Winter Park Dentist Blog

Welcome to Our Team, Dr. Erik Holz

Dr. Erik Holz Winter Park Dentist Portrait

Why did you decide to work in dentistry?

I wanted the opportunity to take my extensive training in art and science and utilize it to help people. I love being able to work with my hands and dentistry gives me that ability. I still make bridges, they are just a lot smaller now!

What do you like most about your job?

I love being able to develop long lasting relationships with patients by providing them with gentle, comprehensive care. The ability to give a patient their smile back is unbelievably rewarding.

Dr. Erik Holz Mission Trip

What do you like to do with your free time?

In my free time I like to build and paint models, work out, and scuba dive for prehistoric animal teeth!

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

I worked on the design for hotel room in Cinderella’s Castle.

I once slept only 4 hours over a 6 day period in architecture school.

I have lived in 5 different states and 2 different countries.

Dr. Erik Holz Jogging

The Meaning Behind Our New Name – Park Smiles Dentistry

Winter Park Dentist

One day, I was walking down Park Avenue and looked over to see the park filled with fountains, benches and trees. As I looked around, I noticed it was alive with families playing with their kids, couples picnicking, and people just relaxing in the grass. I noticed that everyone seemed to be smiling, and I remember thinking to myself,


“Why can’t a dental office feel like this?”


This is exactly what I want our office to feel like. Our new name “Park Smiles Dentistry” refers to the easy-going, relaxed smiles people have when they are in a park. As counterintuitive as it may sound, we want you to feel relaxed when you come to the dentist. We want you to enjoy it while you are here and when you leave, we want you to feel better about yourself. We want to make it as easy as a walk in the park.


My name is Dr. Drew Byrnes, and I am the current and proud owner of this office. What some may not know is I am not the first or even the second dentist to own this practice. Before me, it was owned by Dr. Alan Price for around 40 years, and before him Dr. Wilbur Jennings opened our practice in a small cottage on New England Avenue in 1939. I wanted a name that paid tribute to the history of our practice, the excellent dentists who paved the way before me, and the Winter Park community. In fact, the fountain in our logo is modeled after the one that sits in the middle of Central Park on Park Avenue.


Park Smiles Dentistry is more than simply a name for us. It is also a statement of how we are going to care for our patients. It is a promise to treat each person who walks through our doors with such love and respect that they will forget they are in a dental office. Our goal is for patients to feel relaxed and at ease, like they are enjoying an afternoon at the park.


I decided to become a dentist for many reasons, one of the strongest being to help people overcome their fear of the dentist. I knew many people who were afraid of the dentist (myself included at times).  I felt it was an area which I could bring some compassion, and encourage others to take all aspects of their health seriously.


My mission is simple: make more people smile, make dental visits enjoyable, and provide excellent dental care! I believe our new name embodies this mission.



Our Dental Hygienist Retires!

Our Winter Park Dental Hygienist, Paula, Retires

After 46 years of changing lives in her role as a hygienist, Paula has retired. She spent the last 33 of those years working in our dental office. Over that time she has built lasting relationships with so many of our patients. We are all sad to see her leave but we are encouraged that she felt that this was the right time for her.

Paula has said that her patients are like family to her. Over the years she has shared lots of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, laughter and tears, and she feels as though she has been more than a hygienist to them but also a friend.

She has played an active role in the dental hygiene association on every level from local to national. She even served as the president of Florida Dental Hygiene Association. She loves to volunteer and will continue to do so after she retires. Beyond volunteering on foreign dental mission trips, one of her favorite things to do is to help with the Special Olympics. Paula has mentioned that one of the things that she is looking forward to in retirement is having time for more volunteer work.

We will miss Paula dearly but we are honored that she has decided to remain a patient at our office. This means that we will get to see her at least twice a year!

We will also be hosting a retirement reception for her on Thursday, April 6th at a local Winter Park restaurant, Cocina 214. We want to give Paula a proper farewell and we hope that you will join us.

Enjoy Retirement Paula! We will miss you!

Welcome To Our Team, Nicole!

Welcome Nicole to our Winter Park dental clinic 1

Why did you decide to work in dentistry?

Honestly, I never dreamed of being a dental hygienist when I was younger. I don’t think many people would consider it to be glamorous. I just kind of fell into it after looking for a degree in the healthcare industry. I completed a dental assisting program and wanted to go further after that. I couldn’t be happier about how it all worked out.

What do you like most about your job?

I love meeting new people everyday and building relationships with our patients over the years will be something I get to look forward to. I also love working with a team who puts others first, it makes coming to work fun!

What do you like to do with your free time?

Free time? What’s that? My 2 year old son keeps me pretty busy. We go to the park often and have lots of family close by so there’s never a dull moment. When we get a babysitter my husband and I love going to the movies.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

I am half Chinese, but I can’t speak or understand anything.

I have lots of family in Hawaii – my favorite place on Earth.

I’m a terrible cook, but have aspirations to improve.

Welcome Nicole to our Winter Park dental clinic 2

Read more about Nicole on the meet our team page.

