This month we are continuing to feature local Dads in our area who go above and beyond for our community. Dr. Nocerino, DDS is one of those Dads and we were honored to get to interview him for this Father’s Day edition of ‘Meet a Dad’. Dr. Nocerino is a local dentist and a father of two in Fairfield (he is also our family’s dentist) and we wanted to share more about him, his business and his beautiful family. Read more below!
Where are you originally from and how long have you been in the area?
I was born and raised in The Bronx, NY and moved to Connecticut in 2007. My wife and I moved to Fairfield 6 years ago. I started practicing in Fairfield in 2007, and opened my own office in 2011.
Children / Age(s)
Isla is 4 and Max is 2
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I was an extra on The Sopranos. I was lucky enough to have a part in one of Tony Soprano’s dreams.
One thing you wish someone would have told you about fatherhood?
Being a father has been the greatest joy of my life. As I look back now, things that I though were so important to me prior to having kids, simply don’t matter anymore. It sounds cliche, but it’s true, you are forever changed after that first kid is born. All your focus turns to making sure your child is given every opportunity to thrive and be happy.
Favorite local things to do in Fairfield?
Hiking around Lake Mohegan, Sandcastle Park at Jennings Beach, and visiting Saugatuck Sweets (don’t tell my patients!)
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Fairfield?
Fairfield has everything we were looking for in a town. It has great schools, awesome restaurants, beaches, hiking trails, family events and a great community of people. I’m always trying to recruit people to move to Fairfield!
Do you have a favorite family restaurant? Date Night?
Favorite family restaurant is Chips. For date night is Bonda.
What is your go-to activity for your family? For yourself?
During the colder months, The Bass Pro Shop, or as my kids call is “Santa Fish Store” (because they take pictures with Santa Claus there and they have fish tanks), has a great little arcade. We often go there and spend a few hours playing video games, collecting tickets and winning prizes. When it’s warmer out, my kids love nothing more than going to Lake Mohegan for an afternoon – and my wife and I love the snack bar. For myself I enjoy going for a run around Fairfield University. When I go for a run I try to shut off my brain and enjoy the outdoors.
Funniest part that you’ve learned about parenthood?
Kids really take a hit on your self esteem. My son calls a mole I have “Daddy’s Yuck” and my daughter makes it a point to tell me on a daily basis that I have no hair. Have kids, they said. They bring so much joy, they said.
Best dad hack that makes your life easier?
I am actually amazed at how well my kids play together. But there are times they try to kill each other. When that happens, I throw them in the car and go for a ride. Usually to Dunkin Donuts drive-thru, get a treat and just drive down by the beach until everyone chills out and forgets why they were upset in the first place.
Who has had the most influence on you to be the dad that you are today?
This one is easy. My Dad. He worked long hours doing HVAC to provide for his family. He sent all four kids to Catholic School and taught us the value of a good education. My Dad always put his family first and I am blessed to have grown up with that example in my life.
Tell us about your background, when & why you became a Dentist, and the reason behind it.
I was in college studying premed and went to my dentist for a routine visit. He asked if I ever considered being a dentist and offered me an assisting job on the weekends. I worked along side him for 4 years and fell in love with the profession.
What is your favorite thing about working in this industry and working with local families?
One of the first features people notice about you is your smile. The most rewarding aspect of my job is taking a patient that has been insecure about their smile for years, transforming their smile and giving them the confidence they have been looking for. I love living in the same community that I work in. I run into patients all the time at the grocery store or the beach, and sometimes just catch up on life and other times we talk about their teeth.
We know that you recently expanded and renovated your business in your current location (it looks beautiful) and your sister joined your practice in 2018. How have these changes effected your business? What’s it like working with your sister? 🙂
We recently expanded our office from 4 treatment rooms to 8, giving us the opportunity to treat more patients. We also added TVs on the ceilings and iPads for the kids to play video games in order to make the experience of going to the dentist less miserable. I am so happy to have my younger sister, Dr. Gabby as we call her in the office, join the practice. She has been a breath of fresh air helping us bring the most advanced technology to our patients. Sometimes I get a little too comfortable and treat her like my baby sister, which often results in a call from my Mom saying “Be nice to your sister”!
During the pandemic, a lot of businesses, like yours, had to close their doors for a period of time. How did this effect your business? Since re-opening, what is it like working with all of the new protocols in place?
Ten weeks during quarantine, our office was open only for emergencies. I went in 1 or 2 days a week just to take people out of pain. On May 20th, we brought all our staff back to work and put many new protocols in place. We have been busy catching up on outstanding treatment but also spacing out our patients so there are as few people as possible in the office at once. Working with N95 masks and face shields has presented a new challenge. It gets very hot and our face shields fog up all the time. Lots of water breaks between patients.
When patients are looking for a new dentist, what should they be looking for?
Patients should definitely be looking for a dentist with experience but even more important is a dentist that will take the time to listen. It is so important to listen to a patient, understand their fears and concerns and address them prior to starting treatment.
What’s the best advice you can give for someone balancing a work and family life?
It can be very difficult balancing work and family life. My kids are little and go to bed early which means I have a limited time to hang with them after I get home from a long day at work. My motto has been when we can’t spend a lot of time together, we have quality time together. What I mean is when we are together we make the time count.