Meet a Mom: Pediatric Dentist Elite Mekel | Beach Cities Moms

This week’s Meet a Mom feature is Elite Mekel, a pediatric dentist who just opened her practice, Pacific Coast Pediatric Dentistry, in Redondo Beach!

Read more about this special mom’s favorite local spots and what she loves to do in the South Bay, her daily routine, how she got the inspiration to move to the South Bay and open her office here, and more!

How many kids do you have and what are their ages?

One son – 18 months. He is rambunctious enough to count for two!

 

What are your favorite local things to do with your kids?

My husband and I chose to move to the South Bay because we love being outside and there is so much to do here.  Fortunately, our son loves being outdoors too.  We go to the beach multiple times a week (our son loves the sand and can’t get into too much trouble there). We also love to hike the trails around Palos Verdes, walk the strand on the weekend to get coffee and/or breakfast, and explore all the local parks (Veterans, Valley & Polliwog are the current favorites).  When the weather isn’t great (not often) MyGym and LOOMA Space are other places our son loves to burn off some energy.

 

What do you like about living in the South Bay and why did you decide to raise your family here?

I grew up in the valley (and currently work there too – yikes commute) but attending UCSB for undergrad I fell in love with the beach lifestyle and knew I eventually wanted to find my way back to a beach community to raise my family. Admittedly, I hadn’t spent much time in the South Bay before moving here, so it was a bit of a leap of faith but I’m so glad we did it.  The schools are incredible, the sunshine in amazing, and everyone is so friendly and happy. We get to live in a wonderful beach-side community while still having easy access to all that we love about Los Angeles (sports, restaurants and entertainment) – what’s not to love?  I’m so excited to open up my own office here in the South Bay and contribute to this amazing community.

You are about to open your pediatric dental practice, Pacific Coast Pediatric Dentistry.  Can you tell us about the company and the services you offer?

Yes! We are a pediatric dental office with a focus on integrative oral health, education, prevention, and collaboration with other health care providers.

We take a whole body approach to dentistry – it’s not just about cavity prevention and straight teeth (although we want that too) but it is about the overall health and well-being of our children.  At every exam we will offer nutritional and preventive oral health guidance, assessment of facial musculature and tethered oral tissues, airway evaluation to address issues that can impact breathing and sleeping, and eruption guidance of primary and permanent teeth for proper jaw development.

We will also offer all your standard dental care needs – cleanings, fluoride, x-rays (we use the “as low as reasonable achievable” approach to only take x-rays when necessary), preventative sealants, customized treatment options based on preferences and cavity risk, minimally invasive and remineralizing treatment options when appropriate, conventional fillings, nitrous oxide, extractions, emergency visits, tongue and lip tie evaluations and habit appliance correctors.

I strongly believe that one of the best means of prevention is education. Our office offers longer appointments to allow us time to discuss diet, nutrition, habits, and sleep with our young patients. Our goal is to provide patients and parents with the information and resources they need to make decisions that are best for their family. I love to read and keep up to date on all the latest literature in dentistry (and especially airway health) – and I am always excited to talk about these topics with my patients and parents.

Sometimes restorative care is necessary but we want to try to identify underlying causes and focus on prevention. Regular check-ups will help us identify dental problems early, discuss corrective actions and minimize treatment.

We want to create a space that is calm and welcoming, Our goal is to make every visit a positive experience so that your child will love their twice per year visits.

What is your inspiration behind Pacific Coast Pediatric Dentistry?

As a mother, I want Pacific Coast Pediatric Dentistry to be the office that I would feel confident to bring my child from diapers all the way through high school, and also a place that I would want to visit a few times a year.

I also want our office to be a hub for collaboration with other health professionals– dentists, doctors, therapists in the South Bay so that we can collaborate to help our patients together. Eventually I would like to host continuing education events, networking happy hours and other events for the broader community.

 

How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?

I had been debating starting my own practice for a few years now, but it’s a big commitment and investment requiring a big leap of faith.  So many of the mothers I have met through mommy-and-me groups, youth sports classes and otherwise around the community have been so encouraging and supportive and given me the confidence that this was the right move. I feel so lucky to live in the beautiful South Bay and can’t wait to serve the families in my own community.

 

How do you juggle work and motherhood?

It’s tough.  I love being a mom and spending as much time with my son as possible.  I also love my work and my patients, and am so grateful for the trust families give me in taking care of their children.  We are very fortunate to have found an amazing preschool (Beach Babies) for our son – the staff is so loving and he is very happy and learning so much. When I get home after long work days, I make a point to put my phone and all other distractions aside and enjoy dinner, bath and bedtime with my son. I love discovering all the new things he’s learned to do and say and appreciate every second of time I get to spend with him.  I am very aware of how limited time we have with our kids, so every moment I have with him feels special.   I am SUPER excited to be opening my office in the South Bay so close to my home so that I can spend less time commuting, and more time with my family.

What does a typical weekday look like for you?

I currently work in Encino, so typical weekdays are a little chaotic. We wake up around 6:00 (my husband would say I am up closer 6:15, because I like to hit the snooze!), we get our son ready for the day and drop him off at daycare by 7:00.  If I’m not running behind I like to try to grab coffee a Two Guns or HiFi.   I make the commute to Encino (usually takes about an hour), see patients until 5:30 and commute back (another hour plus) – I burn through audiobooks and podcasts.  I get home around 6:45, dinner, bath and bedtime routine. After our son falls asleep, I will then usually spend a few hours working on the business with trash reality tv on in the background (my husband protests and pretends he’s not watching, but always seems to know more about what’s going on than I do).

 

What is your best advice for another mom?

I don’t think I am qualified to be giving advice with an 18-month-old son, but the advice I received from others that resonated most with me is to “trust your intuition”.  You know your child best and if something doesn’t feel right, ask more questions, seek more answers. If it feels like you are making the wrong choice, slow down. You are your child’s advocate. As their mom, you know them the best. So trust that mom gut and don’t be hard on yourself.  We are all doing the best we can!

 

Let’s Talk Local!  What is your favorite:

Family Restaurant: Captain Kidd’s Fish Market & Restaurant

Date Night Restaurant: Slay Hermosa

Brunch Spot: Martha’s

Shop: Gum Tree

Workout: Soho Yoga on the beach

Nature Spot: Bluffs at Terranea

Beach: Hermosa  (biased resident)

For more information on Pacific Coast Pediatric Dentistry or to book an appointment, visit their website

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