Welcome To Our Team, Sara!

Welcome Sara to our Winter Park dental clinic 1

Why did you decide to work in dentistry?

Since 7th grade- I made my mind up that dentistry was my future pathway. I’m a huge fan of smiles, the science and artistic side of it. Educating on why we do things to help patients find value in what we do and how it can affect you if you don’t.

What do you like most about your job?

The patients relationships are the most rewarding, my work family, and the schedule is great with having a child.

Welcome Sara to our Winter Park dental clinic 2

What do you do in your free time?

I love working out, yoga, hanging with the family, watching movies, and enjoy traveling.

3 fun facts about me.

I dance like no one is watching- even when people are! Huge fan of dancing.

If I was stuck in a cornfield- I’d probably die of hunger- I hate corn.

I love vacuuming- it’s my favorite household chore!

Welcome Sara to our Winter Park dental clinic 3

Read more about Sara on the meet our team page.

Voted Best Dentist in Winter Park and Maitland 2017

Voted Best Dentist in Winter Park and Maitland in 2017

For the third year in a row, Dr. Drew Byrnes Family and Cosmetic Dentistry was voted best dentist in Winter Park and Maitland by our patients and the residents of these great cities. We are so humbled and want to say two words, “Thank you!”

2017 Ovations Logo Large

Check out our posts when we were voted best Winter Park and Maitland dentist in 2016 and also in 2015.

Every year we strive to get better at what we do.  Whether it is improving our customer service, adding new technology or adding amenities for our patients’ comfort, we do it all in an effort to treat our patients like family.

This past year we have welcomed some new members to our team and we said goodbye to our hygienist, Paula, when she retired after 33 years in our office. While we all miss her, our new hygienists, Sara and Nicole, have been such a great addition to our team!

We have also made many improvements and additions to our equipment and technology such as the addition of a state of the art digital X-ray system. This new technology uses less radiation and helps us to diagnose and explain treatment more effectively.

We have added essential oils air fresheners to remove the dental office smell and to make you feel relaxed. A new favorite piece of “technology” among some of our patients is our “brand new” record player in our reception area. We originally thought it would be fun to play records for our patients instead of our internet radio. However, growing up with cassette tapes and not records, Dr. Byrnes did not realize how frequently the record needed to be turns over! (About once every 15 minutes.) Now, it appropriately sits in our office as an antique.

Mostly importantly, over this past year we have changed lives and had a lot of fun doing it! Helping people overcome their dental phobias and restoring their confidence in their teeth and helping people as far away as Guatemala when Dr. Byrnes traveled there for a week of dental mission work.

Whether or not we are voted best dentist in Winter Park, Orlando or even the world, we want to say thank you to our patients for allowing us to do what we love everyday. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for trusting us to take care of you and your families. Here is to another great year!

Best Dentist in Winter Park and Maitland in 2017

No Needle Dentistry

No Needle Dentistry at your Winter Park Dental Clinic

This might be the biggest news dentistry has ever seen.

In the near future, you might be able to get dental work done without having to get a shot due to Kovanaze, a new type of dental anesthetic has come to the market.


Kovanaze was recently approved by the FDA to be used by dentists.  For over 100 years, the only method dentists had to get your teeth numb was using a needle to inject anesthetic into your gums.  While this can be done painlessly in most instances by a dentist with the proper training and knowledge, many people still have a large fear of needles.

This new type of dental anesthetic is different, and it does not require a needle because it is delivered via nasal spray. Unlike traditional dental anesthetics, it is reported to get the teeth numb, without getting the lips and gums numb. Do you know what that means? No more fat lip feeling!

While this product seems extremely promising, it does have a few drawbacks. Currently, it only works on teeth that are in the front of your mouth and on the top jaw. This means the teeth on the top that show when you smile. Also, it is currently very expensive, so don’t expect to see it at every dental office just yet.

This is great news for people who are afraid of needles. Hopefully one day soon we can say bye, bye Novocaine!

Be Thankful

This Thanksgiving Season…

We wanted to take a moment and recognize the things for which we are most thankful. We like to focus on the positive in life. When your heart is full of gratitude, it is difficult to be upset by the little things that life throws at us. What are you most grateful for? Share it with us on our Facebook page!



I am thankful for God’s Grace, a loving and supportive family, good health for myself and family, music, my church home, last but not least a wonderful job/office that I love and am so appreciative that truly feels like my second home. I am also thankful for a great boss and encouraging co-workers that all have the same core values and live by them.

