Meet Our Doctors
Dr. Merrihew received his Bachelor of Arts Degree Cum Laude in Philosophy from the University of Southern California in 1974 and his Doctor of Dental Surgery, also from USC, in 1979, where he was awarded the Certificate of Merit of Excellence in Endodontics from the American Associations of Endodontists.
Committed to delivering state-of-the-art dentistry to his patients in a friendly, caring office, Dr. Merrihew has completed well over 2000 hours in advanced postgraduate dental education, and is a sponsored speaker for Oral CDX, lecturing on oral cancer screening and prevention.
Dr. Merrihew is a graduate of the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies in Cosmetic Dentistry and has been awarded fellowships and Masterships in the International Congress of Oral Implantology, the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation, and the Academy of General Dentistry, a distinction held by less than 1% of all currently practicing dentists worldwide. He was appointed Qualified Medical Evaluator in Dental Surgery by the Department of Industrial Relations, State of California in 1993, is an Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider, Invisalign Premier Provider, and was voted one of “Riverside’s Best Dentists” by readers of the Press Enterprise in 2013 & 2014.
Dr. Alexandria Brent received her Doctoral Degree in Dental Surgery from the University of Washington where her involvement as student council president was recognized by receiving the Jack E. Nichols and WSDA Dan G. Middaugh leadership awards, and where she was selected as a teacher’s assistant in restorative dentistry as a result of her clinical proficiency and gentle patient interactions.
Dr. Brent enjoys working with patients of all ages and finds it rewarding when patients leave with a smile. She strives to provide care of the utmost excellence in all areas of dentistry and as an Oral Conscious Sedation provider and DOCS member, Dr. Brent is dedicated to ensuring that her patients have a comfortable experience. Dr. Brent is also an Invisalign provider and is happy to consult with patients about the esthetic and hygienic benefits.
Outside of Canyon Crest, Dr. Brent is a member of the American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, California Dental Association and the Tri-County Dental Society and is actively involved in study clubs here in Riverside. In her free time Dr. Brent is an avid runner and loves watching football.
Dr. Leoni received his DMD from the highly accredited Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in 2004 where he graduated first in his clinical class. Upon returning to his hometown in San Diego, Dr. Leoni was quickly recruited to work for a large national dental organization where he received experience second to none. Dr. Leoni’s unparalleled experience translates into diagnosing the most successful treatment and therefore outcome for the patient. Dr. Leoni was in fact the dentist for other dentists in his organization.
Dr. Leoni enjoys spending time with his family; wife Raelynn, and their children Stormie, Kaeli, Brendi and Kyle. Dr. Leoni enjoys camping, barbecuing, surfing and fishing. We are thrilled Dr. Leoni has joined our practice. His expertise is a true asset for our patients and demonstrates our commitment to providing exceptional dental care.
Dr. Leoni is a graduate from the prestigious Misch Implant Institute and is certified in Invisalign. He is a member of the ADA, CDA and SDCDS. In addition, Dr. Leoni has provided dentistry for several charities and has supported the efforts of Charity Water, a non-profit organization on a mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person on the planet.
Dr. Pitts attended Dental School at Boston University, graduating in 2009. Following dental school, he attended a one-year General Practice Residency at Jamaica Hospital in New York City. The residency was very heavily surgery based, which inspired Dr. Pitts to pursue additional training in more advanced surgical techniques.
The following year, Dr. Pitts attended a one-year oral surgery internship at the VA hospital in Long Beach, CA, where in addition to basic surgical procedures, he was trained in implant placement and restoration, bone grafting techniques and IV sedation. He is married to his college sweetheart and has 2 young boys that are the joy and focus of his life.
Dr. Jo – Endodontist
Dr. Philip Jo received his D.D.S. degree from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD) in 2001. During the first year of dental school, he was selected for a 3-year U.S. Army Health Profession Scholarship Program (HPSP). Dr. Jo received multiple awards and honors in dental school including the coveted M. Webster Prince Award and admission into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society.
