Tanya Bejarano, DDS

“I feel blessed to be able to work with children as it gives me an opportunity to experience the uniqueness of each child and to be a part of their lives in a small way. I am a very compassionate and caring individual. Working with children has taught me immense patience and unconditional love. All of our doctors are continually engaged in learning new behavior management techniques and new clinical methods through continuing education. I strive to have an early and positive influence on your child that will shape their dental experience for the rest of their life.”

Undergraduate Degree: University of Florida
Doctorate: University of Southern California
Residency: Pediatric Dentistry, Miami Children’s Hospital, Miami, FL
Licensure: Florida and California
Board Certified: American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
Certified: CPR Emergency Care, Pediatric Advanced Life Support
Membership: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, Tampa Bay Pediatric Dental Association, Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry, Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Florida Dental Association, West Coast Dental Association, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association

In her free time, Dr. Bejarano enjoys tennis, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Daniel V. Ruffolo, DDS, MSD

“I first became fascinated about Orthodontics after having braces myself. I was able to see firsthand how a great smile has a huge impact on one’s self-esteem. Orthodontics is challenging, it takes planning and precise execution to get the desired result. I love the mental discipline of thischallenge. I enjoy the individual relationships I am able to build with each patient by seeing them on a regular basis. It is great to see how happy patients are when their braces are removed and their new beautiful smile is revealed!”

Undergraduate Degree: University of California Riverside
Doctorate: University of Southern California
Post Doctorate and Masters: University of Colorado
Licensure: Florida and California
Certified: CPR Emergency Care
Membership: American Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Southern Association of Orthodontics

In his spare time, Dr. Ruffolo enjoys going to USC football games, playing hockey, snowboarding, mountain biking and spending time with his family and friends.