Our Practice Philosophy
The primary focus of everything we do at Merrill Smiles will always be providing specialized patient care. Our staff will never put any pressure on you to have a service or operation, and we always endeavor to ensure that patients are fully informed of all of their treatment options. We’ll do everything we can to protect your natural teeth wherever possible. We will treat you like a part of our family from the moment you walk into our office, and we would never provide care or advise that we wouldn’t provide to our own families. In every situation, we make an effort to inform patients about everything we do, from procedures to billing, because we believe that dental decisions should be honest and unambiguous. Our expert team and sensitive techniques help to guarantee that dentistry is pain-free, in line with our belief that it should be. We think that happy, healthy lives start with healthy smiles.
Meet Our Team
Jamie – Registered Dental Hygienist
A native of Merrill, Jamie earned her degree in Dental Hygiene from Northcentral Technical College and has worked as a hygienist for over 15 years. She joined our team in January of 2022. Jamie always knew she wanted to work in the healthcare field, and her love of teeth made dental hygiene a natural choice. When it comes to her approach to dental care, Jamie’s goal is to make the patient feel as comfortable as possible while helping them improve their smile and their overall health in the process. In addition to her skills and years of experience, she brings to our office a love for working with people and supporting her coworkers. Outside of work, Jamie loves spending time with her husband, Rick, and their young daughter and son. Some of her favorite activities include watching her children play sports (wrestling, baseball, softball, and dance), spending time at their cabin, and going hunting with their many hound dogs. Jamie’s family also keeps busy running their own bear bait business.
Samantha – Registered Dental Hygienist
Born and raised in Merrill, Samantha graduated from Merrill High School and went on to earn her associate degree in Dental Hygiene from Northcentral Technical College. She was first drawn to the dental field because of her desire to help people stay healthy and feel good about themselves. When it comes to her approach to providing dental care, she wants patients to know what is recommended but that she isn’t there to “nag” them — she always wants her patients to be healthy and happy with their care. Along with her years of experience and technical skill, Samantha brings to our Merrill Smiles office a very welcoming, helpful, and caring disposition. What she enjoys most about working at our office is getting to see her patients and develop relationships with them as she helps with their dental health. When she isn’t working with our patients, Samantha loves to spend time with her husband and two sons. Some of her favorite activities are gardening, doing home projects, traveling, camping, and creating crafts and art. She and her family are also very involved with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
Megan – Registered Dental Hygienist
Born and raised here in Merrill, Megan graduated from Merrill High School and continued her studies at Concordia University Wisconsin, where she majored in music education. She then went on to earn her degree in Dental Hygiene from Northcentral Technical College. Megan’s decision to enter the dental field was because she wanted a career that is gratifying and allowed her to help people feel better about themselves as a whole when they come to have their teeth cleaned. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and educating as a hygienist — not “preaching” or “scolding.” She likes to “meet patients where they are”: one example is when she had a patient come in after over 10 years without a cleaning, and instead of belittling him, she congratulated him on making that first step on the path to oral health. Some of the things she enjoys most about our office is that it’s busy but never rushed, allowing her to spend as much time as needed with each individual patient. Outside of work, Megan loves to be with her husband and their four children, who keep them busy with their active schedules. As a family, they enjoy exploring the Northwoods, either off-roading, camping, or boating. They love bluegrass festivals, playing Sheepshead, and cheering on the Packers. Fun fact about Megan: she’s left-handed.
Joan – Dental Assistant
Joan is from Antigo, Wisconsin. After graduating from high school, she studied Expanded Duties of Dental Auxiliary Personnel at Gainesville University in Florida. After a number of years working as a dental professional, she joined our office in the spring of 2022. The thing that motivated Joan to join the dental field was her desire to work one-on-one with people and help improve their lives. Joan brings to our office not only a great deal of experience, but also a welcoming and positive attitude and willingness to help out her teammates. What she enjoys most about working at our Merrill Smiles office is working with patients and alongside other wonderful dental professionals. Joan is married and enjoys spending time with her family, including her four grandchildren. One of her favorite activities is working in her flower garden.
Paula – Administrative Assistant & Patient Relations
Having worked for many years as a dental hygienist, Paula has recently taken on the role of patient relations representative for our office. Born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, she attended Xavier High School and then went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from Marquette University. For Paula, the journey into the the dental field was a pretty straightforward one: Her mother told her she was going to Marquette for Dental Hygiene, she got her acceptance letter, and the rest is history! Paula’s approach to dental care is to help, inform, listen, and make patients’ dental visits as comfortable and positive as possible. She has contributed to the success of our office in so many ways, but most notably through her many years of experience as a hygienist and her flexibility to help out at the front desk and as a floater. She’s excited for her new responsibilities and for the growth of our office. Outside of work, Paula loves to spend time with her family: her husband, as well as her three grown sons, her daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren who live out of the area. In her free time, she enjoys walking, biking, and enjoying the outdoors, especially up north.
Lynn – Administrative Assistant & Patient Relations
Lynn is one of the talented and welcoming members of administrative team. She is a Merrill native who has worked in various profession settings throughout her career and joined our Merrill Smiles team in the spring of 2022. She was drawn to the dental field at an early age, as her grandmother worked for a Merrill dentist. In addition to her years of experience with administrative and patient relations, Lynn brings to our office great organizational skills and willingness to help out our team wherever needed. What she likes best about working in our office is our great administrative and clinical teams. When she isn’t helping our patients, Lynn loves spending time with her family, especially her husband, her grown children, and her four grandsons. She has many interests, but some of her favorites are traveling, cooking, and baking.
Billie Jo – Administrative Assistant & Patient Relations
Billie Jo began working with most members of our current dental team in early 2002. She was born and raised in rural north-central Wisconsin and graduated from Merrill High School before entering the dental field. Typically our patients’ first contact in the office, Billie Jo strives to make them feel comfortable and to create a trustworthy relationship from the moment they schedule their first appointment. One of the things she enjoys most about working at Merrill Smiles is being part of a dental team that knows how to have fun while providing the highest quality dental care. When she isn’t at work, Billie Jo loves spending time with family and taking part in outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and bowhunting.
Ginny – Office Manager
Ginny, our office manager and the wife of Dr. Sowieja, is originally from Oregon, Wisconsin. After graduating high school, she went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison. She was first drawn into the dental profession through her relationship with Dr. Sowieja: She married him when he was in his second year of dental school. He was planning to open his own practice after graduation. While in Milwaukee, she took a dental terminology/records management course so that she could help set up and assist in starting up that practice in Merrill. They have been doing this together happily and successfully — with the assistance of their wonderful employees — for the past 45 years. Ginny believes in preventive dental care: brushing, flossing, dental checkups, and keeping teeth healthy and beautiful for a lifetime. To that end, she always has a toothbrush with her! In addition to her years of experience, she brings to our team wonderful managerial and organizational skills, helping to bring our office up-to-date with the latest software and technologies. Outside of work, she loves to spend time with friends and family, especially her husband of over 45 years and their two adult children: Alex, a college counselor in Minnesota, and Emma, a dentist in the Madison area. Some of Ginny’s favorite hobbies include hiking, waterskiing, downhill skiing, exercising, reading, and cheering on the Packers and Badgers.