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Thursday, April 17, 2014
A dentist comes home to Merrick
(Page 2 of 2)
Courtesy Rania Elbaz
Calhoun High School graduate and pediatric dentist Rania Elbaz, with husband, Zachary, son Amir, 3, and daughter, Noora, 11 months old. In November, Elbaz will open her own practice in Merrick.

Elbaz said that she was afraid of the dentist as a child. “I hated the dentist as a kid,” she said. “I was scared of needles.

“I remember being held down and having a tooth extracted when I was very young,” Elbaz continued. “Because of that, I feel like I can take my own negative experiences and make sure that we’re building a generation of kids who are a lot more positive about their teeth and dental health.”

To help her patients feel comfortable, Elbaz said she makes up names for her dental instruments to put the children at ease. “We come up with creative names for everything and make up a story out of the whole experience, like we’re painting a princess on their tooth instead of putting the filling in,” she said.

“It’s just different ways to make it creative,” Elbaz continued, “and different ways to make that environment, which is so intimidating, less intimidating for the kids.”

Elbaz said that she had always wanted to work in Merrick, but could not find the right office until recently. For now, she will work select days of the week, sharing a space with another dentist. Her office is located in the first-floor suite of a house on Merrick Avenue, just south of Sacred Heart School.

Elbaz said she hopes to eventually find her own office farther south on Merrick Avenue, in the Merrick business district. “I love that downtown area, and I like that feeling of being there,” said Elbaz, who added that she used to frequent Via Roma pizzeria and restaurant for lunch while a student at Calhoun.

Elbaz will hold a “candy buy-back” in her new office on Nov. 2 from 3 to 7 p.m. Open to all children in the community, the event will aid Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit organization aiding U.S. troops overseas.

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