By Deborah Bostock-Kelley

Most teenagers don’t know their future career path. Dr. Amy Creech-Gionis knew she wanted to follow in her dentist’s footsteps at age 14. While her mother had extensive dental work, he allowed her to sit a watch the procedure from a nearby chair.

“At one particular visit for a cleaning, my dental hygienist, Sandy, asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I told her ‘I think I want to do what you do.’  She smiled and said, ‘Amy, do what HE does!’” 

The seed was planted. 

A rare Florida native, she attended Stetson University, studying Biology and Chemistry, and then went on to University of Florida College of Dentistry to complete her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. 

“My intention at the beginning of dental school was to become an Orthodontist, however once I got to the clinical portion of dental school, I realized that there are so many cool aspects to dentistry I did not want to limit myself to just one thing for the rest of my career.  I loved it all!”

She graduated from UFCD in 1995 as a General Dentist and moved to Tampa to join her fiancée and opened her first practice in a high rise in Downtown Tampa. Though she loved her patient base of business professionals and others who worked in the heart of the city, in 2001 she moved her practice to where she had planted roots with her husband and growing family – Westchase.

“I built my first “scratch” practice in Westchase in 2001 of Sheldon Road and have practiced in that community ever since! I love being close to home and serving my friends and neighbors.  I don’t think I have ever had a trip to Publix without seeing a familiar face from the office,” said Dr. Creech.

Since 2012, Dr. Creech continued to expand Tampa Dental Wellness from her flagship location in Westchase to a second location in central Carrollwood.

“Both practices are very focused on the patient receiving the very best dentistry has to offer in terms of technology, variety of services available under one roof, customer service, technology and current treatment.  We enjoy patients of all ages, even very little ones as young as a few years old. Parents of very young children or of children on their first visit generally have a parent accompany them into treatment rooms, but our goal is always to establish a trusting relationship with the child, and gradually most children are comfortable coming to see us for treatment without their parents in the room.   With Covid-19 protocols, we aim to minimize any additional people in the office unless they are directly receiving care. We take safety of our patients and team very seriously!”

Dr. Creech has invested in technologies, protocols and equipment to provide an extremely clean, safe environment where everyone can relax and know that they are being cared for with the utmost safety. As a “paperless” office, all records are digital. Payments and completion of routine forms can be completed in a touchless manner. 

Upon arrival at the office, patients remain in their car until they have completed a quick Covid Screening Text,   a masked team member then comes to the car and records their temperature, and then the patient is escorted directly to their treatment room to minimize contact with others or the need to touch general surfaces.  

“Along with our normally stringent sterilization and disinfections protocols, we are utilizing additional Hypochlorous Acid foggers to clean the office and treatment rooms between patients safely and very completely.  All team members wear masks and/or faceshields at all times inside the building.  Hand sanitizer is used frequently by all non-clinical staff, and appropriate physical distancing is carefully practiced.  In the clinical areas, all team members wear PPE that includes full water resistant surgical gowns, headcovers, surgical masks and faceshields. Safety is first priority!”

A typical first visit to Tampa Dental Wellness of Westchase and Carrollwood includes a medical and dental history “get to know you” dialogue, diagnostic digital xrays, a complete examination by the dentist and the dental hygienist using The Florida Probe, which measures around each tooth and can aid detection of what may have been “silent” gum disease issues, an oral cancer screening, and pictures of the inside of the mouth and the teeth displayed on a large screen TV to the patient.

Depending on the needs of the patient, the dental hygienist will complete her treatment. Finally, one of their friendly and knowledgeable front office team members will spend time with the patient to discuss any treatment needs that the doctor has diagnosed, and answering all questions.

Dr. Creech does not believe in the term dental coward. 

“We take it very seriously that dental anxiety is a very real and valid thing, and because of this, many years ago I attended what was at that time Medical College of Georgia Dental School to receive my training and certificate in IV and oral conscious sedation.  Whether it be as simple as warm blankets and lip balm, to creating a unique sedation protocol that fits the needs of the fearful patient, we go to every length possible to make our patients comfortable during their visits with us. My greatest joy is seeing patients that were initially almost too afraid to enter the building, or sit in the chair come back year after year with a smile now, and no longer needing to be sedated for treatment. That is a great testament to my amazing team!”

Services at Tampa Dental Wellness of Westchase and Carrollwood cover the gamut from Sedation Dentistry, placement and installation of dental implants, porcelain veneers, full mouth reconstruction, dental crowns, smile makeovers, dental bonding, teeth whitening, scaling and root planing, and tooth extraction.

“I am blessed with an amazing group of professionals that work with me at both offices.  The dental hygienists are absolute experts in educating their patients about their health, and they take very personal interest in each and every one and truly care that each person has the information, tools and encouragement to improve and then maintain their oral condition,” she said. “My two associate doctors, Dr. Connie Leal and Dr. Nicole Madahvieh are very knowledgeable, friendly and gentle.  Between the 3 doctors, we provide scheduling flexibility and are able to make sure that we can see any patient that has a need very quickly.”

Dr. Creech eagerly admits to being a continuing education junkie, having received advanced training in Implantology.

“I now spend a considerable part of my practice placing dental implants to restore my patients’ smiles and dental health.  I can anchor a loose denture for my seniors so that they can eat, talk and smile comfortably again, replace a single lost tooth without having to damage neighboring teeth for a bridge, or even replace a full mouth of missing teeth with implants.  I love surgery, and I have to say this is one of the parts of my practice that brings me the greatest satisfaction.”

Dr. Creech loves giving back to the patients and communities that welcomed her. From Patient Appreciation basket giveaways, complimentary teeth polishing to brides and grooms-to-be before their big day, Dr. Amy’s Annual Halloween Candy Buy-back, and other things to supporting the local elementary, middle and high schools with sponsorships, sponsor youth sports teams and more every year, they love their communities.

When asked what makes a good dentist, Dr. Creech responded, “I truly believe dentists are some of the most caring, empathetic members of the healthcare community. We tend to be detail oriented, sensitive and creative.  I would say that actively listening to each person, taking time to hear what a person expects and desires is just as important as looking for what a person needs, treatment wise.  Establishing a relationship is paramount, because a doctor patient relationship is best when it involves mutual trust.”

Accepting new patients and inviting entire families, Tampa Dental Wellness of Westchase and Carrollwood is located at 11321 Countryway Blvd. (Westchase) and 11123 N Dale Mabry Hwy. (Carrollwood). They take most insurance PPO plans, and offers a Savings Plan for patients who do not have dental insurance so that they can receive two annual preventive visits with the dental hygienist, xrays and exams as well as significant savings on all other treatment. For more information, visit her website at tampadentalwellness.net or call 813.855.2273 (Westchase) and 813.265.2273 (Carrollwood) to schedule an appointment.