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Welcome to the Jungle

Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics Provides Outstanding Care in a Colorful and Fun Setting

Article by Alison Stanton

Photography by Stephanie Slezak Photography

Originally published in Chandler City Lifestyle

Dr. John Culp decided he wanted to be an orthodontist when he was in the eighth grade.

Positive experiences with his own orthodontist inspired John’s interest in orthodontics.

“After I enjoyed learning and practicing restorative dentistry in dental school and realized I loved working with kids, I decided to switch to pediatric dentistry,” he says.

In 1994, John fulfilled his goal when he and his wife Karen opened Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics in the East Valley, after visiting and falling in love with the area.

“Our original location was a tiny 946-square-foot office with four chairs,” John says, adding that he and his staff quickly outgrew this space after one year.

After their first son was born, the Culps took a weekend trip to Seattle, Washington. While they were there, they visited the Children’s Museum near the Space Needle.

“Inside, there was an area where each of the world’s biomes were represented. You could walk right into the tundra or grasslands or jungle,” John says.

“Karen and I thought how cool it would be to have each room at Jungle Roots also be like going into a different biome.”

The Culps asked the manager of the Children’s Museum who built the unique display and were delighted to learn it was a Tucson-based business called The Larson Company.

After meeting with the company to discuss their vision for the interior of Jungle Roots, the Culps decided on a theme, and soon were in a jungle-themed office.

“We were the first office in America to incorporate a theming in a pediatric dental office,” John says.

Over the years, Jungle Roots has not only expanded its office size and number of patients, but also its staff and services.

For example, Dr. Gregory Olsen provides orthodontic services to young patients, and Dr. Jason Brady is a dental anesthesiologist. A team of hygienists and office staff round out the practice.

As Karen notes, while the jungle theme definitely helps set Jungle Roots apart by creating a calming and engaging environment for children, so does their commitment to providing 5-star patient care and customer service. 

“We want our patients to have a memorable visit, but more than that, we want them to have a positive experience that lasts with them as they continue their dental journey,” Karen says.

“To attain this goal, we welcome patients into our practice as if we were welcoming them into our home. And it is a home for them, actually a dental home, where they can have all of their pediatric dental needs met, and orthodontics in house, setting them up for a lifetime of dental health.”

For John, treating his patients as he would his own three boys is very important to him.

He develops relationships with each of his patients, always considering what is in their best interest.

“The utmost compliment and tribute is that I have many patients who came to me as kids themselves and now bring their own children. It is very rewarding and inspiring,” John says.

When they are not working at Jungle Roots, the Culps enjoy traveling with their family, and giving back to the community however they can.

For instance, Karen teaches group fitness classes at the Ahwatukee YMCA, and the Culps support local youth sports, participate in local events, and donate to local schools, organizations, and churches. 

Looking back, the Culps are pleased with their decision to open Jungle Roots in the same area they call home.

“This is definitely our community,” John says.

"We want our patients to have a memorable visit, but more than that, we want them to have a positive experience that lasts with them as they continue their dental journey."