Initially I decided to get into dentistry because my father is a dentist. For years I had been around the dental office and I saw how valuable dentistry was to him and I saw what a good lifestyle it was for us. The flexibility to be your own boss, the flexibility to take vacations. I can never remember him missing a baseball, football or any other one of my events all through school. I got to work with my dad for an entire month after my freshman year in dental school. His assistant was on a mission trip so I got to be his dental assistant for one month and figured out all the responsibilities that dental assistants do and thank you dad for being so patient with me because I know he was probably ready to strangle me after a day but we got through it. It was really good exposure for me to be chairside, to check out his chairside manner and I think it really shaped me as a dentist. I received my Bachelor of Science from Depauw University in 1987 and from there I went to dental school at Indiana University and graduated in 1991. I have attended hundreds of hours of continuing education. You know the minimum is 32 hours required and I don’t know too many dentists who don’t put in at least 60 per year. I was fortunate enough to take courses at LVI, Las Vegas Institute, way back in the day when Bill Dickerson was just starting, it was fascinating. Living in Florida, I am very close to Pete Dawson who is the world’s most authority on occlusion so I’ve been really lucky to attend his courses and attending Dawson courses has allowed me to treat larger cases because so many of these cases are dependent on occlusion so I’ve been very luck to be in his backyard.
Dr. Spilman earned his degree in dentistry from Indiana University in 1991 after earning his degree in biology from DePauw University in 1987. An avid college sports fan to this day, he earned varsity letters in football all four years during his undergraduate career. When he went on to dental school, he received the prestigious Dr. Tillman E. Miller award for clinical excellence and the Academy of Operative Dentistry award for highest clinical excellence.
Dr. Spilman believes that staying abreast of the latest in dentistry allows him to provide the best care possible. With that in mind, he received further training at The Dawson Academy for occlusion (bite) and full-mouth rehabilitation, and also studied under internationally renowned dentist Dr. William Dickerson for aesthetic dentistry. To this day, he participates in continuing education each year to keep up to date on the newest technology and techniques.
As a second-generation dentist, Dr. Spilman enjoyed working in a practice with his father, Dr. Donn Spilman, in the small town of Osceola, Indiana, for nearly ten years. When it came time for his father to retire, Dr. Spilman, his wife, Heather, and their two children relocated to the Sunshine State to open Jeffery A. Spilman DDS in St. Petersburg.
My ideal patient is someone who is not dental educated because it is very rewarding for me to take a patient and raise their dental IQ and it doesn’t matter to me if they just need to have their teeth cleaned or whether they need a full mouth reconstruction. But it is rewarding for me to take someone who doesn’t know much about taking care of their teeth and then when they leave my office and keep coming back to my office, they have the highest standards for their dental care. Really there are a couple problems that I really enjoy solving for patients. The first thing is a dental emergency. A lot of these patients have been up all night, you recognize them in the waiting room, you see them holding their jaw, some are in tears, but if you get someone out of pain, that is very rewarding and they are very thankful to you. The second type of patient that I really enjoy treating is the patient who is missing teeth. They might be missing teeth and need something cosmetic or they need a space filled in. These people haven’t been smiling for years so when you can get a tooth up there and it looks good and they are smiling again, they are just beaming and it is very rewarding. Along those same lines, a patient who hasn’t had back teeth for years, they have been chewing with their front teeth and their front teeth are worn and then you can replace their back teeth and build up their front teeth to look good again and then they get used to chewing foods that they used to chew when they were in their 20’s and they don’t have to put everything in the Vitamix for dinner any more or the Ninja and they are just very happy that they can tear food again. It is a really good part of my job. At the end of the day, if you can improve someone’s smile of if you can get them out of pain, then you go home happy.
Not only is Dr. Spilman the son of a dentist, but one of his own children has now declared pre-dentistry and may be joining the practice in the years to come. Dentistry runs in the family for the Spilmans, and Dr. Spilman is dedicated to providing the best possible, most flexible and personalized services for all of his patients for years to come.
Dr. Spilman has been married to his wife Heather for 25 years. She is a professor of Philosophy at St. Petersburg College. They have two children, Clayton and Emma, who are both students in Gainesville, Florida at the University of Florida. Go Gators!