After graduation, he completed a 1-year U.S. Army Advanced General Dentistry (AGD) Residency with the U.S. Army Dental Activity, Hawaii and voluntarily deployed to Joint Task Force-Bravo, Soto Cano Airbase, Honduras for six months. Dr. Jo spent the remaining two years of active duty as a staff dentist and supervisor at Schofield Barracks Dental Clinic, Hawaii.
In 2004, he returned to LLUSD to complete a 27-month Advanced Dental Education Program in Endodontics and received a Certificate in Endodontics in 2006. His treatment philosophies are based on published scientific research and practice modalities in endodontics which enhances the patient’s quality of care.
Currently, Dr. Jo is serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve for the 185th Dental Company (Area Support) located in Garden Grove, CA. “It is truly an honor and privilege to service the dental needs of the brave men and women of our Armed Forces.” In his spare time, Dr. Jo likes to travel and spend time with his wife and two daughters. He is a gun enthusiast and enjoys shooting trap/skeet and competes monthly in a handgun steel target challenge.
Dr. Ramin Shabtaie graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry. Subsequently, he completed and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery residency training at UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Shabtaie is on staff at the UCLA Medical Center, and has formerly been on staff at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. He is a lecturer for the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at UCLA. He was a clinical instructor at Cedars Sinai Medical Center Department of Dentistry/Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Dr. Shabtaie is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support. He is able to treat patients in the hospital, outpatient facilities, surgery centers and in his private office. Dr. Shabtaie is also a state examiner for general anesthesia, providing and monitoring standard of care in office anesthesia and sedation.
Dr. Shabtaie uses only the best in dental implants from the most reputable dental implant manufacturers. This, coupled with his extensive years of highly specialized training and years of clinical experience has earned him the reputation of ” Top Doc Oral Surgeon” Having performed over 10,000 surgical procedures to date- some on well known celebrities, including complex dental implant surgeries as well as reconstructive procedures, Dr Shabtaie is one of the top Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. With patients coming to see him both locally and from long distances, and other dentists and specialists seeking advice from him, Dr. Shabtaie is known among his peers to be a knowledgeable and experienced surgeon. Among his patients, he is well known for being caring and gentle. He prides himself in being a perfectionist, and very detail oriented.
- July 1999 – June 2000: Chief Resident, UCLA Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- July 1996 – June 2000: Resident, UCLA Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- September 1992 – June 1996: UCLA School of Dentistry, D.D.S. Degree
- August 1987 – May 1992: California State University, Northridge, Bachelor of Science, Cell and Molecular Biology
- UCLA Medical Center
- UCLA Teaching Programs – Recipient of Certificate of Appreciation
- UCLA School of Dentistry – Recipient of multiple Exceptional Performance Reports in academic & clinical courses
- California State University, Northridge – Graduate with honors Golden Key National Honor Society Member
- Shabtaie, R; Schwartz, H – Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma manifesting as a submandibular swelling, a case report.
- Shabtaie, R; Schwartz, H – Extra-articular ankylosis of TMJ as a complication of orthognathic surgery, a case report. (Published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery)
- Yagiela, J; Chao, W; Freymiller, E; Shabtaie, R – Efficacy of acupuncture in control of post-oral surgery pain. (Presented at 1995 UCLA School of Dentistry Table Clinic).
Supplemental Clinical Experience
- Clinical Instructor, UCLA Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department
- Clinical Instructor, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Department of Oral Surgery/Dentistry
- Participant, Thousand Smiles Foundation, providing corrective and reconstructive surgeries for various congenital oral and maxillofacial defects
- Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Externship, Harbor/UCLA Medical Center
- Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Externship, Sinai Hospital, Detroit, MI
Meet our teams of experienced professionals. They each share the belief that our care should be comprehensive and courteous – responding fully to your individual needs and preferences.
Hygiene Team Leader