Dentist - Coral Gables

475 Biltmore Way, Suite 310, Coral Gables, FL 33134




Find Us

475 Biltmore Way, Suite 310, Coral Gables, FL 33134

Map & Directions

Patient Education

Family Healthcare Not a Thing of the Past

Small rural towns aren't the only place you can receive intimate healthcare, Dr. Fred Witkoff and his daughter Shari Witkoff are local dentists who pride themselves on delivering state of the art dentistry with an old-fashioned, personal touch.

Upon first entering this untraditionally decorated office one is aware that there is no hint of its medical nature (other than sample photos of their own "before and after" work in the waiting room). There are even a variety of posters on the ceiling over the dental chairs.

It is easy to see how the Drs. Witkoff have created a thriving "family practice". Warm, smiling faces greet you, you are pampered with a blanket if you are cold, and everyone gets a warm towelette for their face when finished.

Dr. Fred Witkoff has been practicing in Coral Gables since 1956. His first practice was on Miracle Mile, but now he and his daughter Shari practice at 475 Biltmore Way, adjacent to City Hall.

Both dentists strive to keep their practice from turning into a "factory style", which has been a trend since managed care has impacted medicine and dentistry. "We treat people like we want to be treated ourselves" says the senior dentist. I don't like going to offices where I wait around forever and then get shuffled through like cattle".

At 74, Dr. Fred Witkoff shows no signs of retiring. He has slowed down to practicing 3 days a week, and is proud to have his daughter, Shari
37, take over the practice. "I'm lucky to have such a wonderful mentor", says Dr. Shari Witkoff. "My father has encouraged me to follow in his footsteps since I was in the third grade. He told me `nowadays women can be anything-astronauts, politicians ... even dentists!'. He always encouraged me at everything I did, but pointed out how useful any talent I had would be for a dentist-from art to juggling".

Now this father-daughter team learns from each other, although both doctors teach, which they say keeps them abreast of the latest technology and materials.

Dr. Fred has been Chairman of the Aesthetic Dentistry Section at the Dade County Dental Research Clinic (DCDRC) at Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center for 20 years. Here he teaches dental residents and local dentists how to achieve cosmetic results, combining new information with techniques he has perfected over the years.

Dr. Shari Witkoff has followed in her father's footsteps in more ways than one. She is on the faculty of Nova Southeastern's College of Dentistry, where she works with 24 general dental residents. She is also involved with the DCDRC, serving as president for an unprecedented second year.

The DCDRC is a dental clinic serving the indigent population of Jackson Hospital's Health System. It is entirely run by volunteer dentists, with financial support from the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. "This is a wonderful place where patients pay very little to receive top-quality dental work from qualified dentists, dentists receive their CE (continuing education) hours from highly reputable dentists in the community, and dental-assistant students get hands-on experience working in a live setting" explains Witkoff

Unfortunately, the program is currently having funding trouble with the financial cuts. Because of the tumultuous year, and the apparent success she was having, the Board of Dentists encouraged Dr. Shari Witkoff to stay on board as president for an extra year.

Although it seems that these doctors have their plates quite full, both manage to make time for personal hobbies. For Dr. Fred, it's his religious studies and his poetry (for which he is published) and for Dr. Shari it's various physical activities from competitive fencing to road biking (she recently completed a 100k ride for the Lance Armstrong Foundation).

In addition to their passion for their world this family-run practice has an emphasis on humor. Some people whistle while they work, the Witkoffs are known for telling jokes. Their patients love the atmosphere. "I've been a patient here for, well since before Shari was born, and I look forward to my visits because they're actually fun", says Harry Wiseman, a long-time Coral Gables resident. "I've been a patient of Fred's forever, but I must say I prefer the prettier doctor. Besides, she's got smaller hands" quips Wiseman. Even patients who have joined the practice recently receive the same warmth, and feel just as familiar to the practice.

For those whose level of anxiety is higher than can be managed by soothing personalities alone, the Witkoffs offer a few solutions depending on the patient's needs. The strongest is sedation dentistry, with a small pill. For those who prefer to "sleep", work can be done while the patient is sedated, allowing those with previous dental trauma to handle the stress and maintain their dental health. The mildest is nitrous oxide gas, commonly called "laughing gas". The patient is fully conscious, just less tense. "You are aware of what is going on, but feel like you have had a glass of wine" says Adelaida Pacheco, an assistant here for 2 years. The effects of the gas are dissipated out of your system and you are fine to drive afterward. This gas is even available for regular and deep cleanings done while the patient is sedated, allowing those with previous dental trauma to handle the stress and maintain their dental health.

The staff here at the office is trained in this style as well. With a welcoming greeting at the front desk, through any work with one of the hygienists or assistants, you can see they have pride in the office and in their work. "When someone comes in for the first time, we take the time to get to know them and make them feel very comfortable. We often have them laughing before they get out of the chair" says Barbara Snyder, an assistant working here for 9 years. The humor and lightheartedness seems to take the stress off of the typical dental visit. Patients quickly lose their apprehension and feel very well cared for in this intimate environment.

Many of us may remember a time when doctor visits were scheduled conveniently, by people you remember and who remember you. You didn't have to go through a voice mail menu. It is comforting to know that having dental work in this kind of personalized environment is not extinct or only available in a community far out of the city. The Witkoffs have an office "where everybody knows your name".

Drs. Fred and Shari Witkoff work hard at not only providing beautiful dentistry, but in creating a space where you really do lose any anxiety you may bring with you . They have created an environment that is a place where they are comfortable working, their staff are at ease and eager to please and it translates into a wonderful place to go for
all your dental needs.

The joy that they experience is contagious-as is the laughter they create as well. This is a wonderful jewel to have in the Gables business community, and a model for other medical/dental practices.