All professionals at The Smiling Turtle maintain the highest levels of accreditation and pursue ongoing education to stay abreast of the latest trends in the medical field. Read on to learn more about our staff's experience and training.
Dr. Banakus received her dental degree from West Virginia University School of Dentistry. While at WVU, Dr. Banakus was the Student Research Body President, a member of the Delta Sigma Delta Dental Fraternity, and inducted into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society. Upon graduation, Dr. Banakus received the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiography Award and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Student Achievement Award.
After dental school, Dr. Banakus completed a General Practice Residency at Lutheran Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. At this Level-1 Trauma Center, she received the Resident of the Year Award. While in New York, Dr. Banakus met her husband Dan.
At the completion of her General Practice rotation, Dr. Banakus completed a two-year pediatric dental residency at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where she served as Chief Resident. While in the Pediatric Dental Program, Dr. Banakus received several awards for her research, including an award for excellence in pediatric dentistry from the Kentucky Dental Association.
Upon completion of her residency, Dr. Banakus, her husband & their pets moved to Novato, CA and established a pediatric dental practice that serves the Bay Area and its wonderful children. Novato Pediatric Dentistry & Tuga, The Smiling Turtle, have enhanced smiles there for 11 years.
Dr. Banakus is a Diplomate in the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. She is also a member of the American Dental Association, North Carolina Dental Association, the North Carolina Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. She holds certifications in Oral Conscious Sedation, as well as Basic and Pediatric Advanced Life Support.
Dr. Banakus loves spending her free time playing with her children, Ashton and Fielden, and also enjoys running, spinning, golfing, swimming, hiking and reading. Dr. Banakus also enjoys working in the community and giving back in any way she can. Dr. Banakus is an Appalachian child at heart and has always been eager to give back to children just like her. In 2019, she decided it was the perfect time to pursue her dream of giving back to kiddos in an area that is near and dear to her heart. With her family, she is bringing The Smiling Turtle to charming and wonderful North Carolina.
Dr. Banakus' words reflect her passion to serve children in life:
"Children are amazing and constantly keep me smiling and laughing. I feel like I connect with children in a way that helps me understand their anxieties and fears and allows me to help comfort them. I take great pride in my relationships with each individual patient and their teeth. I love helping groom kids into happy dental patients, with good oral health care, that will lead to a life-long positive attitude toward dental care and healthy habits. I treat every patient as if they are my own child. I love teeth and I love children - from infancy through their college years. My relationships with my patients go well beyond dental exams twice a year. I am from a very small town originally and I strive to treat each of my patients with my small-town values."