If I could describe what I love most about my work in one word, it would be “transformation.” The transformations my patients go through, both in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics, fuels my passion for patient care.
The transformation with my pediatric patients often comes during their first appointment when they realize that dentistry doesn’t have to be a fearful experience. I find it so rewarding when they walk in clinging to their parents and not wanting to come in, but on the way out, they don’t want to leave because they had so much fun!
Often, my orthodontic patients come in unwilling to smile or show their teeth. After completing their treatment, I can see it is not just their smile that has changed but also their confidence and pride in showing their smile. It is both a privilege and an honor to be a part of that transformation process.
My Experience and Education
My father was an outstanding local orthodontist for 45 years, which exposed me to dentistry from an early age. However, it wasn’t until college that I decided the dental profession was for me.
I volunteered at Shands Hospital while attending the University of Florida and was introduced to many areas, including emergency care, neurology, pediatrics, and dentistry. After those experiences, I knew dentistry was for me because I felt at home in the dental clinic even though I was away from the comfort of my father’s practice.
I completed dental school at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, and went on to earn master’s degrees in both pediatric dentistry and orthodontics from Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine in Ft. Lauderdale.
Continuing a Passion for Learning
As a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, I am held to a higher standard and am required to go above and beyond the general requirements of continuing education for the State of Florida. On an annual basis, I attend meetings organized by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Association of Orthodontists, where I participate in cutting-edge lectures and hands-on training to stay up to date on the latest technology and information regarding dental materials, technology, and equipment.
Continuing my education allows me to provide the highest quality of care with the least invasive techniques, including digital radiographs to minimize radiographic exposure and digital scanning to minimize the use of invasive impression materials. In addition, I attend continuing education courses on medical emergencies in the dental office and how a patient’s overall health, not just dental health, plays an important role in their treatment.
- American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
- American Association of Orthodontists
- American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
- American Dental Association
- College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
- Florida Dental Association
- Hillsborough County Dental Association
Family and Community
I am married to my loving and supportive husband AJ, and we have been blessed with two amazing children, Sofia and Aneudi Mateo. We also have a beautiful and sweet cat named Romeo.
My time outside the office is dedicated to spending time with my family. We enjoy going to the beach or traveling, especially to Miami or the Caribbean where we visit with family. Our children have had passports since they were less than six months old! My other interests include music, dancing, spending time outdoors, sunsets, and being near the ocean.
I truly enjoy volunteering and having been doing so from a young age. I was fortunate to be involved with a mission trip that my father helped to start in the late 1980s, which to this day helps a small town called La Victoria in the Dominican Republic. I helped my father and our church to collect donations and had the privilege to serve as a translator on one of the medical missions in the Dominican Republic when I was 15 years old.
That experience changed my life and made me realize that serving others is something I wanted to do. Since then I have volunteered my time in many other areas, including reading programs for children, dental mission trips to Haiti, community health fairs, and Give Kids a Smile, through which I have donated my time to provide free dental care to children who otherwise could not afford it.