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Dr. Chris Carlson

Duluth Orthodontist Dr. Chris Carlson is one of those people who goes out of his way to make people happy. He says that making others happy is the key to a fulfilled life. That’s why he ultimately chose to be an orthodontist. Every day is about making people smile - and also allows him to combine what he loves: problem-solving, engineering, technology and working with people.

Dr. Carlson earned a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, working as an environmental engineer in Chicago for four years before committing to an additional six years of advanced education to become an orthodontist. He says working as an engineer was not as satisfying as he’d hoped it would be because he was working with numbers more than people. Orthodontics allows him to combine the principles of engineering with dentistry and now, just like the smiles he creates, it’s a perfect fit. He began his orthodontic practice in 2003. Dr. Carlson is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. This board certification is awarded after a rigorous process including examination of both knowledge and completed orthodontic cases. It's just another way that Dr. Carlson has put extra effort into providing you the highest level of care.

Dr. Carlson is a native of Ironwood, Michigan. He met his wife Amy while on the ski team in college. They were married in 1995 and have two children, Lauren and Erik. They chose to build their life and business in Duluth because of the quality of life in the area: endless outdoor opportunities, great people, and Lake Superior. When he‘s not working, Dr. Carlson enjoys both alpine and nordic skiing, mountain biking (you’ll see him skiing in the Birkie and riding in the Chequamegon each year), traveling to new places, helping with kids’ activities, flying small planes (he‘s had his pilot’s license since the age of 16), and bird hunting with the family’s yellow lab, Lucie.

Why choose a Board Certified Orthodontist?

Has a hammer ever made someone a carpenter? Does a camera make a photographer? Tools have never created the skill— they're simply a conduit, teaming with talent, education, experience, and knowledge. When the very best tools are in the hands of the very best specialists, magic happens. Such is the case with Dr. Carlson, the only board-certified orthodontist in the Duluth area. To become certified by the American Board of Orthodontics, doctors require additional education and a rigorous certification process. When you're at Carlson Orthodontics, know that your family's care is in the best possible hands!

Dr. Carolyn Whittow

Dr. Carolyn Whittow loves supporting people in their journey towards self-confidence and a beautiful smile. She feels fortunate to be in a profession that creates a transformative experience for people of all ages. After having braces as a senior in high school, she developed an interest in orthodontics. She received her dental education from the Medical University of South Carolina, where she graduated first in her class. After receiving her DMD, she also completed her orthodontic residency training in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics at the Medical University of South Carolina. Her three-year residency provided extensive training in traditional braces, clear aligner therapy, and surgical orthodontics.

She is a native of South Carolina and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Wofford College. While at Wofford, she played collegiate volleyball (despite her petite size!) and received the William Stanley Hoole Award, which is awarded to the senior intercollegiate athlete with the highest academic average.

Prior to becoming an orthodontist, Dr. Whittow worked in environmental education. She spent several years in the Twin Cities, working with YMCA camps and environmental education centers, but ultimately decided to pursue a career in which she could combine her love of science and mathematics with the transformative experience of creating a beautiful smile. Her husband, Ryan, grew up in Wisconsin and they are happy to be in the Midwest and closer to family. Together, Dr. Whittow and Ryan love to travel and explore new places. They enjoy outdoor adventures including summer hiking, boating on the lake, and winter activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. On the weekends you may also find them cheering on the Wisconsin Badgers or Green Bay Packers while spending time with family and friends.

Dr. Whittow is an active member of the American Association of Orthodontics, American Dental Association, Minnesota Dental Association, Wisconsin Dental Association, South Carolina Dental Association, and the Southern Association of Orthodontists.
We're proud to be recognized as the "Best of the Best" by the Duluth community for four straight years and counting! Over the years, we've been awarded the following:
  • 2018 - Best Dental Office, Best Customer Service
  • 2019 - Best Dental Office, Customer Service, Small Company to Work For, Workplace Culture
  • 2020 - Best Dental Office, Customer Service, Small Company to Work For, Workplace Culture
  • 2021 - Best Dental Office, Customer Service, Small Company to Work For, Workplace Culture

Welcome to our Office

You can tell a lot about a business by observing the people that work there. The way they interact with each other is a pretty good indicator of what it will be like to be a patient in their care. All we can say about that is we can’t wait for you to meet our team!

First and foremost, we’re committed to making every member of your family feel like a member of our family. That’s the obvious difference. But what you may not know is that along with all the leading edge technologies we offer patients, our team stays completely up to date on how to use those technologies to deliver a great patient experience. You can find out a bit about each team member by clicking on their photos below.