Thanksgiving Winter Park Dentist Sara


I’m thankful for a family that loves me so tremendously well. It gives me a glimpse into how God loves me and who He is.Thanksgiving Winter Park Dentist Bre


At this time of thanksgiving, I am grateful for the love of family and friends who have lifted me up in bad times, shared my joy in good times, shown kindness at unexpected moments, and made me laugh. It is a blessing to have such amazing people in my life. Thanksgiving Winter Park Dentist Paula


I am thankful for my two sons. They are healthy and great. Also, I am thankful for my little girl, Sadie. She’s sassy and I love her. (Sadie is Catherine’s dog)Thanksgiving Winter Park Dentist Catherine


I’m thankful my loving daughter and husband, and our family!
A wonderful stable job, an awesome boss and great team of employees.
Lasting friendships with old and new friends.
To have a roof over my head.
Everyday to be alive!
Thanksgiving Winter Park Dentist Michele

Dr. Byrnes:

I am thankful for the life that God has blessed me with. I am thankful for my loving family, my amazing staff, my awesome patients, and most importantly, my beautiful WIFE!

Thanksgiving Winter Park Dentist Drew


What are you most grateful for this Thanksgiving? Share it with us on our Facebook page!

No Evidence Flossing Works. Should You Stop?

Dental Floss

If you haven’t already heard, The Associated Press put pressure on the U.S. government to provide scientific evidence to support their position that flossing helps prevent gum disease. As it turns out, they have been recommending it for decades but did not have the required research to support the common sense claim that flossing prevents gum disease.

What is the world coming to? It’s 2016 and we have to prove to people that flossing helps prevent gum disease? I am officially calling this a War on Flossing.

Does this mean that you can stop flossing? NO.


What does this mean? This means it is really, really difficult to run a scientific study of today’s standards that statistically proves that flossing has a direct correlation with preventing gum disease.

Why? If flossing is so important, there should be some evidence right? I promise you there is evidence. I see it every day. If you don’t floss on a regular basis and you would like to see the evidence that flossing is important, I kindly invite you to come to my office so I can show you the evidence. It is currently hiding in-between all of your teeth.

Here is the problem. To perform a scientific study that proves flossing prevents gum disease, you would have to do something like this:

Take a very large, random sample of people. Let’s say 1000 people from all over the country. Oh, and they all have to have a perfect mouth, no cavities, no gum disease. Now, you have to put them all on the exact same diet and instruct them to brush their teeth like normal but don’t floss. Keep in mind that if they have perfectly healthy mouthes, they probably floss every day. Then, you take another group of 1000 random people with perfectly health mouthes and instruct them to brush and floss every day. Then you have to wait to see if people in either group develop gum disease. This could take anywhere from 1-30 years.

Do you see the problem here? Beyond being hugely impossible or impractical, it would be just unethical to require a group of people not to floss for 30 years. A study like that would never be allowed. But that is what they mean when they say, ”there is no scientific evidence to prove that flossing prevents gum disease.”

You don’t need evidence, you just need common sense.


Gum disease is caused by bacteria in your mouth. Those bacteria form something called a biofilm and they stick to your teeth. If you don’t remove the biofilm from your teeth, you will get cavities and you will get gum disease. You can remove the biofilm with your toothbrush but your toothbrush can’t reach in between your teeth. That is why you need to use floss.

Listen, if you don’t want to floss, then don’t floss. I won’t be mad at you. It’s your mouth. But when the U.S. government comes out and makes a statement like “there is not evidence to support flossing.” People hear that and it just confuses them. And worse, it makes ME look like a liar.

Believe me, if flossing made no difference in your oral health I would be the first to tell you not to do it. Dentists’ have it hard enough with people being scared of us or not trusting us. I would not be telling you something that you did not want to hear if it was not important. Who wouldn’t want to come to a dentist who told people that they didn’t have to floss. People would love that. But it wouldn’t be true. So I can’t say it.

Do you know what else? There are no research papers proving a parachute prevents death when jumping out of a plane.

Just food for thought.

Welcome to Our Team, Bre!

Welcome to the Team Bre

We would like to introduce you to our newest team member, Bre! Bre is our receptionist so if you call our office to make an appointment, she will probably be the person who answers your call. To help you get to know Bre better, we asked her a few questions. Here is what she had to say:

Why did you decide to work in dentistry?

Our mouths and teeth are essential to our lives. We use them everyday…eating/drinking (hopefully something yummy!), speaking/singing, and my favorite SMILING! It’s amazing what value and confidence can be added to your life by having quality dental care.

What do you like most about your job?

I love getting to know our patients! Something that has surprised me is how many of our patients are friends. I enjoy hearing their stories. Who knew your teeth cleaning could become part of your Girls Day Out…lunch on Park Ave afterwards?

Welcome Bre

What do you like to do with your free time?

Be with Family!! Family celebrations, date nights with my hubby, movie nights with my sons, and meeting with my church small group (they’re my extended family!). Quality Time is one of my top Love Languages.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.

I have been on several local and foreign mission trips including Jordan, Mexico and Brazil. Love Jesus! Love culture!

I am afraid of heights!

I was born and raised in Missouri and came to Florida for college. I played volleyball at Palm Beach Atlantic University where I met my husband. That’s the short story on how I became a Floridian.

Was the dress black and blue or white and gold?

Both! The first time I saw it was on Facebook. I was scrolling through and saw a white and gold dress. I kept scrolling through and then I saw it as black and blue.