BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Dr. Brooke Skolnick and Dr. Michael Skolnick of Pearly Whites Pediatric Dentistry and Family Orthodontics had a vision to change the perception of the typical dental office when they opened their office in Berkeley Heights one and a half years ago.
“Pearly Whites was designed from start to finish with the objective of creating a fun, cool, and relaxing environment,” said Dr. Brooke. “Beyond the modern design of the office, the ultimate goal is for a pain and anxiety free experience for our patients.”
Dr. Brooke Skolnick was a Rutgers undergraduate for three years. She then went right into dental school for four years at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark. She said after doing her general residency in Newark Beth Israel Hospital, she switched her focus to children, adolescence and special needs with an extra two years of schooling.
Dr. Brooke opened Child Smiles in Newark five years ago and subsequently the office in Elizabeth as an extension to Newark. These offices cater to the inner city and lower income. "There is a real need for the children, and I'm really happy with what we are doing there."
“We have a really nice mix of the spectrum with Berkeley Heights and the other two offices balance everything,” Dr. Brooke said.
"Our goal is to do as much prevention as we can. We love to teach the parents and children how to prevent tooth decay and sports injuries, using mouth guards."
"We do not want any child to be traumatized,” Dr. Brooke said. “We want the child to love the dentist for the rest of their life. We do everything that we can possibly do to make it a comfortable positive experience for every child.”
Pearly Whites welcomed Dr. Jackie Mikhly to the practice in July.
Dr. Jackie received her B.A. in Psychology with honors from NYU. She then received her D.M.D. in 2010 at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
She said her passion for children’s dentistry led her to complete her certificate in pediatrics at Staten Island University Hospital where she served as chief resident and remains an attending dentist.
Dr. Jackie is also a member of the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Dental Assistant Laura Escobar has been with Dr. Brooke's practice for three years starting in Newark and then opening the Berkeley Heights office.
First impression is key with pediatric dentistry. "If it's a happy atmosphere, the patient feels it too," said Escobar. "It starts the minute they walk in, they feel very comfortable because it doesn't feel clinic-y."
Parents are intrigued when introduced to the no needle approach with Single Tooth Anesthesia (STA) and the Waterlase Dental Laser.
"When we need to do work, we numb them. We make them as comfortable as possible from the beginning. If we lose them at that point, we won't get their trust back, we only get the one chance to gain the children's trust." Escobar's patience and positive attitude is well received by her patients.
Escobar will be attending Rutgers for their dentistry program with additional schooling to specialize in pediatric dentistry. Escobar said that she always knew she wanted to be in medicine because she loved chemistry and biology in school.
Office Manager Aline Franco trained at Child Smiles in Newark and later came to Berkeley Heights and has been working at this office since they opened.
“When you go to the dentist or doctor's office, you want to know exactly what you are doing and what you are paying for,” Franco said. “We go out of the way to talk to the insurance for you, and make calls. We will help the patients analyze their insurance coverages because we don't want the patient to have unknown out-of-pocket expenses.”
Dental health is so important and the office wants to be the dentist a parent would call, Franco said.