Dr. Greg Stepanski and his team at Children’s Dentistry on Cross Creek Blvd. have a lot of fun with their patients, encouraging a family-type atmosphere in ways that include the annual Christmas party, where all patients are invited to visit and take pictures with Santa.

Greg Stepanski, D.D.S., is a pediatric dentist with more than 25 years of experience in the New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area. Dr. Greg’s Children’s Dentistry has been located in the Cory Lake Professional Center on Cross Creek Blvd. since he moved it there in 2004, after taking over another dentist’s practice back in 1991, when it was located on E. Fowler Ave.

While Dr. Greg — as he’s often called, both by his patients and their parents — has been in practice for more than two decades, his office continues to be a modern, updated place with new technology, where parents love to bring their children for dental care.

In fact, some parents who now bring their children to Dr. Greg were his patients when they were children themselves.

When those parents arrive, they see more familiar faces in addition to  Dr. Greg. Office manager Melanie Phillips has been with the practice since 1987.

Since this picture was taken in 1993, much has changed, but the smiling faces of some long-term employees still make children feel at ease during their dental appointments. Dr. Greg (far left), office manager Melanie (far right), dental assistant Brenda (next to Melanie) and insurance coordinator Shannon (in front of Brenda) have all been with the practice for more than two decades.

“That is such a compliment to know they had such good experiences here as a child that they want to bring their kids, too,” says Melanie. 

That’s actually what happened in her family, too, Melanie adds. “Dr. Stepanski took care of my two kids’ teeth, and now my grandkids come here.”

She adds, “I love Dr. Stepanski. He’s a very good dentist. He puts a lot of thought into his treatment plans and thinks about what’s best for the child.”

She says she loves coming to work because she sees the difference that the practice is making in people’s lives. While Melanie says she knows many people of her own generation who were — and still are — scared to see a dentist because of their own experiences, that’s simply not the case for Dr. Greg’s patients.

“We’re creating a whole different environment, so people take care of their teeth,” Melanie says. “It’s a big part of their overall health. If you have decay or infection in your mouth, that can affect the whole body.”

Dr. Greg earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree from the Ohio State University College of Dentistry in Columbus, and also earned a B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN.

He says one of his primary goals was ensuring kids’ teeth stay healthy from a very young age. 

“We are encouraging children to have a dental home by the age of one,” he says.

Dr. Greg and Melanie

Dr. Greg explains that age one is now recommended by both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics for a child’s first dental appointment.

“It’s preventive,” he says. “Now we’re seeing more and more patients at age one and seeing less problems. We’re also seeing a little bit less tooth decay.”

Making Young Patients Feel Right At Home

Shelly Alt, who lives in Covington Estates in Cross Creek, is mom to four girls. She says she has been taking her daughters to Dr. Greg for the last five or six years.

Previously, she went to another dentist, but that office didn’t take her insurance. She said she would pay hundreds of dollars at each visit, so she decided to switch to Children’s Dentistry, which accepts her insurance and is much closer to her home.

“Dr. Stepanski is fabulous,” Shelly says, “but what also makes his office are the ladies. They are always happy, they have a great time and they love kids. They’re just wonderful.”

Melanie agrees that she and her staff love their jobs. “My team has experience, they love kids and they have a good time,” she says. “They are concerned about their patients, and we have fun throughout the day.”

She says the office’s friendly, happy staff creates an environment where parents are comfortable, and they hope parents will ask any and all questions at any time, even if they have to call the office after they’ve left their child’s appointment. 

“Any questions, ask us,” Melanie says. “We’re all parents and we know that these are your children and you have to be comfortable and have confidence in who is taking care of your children.”

Melanie says that starts at the top, with Dr. Greg and the way he cares for each and every child who sits in his chair.

“He creates an environment where you can’t be anything else but caring and concerned for the patients,” she says, “because that’s who he is.”

Kids visit Dr. Stepanski for cleanings, which are recommended twice a year, and X-rays. They’re taught about the importance of dental hygiene and shown how to properly brush and floss. Sealants and fluoride treatments are offered as a preventative measure against decay.

When decay happens, Dr. Stepanski does fillings and restorations. Also, he sees kids for emergencies, such as if they chip or knock out a tooth.

A Commitment To Community Outreach

Dr. Greg’s office is more than just a place to get your children’s teeth checked. He and Melanie say it’s a family, and they are intentional about building that community feeling, as well.

Every year, Dr. Greg’s patients are invited to visit Santa at the practice’s annual Christmas party.

“Our families bring their kids all dressed up and take their family Santa photos with our professional photographer,” says Dr. Greg, who adds that there also are fun activities for the kids, such as face painting, a balloon artist and crafts. “It’s become quite an event.”

Alt says the holiday party is one of her favorite things about the practice. “The most fabulous thing is not having to go to the mall to see Santa,” she says. “They have games and music and face painting. My kids look forward to that every year. It’s great.”

Dr. Greg enjoys it, too.

“We have it here so the kids can see that it’s a fun destination,” he says. “They can interact with me and the staff while we’re having fun, not trying to do a filling or fix a tooth that was knocked out.”

In addition to his office’s events, Dr. Greg reaches out to the community in many other ways. He brings “Tommy the Toothbrush” — a character who stresses good dental hygiene — to visit local schools during February, which is Dental Health Month.

“We give toothbrushes to all the kids,” Dr. Greg explains, “Some of them might not have one.”

He also has provided dental care for migrant children and does a program each fall where he donates a Thanksgiving turkey to Metropolitan Ministries in the name of any pediatrician or dentist who refers a new patient to him.

“We like to give to Metropolitan Ministries,” he says.

Dr. Greg also is a charter member and past president of the New Tampa Noon Rotary Club, an active church member at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church.

For appointments and more information about Children’s Dentistry (10317-B Cross Creek Blvd.), call (813) 973-3100, visit DrGreg-ChildrensDentistry.com. The office accepts most major dental insurance plans.

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