Last updated: May 31. 2014 3:42PM - 778 Views
By Geri Gibbons Sunday Dispatch Correspondent

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This is part of a regular feature on the businesses that have operated on Main Street, Pittston, for many years.

Dr. LaFoca, Smith, and Santos’ dental office on Main Street in Pittston offers much more than simply a place to get one’s smile brightened. A Pittston staple, it provides a sense of history and service to downtown Pittston. The office OFFERS a full range of cosmetic and general dentistry, emphasizing the importance of long term dental health.

Patients say although a dental office is sometimes associated with fear or discomfort, the little office nestled on the corner of Main and Williams streets is often filled with laughter.

Staff prides itself on caring not only about clients’ teeth, but about their lives.

Dr. Santa LaFoca, owner of the practice, a graduate of Pittston Area High School and Temple School of Dentistry, describes the office as “a hometown practice.” Originally established in 1992, it moved to Kennedy Boulevard in Pittston in 1998. It found it permanent spot 2001.

LaFoca said the practice and its staff strongly supports the local community, including the neighboring YMCA. He is not only running a business, but giving back to the community “always with kindness and respect.” His staff shares his vision of community.

LaFoca credits his clientele with loyalty, which provides an opportunity for long term dental health.

Staff say they consider it an honor to operate a dental practice in the Pittston area, believing dentistry provides an opportunity to help people be their best self, both in regard to their health and their appearance.

Dr. Eric Smith, who joined the practice in 2008 after graduating from Temple University Dental School, said he considers patients more than just customers, but friends.

Smith, from Mountaintop, said it was a pleasure to return to the area. In addition to health concerns, Smith wants to help people look their best.

“Dentistry is both an art and a science,” he said.

Dr. Doreen Santos, not just a dentist but also a mother, brings a unique perspective to the practice. Often youngsters are especially comfortable with her because of her reassuring approach.

Also a graduate of Temple School of Dentistry, she joined the practice in 2008.

Santos heads the Luzerne County Dental Society.

The practice seeks not only to address immediate dental concerns, but also to teach and inform patients regarding good dental practices.

“I remember one young person coming to the office filled with anxiety and fear of the dentist,” said Smith, “by the time they left they were understanding a bit more about their teeth and wanting to come back. That’s what good dentistry is all about.”

Office manager Sharon Ardoline is often sought out by patients for a “quick hello” or to see pictures of children or recently adopted pets.

Ardoline is enthusiastic in her support of clients and her belief the office is making a difference in their lives.

“I remember one young lady who came in with a missing tooth,” Ardoline recalls. “We were able to work with her and make it possible for her to have a full smile.”

Dental hygienist Susan Patton, an advocate of healthy living, views dental health as part of a bigger picture.

Healthy teeth make it more likely that patients will eat nutritious foods and take better general care of themselves. She encourages teeth cleanings, and regular checkups for optimal general health.

Patton has recently lost more than a hundred pounds, and she has brought clients along in her fitness journey.

“Many say I’m an inspiration to them,” said Patton, “and I’m glad to go beyond simply my duties as a hygienist, and encourage clients to pursue positive living.”

Colette Jesikiewicz, a receptionist and the heart of the office, has been with the practice from its beginning.

“It was really a matter of ‘if you build it, they will come’,” she said. “We believed if we provided quality dental service we would attract a healthy client base and we have.”

Jesikiewicz enjoys the opportunity to support clients through challenging times.

“Often we can really make a difference in the lives of our clients with medical assistance,” she said. “Most are just going through a rough patch and we are happy to help make their lives a bit better.”

The practice accepts most insurance providers.

One client standing in front of the office on Main Street, said, “They made my smile presentable in my workplace and in my life, and that has made all the difference.”

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