Meet the Team

Amy

Marketing Director, Treatment Coordinator, Licensed Dental Hygienist

Annie

Practice Manager

Ashley

Licensed Dental Hygienist and Orthodontic Assistant

Ellen

Treatment Coordinator

Erinn

Licensed Dental Hygienist and Orthodontic Assistant

Jeannie

Scheduling Coordinator

Kayli

Licensed Dental Assistant and Orthodontic Assistant

Lindsay

Orthodontic Assistant

Mackenzie

Licensed Dental Hygienist and Orthodontic Assistant

Maya

Treatment Coordinator

Shelby

Licensed Dental Hygienist and Orthodontic Assistant

Shelly

Scheduling Coordinator

Sophia

Clinical Manager and Orthodontic Assistant

Tayla

Clinical Lead and Licensed Dental Hygienist

Tirzah

Licensed Dental Hygienist and Orthodontic Assistant

Amy

Marketing Director, Treatment Coordinator, Licensed Dental Hygienist
Favorite Type of Food:
Mexican
First Pet:
Pygmy goat named Buster
First Job:
Sharpening hockey skates
Amy graduated in 2008 with her degree in Dental Hygiene. Amy welcomes new patients and their families and walks them through the process of starting their orthodontic treatment. She also runs our marketing and loves to help organize ways our team can give back to our patients and the community. Her favorite part of working at Carlson Ortho is being part of such a fun team whose goal is to make each visit memorable for both patients and their families.

Outside the office you can find Amy at the local hockey rinks with her four children, Jacob, Jenna, Jane, and Jack. She loves fishing, cross country skiing, hockey, and traveling.

Annie

Practice Manager
Favorite Show:
The Middle - because it reminds me of my goofy family
Favorite Board Game:
Cribbage
Favorite Movie:
Step Brothers "did we just become best friends?"
Annie grew up in the Duluth area and attended the University of Minnesota Duluth. Annie worked as a manager at Grandma’s Restaurants for 19 years before starting with Carlson Orthodontics in 2017. As the Practice Manager, Annie ensures the practice is running smoothly and efficiently. One of the things that Annie loves the most about working here is working with an energetic team who love what they do.

Annie met her husband, Chris, at UMD in a chemistry class and it was love at first sight. He was originally from the twin cities but loves the outdoors so much they decided to move to Duluth to raise their family. They have 3 children, Kaitlyn, Jacob, and Henry. Annie and Chris also enjoy watching and coaching their three kids’ softball, baseball, and basketball teams.

Ashley

Licensed Dental Hygienist and Orthodontic Assistant
Spirit Animal:
Garfield the cat- his life is consumed with lasagna and napping…two of my favorite things
Childhood Role Models:
TMNT- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Favorite Show:
This is Us
Ashley graduated in 2015 with her degree in Dental Hygiene from Lake Superior College. Ashley loves how we can keep things fun and enjoyable for everyone while transforming each patient’s smile. Ashley also helps assist with the How Did This Happen Program in the office... lose your retainer and you will find out all about it!

Ashley moved to Duluth from a little farm town in the most Northwestern part of Washington state with her boyfriend, Trent, and they just purchased their first home together. When she’s not at work you can find her on hikes or biking around the area!

Ellen

Treatment Coordinator
Favorite Band:
Cage the Elephant
Favorite Quote:
"It's never too early for ice cream." - Michael Scott
Spirit Animal:
Ron Swanson
Ellen grew up in the area and attended the University of Wisconsin – Superior with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Psychology. As our Treatment Coordinator, Ellen meets with people interested in starting orthodontic treatment to discuss their concerns and goals and helps coordinate their treatment with the dental offices. She loves meeting new people, hearing their stories, and having the chance to watch the celebrations at the end of treatment.

Ellen loves to spend time outside, hiking and biking around Lake Superior with her dog, Jackson. The two even like to take an early morning swim in the big lake if the weather allows! When Ellen is not outside or watching “The Office”, you can find her on a volleyball court, as she loves to play as often as she can.

Erinn

Licensed Dental Hygienist and Orthodontic Assistant
Favorite Show:
Game of Thrones
Favorite Local Restaurant:
Grandma's Saloon
Favorite Concert:
Billy Joel
Erinn graduated with her degree in Dental Hygiene from Lake Superior College and has been practicing in the area since 2004. Switching from general dentistry to orthodontics has been quite the change, but the fast-paced environment and our fun energetic office keeps everyday exciting. Erinn loves working one on one with patients helping create their best smile and loves that there is something new to learn every day!

