39 E Colorado Ave, Frankfort, IL 60423
6305 W 95th St, 2nd Floor, Oak Lawn, IL 60453

Meet The Team

Meet the awesome team at Bite Size Pediatric Dentistry!

DDS, Founder

Dr. Denise

Dr. Denise Maniakouras (“Dr. Denise”), founder of Bite Size Pediatric Dentistry, is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist and a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.

Dr. Denise completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology with a minor in Psychology.  She obtained her D.D.S. degree from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Dr. Denise was selected as Chief Resident of her pediatric dentistry residency at the University of Illinois, Chicago earning a certificate a Masters degree in Public Health.

In 2011-2012, Dr. Denise served the Chicago area as an Albert Schweitzer fellow. She developed and implemented an outreach program to educate and provide dental care for children in underserved areas. Dr. Denise has also traveled to Zacapa, Guatemala with Hearts In Motion (H.I.M) to provide oral health care to children and families in remote areas.

Dr. Denise is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the Illinois State Dental Society, the Chicago Dental Society, the Illinois Society of Pediatric Dentistry, and is currently a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.

Her true passion is working with children and building relationships with the families she cares for. Dr. Denise strives to provide quality dental care to children in a safe and relaxing environment. Dr. Denise understands that every child is unique and so are their dental needs. She takes pride in helping children build a healthy dental future. In her free time, Dr. Denise spends time with her husband, George, and her kids, Alex, Dean & Mia. She enjoys being a mom and spending time with her family. She sincerely looks forward to meeting you soon!

Dr. Denise
DDS, Founder
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist

Dr. Marissa

Dr. Marissa Dziepak (“Dr. Marissa”) is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist and is very excited to have returned home to her native Chicagoland area and to have joined Bite Size Pediatric Dentistry to serve and advocate for our little patients!

She studied Neuroscience with a minor in Chemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She obtained her D.M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine where she graduated with honors in serving patients with medical complexities and as a leader in community oral health programs, such as Penn Smiles. She completed her pediatric dentistry residency at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, CO where she was selected to serve as Chief Resident. Dr. Marissa is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and the Chicago Dental Society.

From an early age, Dr. Marissa recognized her passion for working with children. She is committed to providing comfortable and positive dental experiences that support and address each of her patient’s individual needs, striving to create life-long healthy dental patients.

Dr. Marissa is very happy to be back home in Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, cooking, and traveling with her husband, Andrew.

Dr. Marissa
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist

Dr. Janice

Dr Janice Lubas graduated from Loyola School of Dentistry. Followed by a two years pediatric specialty training at Children’s Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is distinguish member of American academy of pediatric dentistry, ADA, ISPD, CDS and Healthy Smiles Healthy Children.

Dr. Lubas is on staff at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital and is called in by many physicians to treat their patients before surgeries. She also spends time in the cranial facial clinic at the hospital advising and treating patients with complicated medical histories and special health care needs.

With her love and dedication, Dr. Lubas continues to be an active member in her dental community. She treats children from Catholic Charities and handicapped women at Mt. St. Joseph. She has organized and participated in dental mission trips to Bosnia and Nicaragua.

Dr. Lubas wants every child’s experience to be a happy one. She also advises parents on diet and brushing so they can keep their children smile’s beautiful. Happy patients and educated parents is her mission.

Dr. Janice
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist

Dr. Ashley

Dr. Ashley Culver (“Dr. Ashley”) is a board eligible pediatric dentist who grew up in the military and calls many places home. She moved every few years growing up, saw the world, and loved how it gave her a new perspective on life.

She received her DMD degree from Midwestern University in the Chicagoland area. While there, she served as the student body president and received the Outstanding Leadership and Service Award.

After graduation, she moved to Florida to receive her pediatric dental training at Nova Southeastern University where she served as Chief Resident. During her training, she was selected for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopment Disabilities (LEND) program where she received additional training on treating patients with special healthcare needs.

Dr. Ashley loves that her job puts her in a position to help others. She is passionate about helping the underserved and has volunteered locally at LOVE Elgin Dental Free Clinic and Mission of Mercy. She also participated and help organize two mission trips abroad in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

Working with children truly brightens Dr. Ashley’s day. She loves bonding with her patients, cracking jokes, and talking about superheroes or princesses. Seeing patients happy and parents at ease is her favorite part of the job and she looks forward to helping your loved one develop a positive dental experience that will last a lifetime.

When she is not helping the kids smile their best, you can catch Dr. Ashley traveling the world and immersing herself in new cultures. She loves sports (Go Dallas Cowboys!) and golfing with her fiancé Andrew. She enjoys exploring outdoors and staying active hiking or roller blading.
A fun fact about Dr. Ashley: During dental school, she spent her time on Saturdays at Bite Size with Dr. Denise. She loved her time at Bite Size so much, that it inspired her to specialize in pediatrics. She is excited to return to Bite Size and the Chicagoland area to build lasting relationships with children and their families.

Dr. Ashley
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist

Dr. Calli

Dr. Calli Willett (“Dr. Calli”) is a Board Eligible Pediatric Dentist and is very excited to have joined the Bite Size Pediatric Dentistry team!!

Dr. Calli grew up in Hinsdale, IL. She graduated from Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health in Mesa, AZ where she graduated with honors. She also obtained a certificate in public health during dental school and spent most of her fourth year traveling the country doing dentistry in different community health centers. Dr. Calli then completed her specialty training at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in downtown Chicago. She served the role of Chief Resident in her residency. Since she was a little girl, pediatric dentistry has always been her dream!

