7428 Redwood Blvd ste 101
Novato, CA 94945
info@thesmilingturtle.com
 
Dental Staff

All professionals at Novato Pediatric Dentistry 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.

Neidre Banakus, DDS - Board Certified Pediatric Dental Specialist

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, a Novato native.

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 from the Kentucky Dental Association.

Having visited Novato several times during her residency, Dr. Banakus fell in love with the area and its charm. With her husband and two dogs (Lancer and Remy), Dr. Banakus moved to Novato to establish Novato Pediatric Dentistry.

Dr. Banakus is a Diplomate in the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. She is also a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, California Society of Pediatric Dentistry, the Marin County Dental Society, 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 son Ashton and also enjoys running, spinning, golfing, swimming, and reading.

"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."


Stephanie Hardwick, DDS - Board Certified Pediatric Dental Specialist

Dr. Stephanie Hardwick is excited to be living and practicing pediatric dentistry in Marin County. Dr. Stephanie grew up in Reno, NV but spent much of her childhood visiting family and friends in the Bay Area. Always having loved Marin, Dr. Stephanie was determined to one day call it home. Upon completing her dental education, Dr. Stephanie and her husband moved from New York City to San Francisco. In 2017, their family finally got the opportunity to make Marin their new home.

Dr. Stephanie received her bachelors degree from the University of San Diego. She pursued her Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) at the University of California, Los Angeles and went on to receive specialty training at the New York University College of Dentistry and Bellevue Hospital in New York City where she completed a residency program in Pediatric Dentistry. While at UCLA and NYU, Dr. Stephanie participated in several national and international outreach programs providing dental care to children in underserved areas with no other access to care. After completing her dental education, Dr. Stephanie moved to San Francisco with her husband and began practicing pediatric dentistry in the Bay Area. She recently moved to Marin County with her family and she is thrilled to be joining Dr. Banakus and her team in Novato, where she will be practicing close to home. In addition to helping children take care of their smiles, Dr. Stephanie loves spending time with her husband, labradoodle Driver, and their son Clay. When not in the office, you may find them exploring the great outdoors, testing out the newest slide at the local playground, or enjoying a morning walk to a local coffee shop.

Dr. Stephanie is a Diplomat of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. She is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and the California Dental Association.

A word from Dr. Stephanie: “Teaching swimming lessons as a teenager is where my passion for working with children first began. I’ve always enjoyed introducing children to new experiences and putting them at ease as they developed their confidence in a new environment. I have found pediatric dentistry to be the perfect career, enabling me to replicate this enjoyment multiple times each day by guiding pediatric patients towards becoming lifelong motivated and self-assured dental patients. As a mom myself, I appreciate the lasting value of a good experience.”


Lina Paek, DDS - Board Certified Pediatric Dental Specialist (expected)

Dr. Lina was born in Los Angeles and raised on the Eastside of Seattle, Washington. She was inspired to pursue a career in healthcare at an early age by her grandfather, a general surgeon. Dr. Lina attended the University of Notre Dame for her undergraduate degree where she double majored in Science Preprofessional Studies and Music, concentrating in Piano Performance.

She then moved to New York and received her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. Her research on early childhood caries won her the Birnberg Research Award in Public Health and Divisional Excellence in Epidemiology and Statistics. Dr. Lina served as Community Service Chair for the Columbia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, promoting oral health to local children through the Head Start and Harlem Ivy program.

Pursuing her passion for early prevention and love for children, Dr. Lina completed her pediatric specialty training at New York University College of Dentistry and Bellevue Hospital. She participated in local and international outreach trips, including Poughkeepsie, Nicaragua, and Cambodia.

Dr. Lina is excited to be a back on the West Coast and has found her happy medium in the Bay Area. In her spare time she enjoys playing tennis, piano, sketching, traveling, and spending time with her family, including her papillon, Yumi and newly adopted kitten, Mia!

Dr. Lina is a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, California Society 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.