Erinn grew up in Duluth and lives here now with her husband, Mike, her two children, and their Shih Tzu, Penny. Summer is her favorite season because she enjoys spending time with her family at their cabin in Canyon. Erinn’s family loves going on adventures from Twins' games to ski hills. When she’s not at work she likes to knit hats and mittens, cook comfort food, bake treats for her coworkers, and read.

Jeannie

Scheduling Coordinator
Spirit Animal:
Monkey - I am very lighthearted and playful and my attitude is always positive.
Favorite Role Model:
Mother Theresa - She was a selfless person whose mission in life was to help people.
Jeannie has a BA in Organizational Management and Communications from Concordia, St. Paul. You will find Jeannie’s beautiful smile greeting you as you walk through our doors. She is our team cheerleader and always knows how to brighten someone’s day. Jeannie helps out on our marketing team and she loves that we are in the business of creating beautiful life-long smiles.

Jeannie and her husband Brad have been married for over 26 years, and together they have 3 kids: Blake, Courtney, and Kenzie. They also have 3 dogs named Bauer, Piper, and Roxy. Fall is her favorite time of year – she loves everything about this amazing season and Halloween is, of course, her favorite holiday!

Kayli

Licensed Dental Assistant and Orthodontic Assistant
Spirit Animal:
Tiger - Because they quietly observe until it's time to act, then they lunge
Favorite Singer:
Celine Dion
Favorite Book:
Anything fantasy romance but I also love Harry Potter!
Kayli graduated from Hibbing Community College in 2017 with a license in Dental Assisting. You will find Kayli working on the treatment floor, assisting with your appointments. She loves the energy here at Carlson Ortho and enjoys working in such a fun, positive atmosphere. Kayli also helps ensure that OSHA is up to date and that all safety measures are in place around the office. Kayli is also our SureSmile® Coordinator.

Kayli and her husband, Shane, have two energetic and wildly curious boys, Lincoln and Oliver. Minnesota is the only home she’s known, being born and raised in Duluth, MN. In her free time, she likes to put her artistic talents to use by refurbishing furniture and scrapbooking.

Lindsay

Orthodontic Assistant
Favorite Food:
Anything Italian
Dream Vacation:
Australia
Role Model:
Mom & Dad
Lindsay joined the Carlson Orthodontics team in June of 2020. Before this job Lindsay wasn’t really sure what her plans were as far as the work field, but she took a leap of faith and applied for this position. Lindsay was very happy to receive on the job training with such supportive, hardworking, patient team members all working towards making our patients’ smiles perfect! Her favorite part about her job isn’t just the hands-on learning aspect, she also loves being able to help all of our patients achieve their smile goals, while being able to engage with each of them and build a real life friendship throughout their treatment.

Lindsay currently lives in Ashland, but she is from Red Cliff, WI. Her favorite season is summer; she enjoys being outside, being with friends and family, and she also loves playing basketball.

Mackenzie

Licensed Dental Hygienist and Orthodontic Assistant
Favorite Show:
Friends “how you doing?”
Spirit Animal:
Fox - enjoys small cozy environments and likes to have a neat organized home
Dream Vacation:
two-week vacation in Hawaii (any island) with her family
Mackenzie graduated from Lake Superior College with her A.A.S in Dental Hygiene in 2017 and joined the Carlson Ortho team shortly after. With her positive attitude and ability to adapt to change with ease, it was an easy decision to add her to our team! She enjoys orthodontics because she loves the fast-paced environment and loves to see so many faces every day.

Mackenzie grew up in Sauk Rapids and went to Sauk Rapids-Rice High School. She moved to the area for college and loved it so much she didn’t want to move back! She met her dapper husband, Ross, at Va Bene in Duluth, where they used to work. She has three adorable young daughters named Molly, Lucy, and Elliott, and two dogs, a Teddy Bear named Penny and a Welsh Terrier named John.

Maya

Treatment Coordinator
Favorite Food:
Crème Brûlée
Dream Vacation:
Japan
Role Model:
Teddy Roosevelt
Maya joined our team in March of 2019 as an orthodontic assistant. She added the role of New Patient Coordinator in June of 2019, and became the Treatment Coordinator in August of 2020. Maya has always been very interested in teeth, and loves every step of the process towards creating ‘gold medal’ smiles. Her favorite part about working at Carlson Orthodontics is making lasting connections with members of the community as they transform their smiles and their lives.

