Matthew R. Sroka was born and raised in Johnstown and is a 2002 graduate of Westmont Hilltop High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology from St. Vincent College then went on to Temple University where he earned his D.M.D. He is a member of the American Dental Association as well as the Pennsylvania Dental Association. He is married to the former Karyssa Homyak and the couple has a 2-year-old son, Harrison.
Tell us a little about your dental practice.
I'm the third owner of Hilltop Dental Associates. I bought the practice from Gary Minchau in 2014 and he bought the practice from Dr. Crain in 1977. We've been here on Lyter Drive all this time.
Did you grow up in this area and, if so, what are your fondest memories of the area?
I did grow up here. Johnstown never bothered me. I knew I was going to end up here when all my schooling was over. I'm a small town guy.
I lived in Philadelphia for four years and it's just too much – too big, too much going on all the time.
I've always liked the smallness here. Everyone knows everyone. Nothing takes too long to get to. After driving into downtown Philly for years, I've come to realize there's no such thing as "rush hour" here.
What made you decide you wanted to be a dentist?
My orthodontist. We went to the same church, so we knew each other and, from the time I was in grade school, he always suggested I go into dentistry. I knew I always wanted to be in medicine, but with his suggestions, I started considering dentistry.
By the time I was in college, teeth were the only thing I cared about.
How did you get into Hilltop Dental Associates?
When I finished dental school, I sent feeler letters out to offices in Johnstown.
I looked at a handful of places, but Hilltop Dental was the only place built for multiple full-time dentists and it seemed like the right fit.
How many people are employed at the office?
In total, there are seven. Some are only part time. Dr. Gary Minchau is still seeing patients here on a part-time basis.
What do you like best about being a dentist?
It might sound odd, but what gives me the most professional satisfaction is when people leave saying "That wasn't as bad as I thought" or "I didn't need to be so worried." I have a passion for teeth and I'm blessed to be able to use my talents to help elevate the profession and help change the public perception of dentistry and oral health as a whole. I actually feel it's my calling to help elevate dentistry out of the hole we're in from decades and decades of barbaric practices.
What should people know about taking care of their teeth?
It's so easy to prevent problems! There has been a continual decrease in the average number of missing teeth per person in this country. Dental care has never been more accessible and the care is always getting better. Sonic toothbrushes, fluoride and Listerine. They do more than people realize. Oh, and fluoride isn't evil. It's probably the single greatest thing to happen to dentistry.
What are your plans for the future? Any changes coming up to the practice?
No changes at all .... because I just did them. We repainted the office, put in new ceiling lights, ripped up the carpet and put down hardwood, added four new dental chairs and digital x-rays.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
If I’m not in the office, then I’m at home with my family. I truly enjoy spending time with my wife and my son and I marvel at the wonder of being a parent.