“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” ~Proverbs 27:17 ESV
Many business owners will agree that at some point, customers begin to feel like family. In Dr. Tina Merhoff’s world, her customers are patients, but certainly the sentiment holds true. Since 1997, Tina S. Merhoff & Associates Pediatric Dentistry has carved a niche for itself in the community, building a stellar reputation for excellent dental care in a kid-friendly environment. However, a side-effect of the practice has proven that work life is a very personal matter.
“Family was always a priority for me,” said Dr. Tina. “When I was in dental school, I recognized that pediatric dentistry would offer me more flexibility, and indeed it has! I was able to bring both of my daughters to work when they were very young, which I wouldn’t have been able to do in another area of dentistry.”
“However,” Dr. Tina continued, “What I was not expecting was the familial relationships I would build with my patients and staff—relationships that would prove to have a significant impact on my business. Dr. Jennifer Macdonald is a prime example! She joined the practice in August 2019 as a pediatric dentist, but Jennifer’s tenure goes way back—she was a patient first. Then, she worked for me as a teenager before graduating and going to college and dental school.”
Dr. Jennifer laughed as she began to recount her earliest years with Tina S. Merhoff & Associates Pediatric Dentistry. “I started working with Dr. Tina when I was 13, and my mom has been a dental hygienist with Dr. Tina since 2003. In a way, this was in my blood. I’ve never doubted that I would eventually become a dentist, but the mentorship along the way certainly made the journey much easier!”
“It’s incredible,” smiled Dr. Tina, “I’ve watched Dr. Jennifer grow up in many ways, and, truly, it’s been a family affair! Dr. Jennifer not only worked her way up through the practice as a teenager, but she also babysat my daughters! One of my daughters has expressed interest in dentistry, and though I’ve been a dentist her whole life, she now looks to Dr. Jennifer as her mentor! Whether my daughter pursues dentistry or not, Dr. Jennifer continues to be a great example to both of my daughters. It’s been a delight to watch! I’m so blessed to be able to love what I do, while at the same time helping to develop that same spark in someone else…and then, watch them pass the spark to someone else, too!”
The rapport between Drs. Tina and Jennifer is evident, but the role of mentorship is a tremendous part of the business—not necessarily by design, but because these are women who are passionate about what they do. As well as caring for the children and families they serve, they find mentorship lends itself naturally to the day-to-day operations of the business.
“There is a lot of encouragement here,” said Dr. Jennifer. “I’m a living example of how an investment in a child can shape their future.” She smiled at Dr. Tina as she continued, “Dr. Tina has taught me so much, and I love that I get to work beside her. It’s a privilege to do for others what she did for me—teach them, guide them, and watch them grow.”
Dr. Tina agreed. “While not every patient expresses interest in dentistry, of course, we can still demonstrate care to them and encourage them—whatever their aspirations. When you spend eight hours a day with your team and patients, it’s important to create a kind of work-family. And family cares about one another—their interests and success. We hope our families know that our concern is far greater than [just] clean teeth and dental health. Yes, that’s what’s on our front door, but our core mission has always been caring for people. We want kids to feel safe here, and part of doing that is meeting them on their level. We even offer Happy Visits on Friday—where kids can come familiarize themselves with the smells, sounds, and environment of our office. We don’t charge for this time, but we do ask parents to make an appointment.”
“Even our staff gets excited about Happy Visits,” shared Dr. Jennifer. “Our dental hygienist, Denna (whom I know as Mom), loves to help kids overcome their fears of the dentist. And since she raised a daughter who eventually became a dentist, I think she’s very good at what she does. Everyone on our team is! We have a dynamic team who loves the patients as much as we do! Work never feels like work here.”
“This is a very trust-oriented business,” chimed in Dr. Tina. “That’s another aspect of the familycentric atmosphere we have here. We want everyone to feel heard, loved, and cared for when they are in our office, whether they are here as a patient or a part of the staff. We are here to invest in the people we serve, just as ‘iron sharpens iron.’”
Tina S. Merhoff & Associates Pediatric Dentistry is located at 185 Kimel Park Drive, Suite 202, in Winston-Salem. Call their office to schedule an appointment (336.659.9500) or visit Dentist4Kids.com. Be sure to like Tina S. Merhoff & Associates Pediatric Dentistry on Facebook and follow them on Instagram, and Twitter!
[SIDEBAR # 1]
Due to the impact of COVID-19, Tina S. Merhoff & Associates Pediatric Dentistry has made extensive modifications that exceed the recommended safety recommendations by the CDC, American Dental Association, and North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners. Those adjustments include significant safety measures, including:
- The installation of Medify Air Purifiers throughout the office and treatment rooms. These purifiers clean the air every 15 minutes, including particles smaller than COVID-19 microbes.
- The installation of iWave air filtration system to our HVAC to ensure clean air is circulated throughout the office.
- The installation of Purevac High Volume Excavation (HVE) System at each dental chair that reduces fluid and debris created during dental treatment and procedures.
- In addition to these extraordinary measures, the entire staff has increased personal protective equipment (PPE). Patients and their parents are asked to follow social distancing guidelines as well as the following additional safety measures:
- Temperature checks for everyone upon arrival, and before entering the office.
- Limit of one parent (or guardian) per child. We are also giving the option for parents to wait in their car.
- Face coverings are mandatory for all adults and children over the age of three prior to entering the building
The staff at Tina S. Merhoff & Associates Pediatric Dentistry has made safety a priority, but has also worked hard to ensure that the environment remains kid-friendly and comfortable. If there are any questions about the additional safety measures taken to protect the patients, families, and staff from COVID-19, please feel free to contact the office at 336.659.9500.
“LOVE everyone at this office! My son had extreme anxiety about the dentist. They have worked with him and done everything to keep him comfortable. Today he had the best experience he’s ever had!! He’s finally comfortable and calm enough to get through a cleaning and exam with no tears! They never gave up on him and have always been so warm and kind. They are truly the best!!” ~Christina B.
“I went to Dr. Merhoff when I was a young girl. I still remember how wonderful she and her staff were. The office’s environment is super child-friendly, making going to the dentist an enjoyable experience! If you are looking for a pediatric dentist—look no further!” ~Summer A.
“ We drive two hours to come here and it’s worth every second! My daughter is treated with the respect she deserves and it means so much to me!” ~Amy H.
“ We love coming to this practice because they are so kind, caring, and loving. There is no fear in coming to the dentist and my kids look forward to their visits!” ~Jennifer H.
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