Maya lives with her family just outside of Ashland. Her favorite things to do outside of work are taking her dog for walks, reading, and traveling to new places.

Shelby

Licensed Dental Hygienist and Orthodontic Assistant
Spirit Animal:
Giraffe - because they are so tall and majestic, they stand out in a crowd
Favorite Movie:
Burlesque – x-tina is my fav
Favorite Band:
ABBA - always wants to be a dancing queen
Shelby graduated with her degree in Dental Hygiene from Lake Superior College in 2016 and graduated with her Bachelor’s in Dental Hygiene in 2018. Shelby loves to learn and is always looking for new concepts and ideas to challenge her and help her grow as an orthodontic assistant. Ever since she was young she was interested in orthodontics and joining our team has been a perfect fit because we stay current with the latest technology and procedures to deliver the highest quality care.

Shelby grew up and lives in small town Wisconsin, but even though she was raised by a cheese head family she lives and breathes for the Vikings, Twins, and Minnesota Wild. She married her husband Sean and together they have 2 kids, Evie and Beckett, three dogs, and a cat. Shelby and her husband are also avid beekeepers and love the beekeeping community, Save the Bees! She enjoys any outdoor activities, warm or cold, and going on new adventures.

Shelly

Scheduling Coordinator
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Dream Vacation:
Anywhere there is a beach
Role Model:
Her grandma
Shelly joined our team in the spring of 2021 as the Scheduling Coordinator in our Ashland Office. Shelly is excited to be able to welcome the patients and watch their smiles change from beginning to end.

Shelly lives with her family in Washburn. Fall is her favorite season, but she does enjoy summer in her pool, spending time in her garden, boating on Lake Superior and buggy riding. Shelly also enjoys life with their 3 dogs and 1 cat.

Sophia

Clinical Manager and Orthodontic Assistant
Favorite Food:
Cheesecake
Dream Vacation:
Travel through Europe
Role Model:
Her mother
In October of 2019, Sophia joined the Carlson Ortho Team, while finishing up her senior year of high school. She is currently an orthodontic assistant, and really enjoys her job. Sophia appreciates the dedication of the team and the work they accomplish. She also finds joy in learning new things daily.

Outside of work, Sophia loves spending time with friends and family. Her hobbies are hiking, fishing, playing volleyball and paddle boarding. She also enjoys traveling and has been to Alaska and the Grand Canyon.

Tayla

Clinical Lead and Licensed Dental Hygienist
Spirit Animal:
Bald Eagle - brought to you courtesy of the red, white, and blue.
Favorite Show:
Friends - “They don’t know we know that they know we know.”
Favorite Local Restaurant:
Duluth Grill
Tayla graduated from Hibbing Community College in 2012 with her A.A.S. degree in Dental Assisting, and in 2015 she earned her degree in Dental Hygiene from Lake Superior College. Tayla loves being part of a fun team and brings a vivacious sense of humor to the office.

Tayla lives on a farm in Hermantown that has been in the family for more than 100 years! They raise cattle, and have goats, chickens and a donkey named Linus. She enjoys being outdoors and often goes fishing (summer and winter) and spends a lot of time at her family’s cabin in Cotton over the summer. Tayla’s adventurous spirit has led her to many travel destinations, but she’s glad to call Minnesota home.

Tirzah

Licensed Dental Hygienist and Orthodontic Assistant
Favorite TV Show:
Love Island and Peaky Blinders
Favorite Restaurant:
Tavern on the Hill
Favorite Quote:
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” -Confucius
Tirzah graduated from Lake Superior College with her A.A.S. in Dental Hygiene which she uses to help create beautiful smiles here every day! She loves to see the look on patients faces when they see the difference in their smile and realize that all the time and hard work were worth it. Tirzah is always willing to do anything and everything around the office to help our team and make us more efficient.

Tirzah lives with her husband, Josh, and their two daughters, Audrey and Natalie. They have a golden retriever named Ryder and love to do anything outdoors! Hiking, exploring, and spending time on a lake in their little boat with her family is how Tirzah spends her free time.

Office Tour

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Community Involvement

We smile when we get to make the world a better place. Through our smile scholarships, volunteer work, and annual Season of Giving, we have always strived to be the most philanthropic orthodontic practice in Minnesota.
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We can't wait to meet you!