She strives to make the dental office a happy place for all her patients and works with not only the patients, but the parents, to build healthy habits from a young age. Dr. Calli got engaged this past year and will be getting married in the Florida Keys in December!

Her and her fiancé also just bought a home in Lincoln Park. In her free time, Dr. Calli enjoys cooking,traveling and spending time with her dog, Bella.

Dr. Calli
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist

Dr. Lydia

Dr. Lydia DeJonge (last name pronounced Dee-Young) is a dentist specializing in pediatric dentistry. Originally from Michigan, she has lived in Seattle, Minneapolis, and now, Chicago.

She received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Calvin College and she went on to earn her D.D.S. at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. She is currently a resident at UIC COD, specializing in treating children and completing a Master’s Degree in Public Health.

Dr. Lydia loves working with children and strives to provide the highest quality dental care for children with all backgrounds. Outside of the dental office, Dr. Lydia loves biking, exploring Chicagoland, and spending time with her fiance.

Dr. Lydia
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist

Dr. Valerie

Dr. Valerie Paulo (“Dr. Valerie”) is a board-eligible pediatric dentist born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago.

Dr. Valerie received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (I-L-L!). She obtained her D.M.D at A.T. Still University, Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health, and then returned to the Chicagoland area to practice as a general dentist. While practicing in her hometown, she discovered her passion for working with kids and decided to further her education, completing her pediatric dentistry residency at Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY.

Dr. Valerie strives to make each dental visit a positive and fun experience for each child and their parents!

In her free time, Dr. Valerie loves to explore new areas of Chicago, try new restaurants, cook & travel. She has two fur-babies, Renny & Styles.

Dr. Valerie is so excited to return to Chicago and cannot wait to meet you all at Bite Size!

Dr. Valerie
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist

Dr. Kelsey

Dr. Kelsey Brar is a Chicago land native. She completed her undergraduate training at Benedictine University, where she graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science in Biology before continuing her education at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry where she obtained her Doctor of Dental Medicine.

She furthered her education with a three-year residency at UIC while simultaneously earning a Master of Science in Oral Biology and a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Administration. While at UIC, she focused her research on reducing oral health disparities amongst underserved  pediatric patients.

Dr. Kelsey continues to be involved in academia and is currently a clinical assistant professor at UIC where she helps train the current pediatric dental residents.

Dr. Kelsey has also continued to work towards promoting access to dental care for all children by serving on the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Foundation’s board of trustees as a trustee, member of the grants and program committee, and the marketing committee.

Dr. Kelsey believes that going to the dentist should be an enjoyable and positive experience for all children. She truly enjoys working with anxious children and helping them become comfortable in a child friendly dental environment, while teaching her patients the fundamentals for achieving a lifetime of excellent oral health.

Outside of her professional activities, Dr. Kelsey enjoys life in Downers Grove with her husband and children. Together they explore local parks and trails, and love to go on bike rides. Dr. Kelsey’s hobbies include arts and crafts, interior design, and cooking. She is so excited to have the opportunity to be a part of Bite Size Pediatric Dentistry.

Dr. Kelsey
D.M.D., Pediatric Dentist
Orthodontist

Dr. Gary

Dr. Gruendeman graduated from Loyola University School of Dentistry followed by five years of teaching. After obtaining his orthodontic certificate he stayed on as a full time associate professor of orthodontics. He is a well respected member of the American Association of Orthodontists and Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital Craniofacial team.

Dr. Gruendeman has a reputation of treating each patient with a individual plan for their perfect smile. He keeps up with the latest technology to insure the best results. His good nature and love of sports makes him a favorite among his patients.

Dr. Gary
Orthodontist

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Happy Patients & Parents

My daughter was having anxiety about visiting the dentist for her first time. Thanks to the super friendly and kind staff she felt comfortable right away. They personalized her experience and we left without a tear. She wants to be a dentist now!
- Lauren Benoit
Bringing your two year old little girl to a dentist knowing you're most likely going to hear she needs it pulled due to a bad fall, not something to look forward to. Very emotional time for parents. However, our experience at this practice with the doctor and staff was better than I could have imagined. Everyone was so welcoming, comforting, and all smiles. The doctor herself was kind, very friendly. From the second you walk in it's a very inviting atmosphere for a child. My daughter wasn't in a hurry to leave! Toys and chapstick, what more could a kid ask for
- Katie Bosi
This place was AMAZING! I took my almost 6 year old in for the first time and everyone from the front desk staff, to our hygienist Angela, to Dr. Denise - they were absolutely wonderful! So kind and patient with my very nervous son, they made his (and mine) visit a breeze. I cannot say enough nice things about everyone there. Gavin can't wait to come back in 6 months! Thanks again for a positive experience.
- Emily Loman
My daughter Emma had such a great first dental experience! The staff is very friendly, the office is very clean and decorated extremely well! She loved playing on the iPad while waiting to go back. She also loved watching a movie while they brushed her teeth. The dental hygienist explained everything before she did anything and kept my 3 year old at ease. Dr. Denise is great with kids and so kind. We would recommend this office to anyone looking for a pediatric dentist. I wish I could go here!
- Lindsey Goldschmidt-Pignatiello

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