Meet Our Team
Vilija Pakalniskis, DMD
Dr. Vilija believes in empowering her patients to achieve beautiful, healthy smiles by fostering relationships built on support and motivation. She takes the time to provide thorough, gentle care to her patients and she hopes they leave the office feeling like they have been visiting with an old friend. She is thrilled to be joining the Smile Alive team, where patients and staff are treated like family.
Growing up with a passion for the arts as well as the sciences, Dr. Vilija received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design where she studied printmaking and art history. After graduation she realized dentistry was a perfect combination of both art and science, and she went on to pursue her DMD degree at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston. Dr. Vilija finds joy in the skill, precision, and artistry that is required to provide excellent care for her patients.
Dr. Vilija is committed to perfecting her skills and attends numerous professional continuing education courses and seminars. She is working towards receiving an Associate Fellow membership through the American Academy of Implant dentistry, as well as a Fellowship through the American Academy of General Dentists. Dr. Vilija is a member of the AAID, AGD, ADA, and Lane County Dental Society.
A native of Chicago, Dr. Vilija is thrilled to be living in such a beautiful region. She recently moved here with her fiancé , Patrick, and their two dogs Cody and Wally. During her free time Dr. Vilija likes to spend time in nature with her family, attempt to garden, and work in her art studio.
Susan has two adult sons. One of her sons is an endodontist (a root canal specialist) in California and the other son is a commercial real estate agent in Eugene. Susan has been in dentistry for the past 38 years spending the last 15 years with the Smilealive team.
She enjoys her relationships with the team, knowing together they are improving patients’ health and self image. She likes being part of a business that is making a positive contribution not only to their patients but to the community. When she is not at work, you can find her at the golf course or on the ballroom dance floor. She is part of a performance dance group here in Eugene and attends many local dances where she twirls and glides effortlessly on the dance floor. Susan is an excellent cook and enjoys hosting her family and friends and treating them to her culinary skills. Susan is very proud to be associated with a team of professionals who listen to patients and strive to provide the best care for each person.
Kris and her husband, Brad, both grew up in Wenatchee, Washington but have lived in Eugene since 1992. They have 2 sons, 1 daughter and one daughter in law. Kris has been in dentistry for 40 years and has been a hygienist since 1981.
She and Dr. Baarstad have known each other for over 20 years as they worked together in another dental office before Dr. Baarstad went to dental school. Kris joined the Smile Alive team in 2006 and a favorite part of her job is not only helping her patients achieve and maintain good oral health with a gentle, compassionate touch but also getting to know her patients on a personal level. She looks forward to seeing them on a regular basis. Outside of the dental office she enjoys quilting, scrapbooking, cooking, reading and travel. Kris feels very blessed to work with an amazing group of professionals who sincerely care about each other and their patients.
Teri has been with Smilealive at our Eugene office for over 4 years. She started in the dental field over ten years ago and worked for many years at the front office doing just about everything before deciding to attend Lane Community College and get her Dental Hygiene degree.
She loves building relationships with her patients and connecting with them on a personal level. Teri grew up in the Eugene/Springfield area and she and her husband are the parents of a son and daughter. They also have two golden labs and a pet squirrel too! Teri is quite creative and enjoys scrapbooking and sign making. Teri’s patients enjoy her fun, caring manner and her thoroughness in caring for their dental health needs.
Treatment Coordinator- Eugene Office
Cari is a new Grandma and you won’t have to ask her more than once to show you a picture of her adorable grandson!
She is quite proud and she should be as he is a little cutie. In addition to her grandson, Cari and her husband have 3 wonderful children. She loves being able to interact with her patients and being able to play a critical role in creating the steps to move patients towards better dental health. She is a master at working with Insurance companies to help patients maximize their benefits. Cari has been in dentistry for over 13 years, starting as a dental assistant and has spent the last 3 years at Smilealive. Outside of work hours Cari loves to travel, read and walk.
Treatment Coordinator- Eugene Office
LeeAnne has been working in the dental field for over 10 years. LeeAnne is definitely a “people person” and her warm smile and outgoing personality make a wonderful first impression for patients who visit our Eugene office.
She enjoys getting to talk with patients and helping understand their dental treatment needs as well as assisting them in navigating their insurance benefits. LeeAnne has one son and a labradoodle named Riley. When not at work, she likes to spend time with family and friends and likes to travel, one day hoping to make a trip to Costa Rica.
Treatment Coordinator- Springfield Office
Teri and her husband, Byron, have 3 adult children, 2 grandsons and a newly arrived granddaughter.
Teri has been a part of the Smilealive team for 5 years and has 14 years experience in the dental field, all of it at our Springfield location. She worked for the dentist who previously practiced at our Springfield office and she is a huge asset to our office since she has been there for such a long time and has many long standing relationships with the patients. She really enjoys helping our patients and works hard dealing with their insurance making sure they get the most out of their benefits. Outside of the office, Teri loves spending time with her grandchildren, camping, kayaking and being at the Oregon Coast.
Treatment Coordinator- Springfield Offices
Certified Restorative Dental Assistant
Amanda is always on the path to increasing her knowledge and skills and recently obtained her Restorative Function Certificate.
She is one of only 80 assistants in the state of Oregon to hold this certificate. She loves making patients feel comfortable at the dental office and is a highly skilled Dental Assistant having been in dentistry for about 9 years with 7 of those years at Smilealive. She and her husband are parents to two very active children and spend their weekends at their sporting events and activities. Amanda is also amazingly creative and loves to sew, craft and quilt. She is proud to be part of the Smilealive team and always has a smile and a positive can do attitude.
Dental Assistant- Expanded Functions Dental Assistant
Brandie has been at Smilealive for 2 years but has 11 years of dental experience. One of her favorite things about her job is being able to see the transformations in her patients after they complete their dental work.
She strives to make each patient feel comfortable and cared for by listening to their needs and concerns. She feels very fortunate to work with a team of professionals that feel like family. Her family outside of work consists of three children ranging in age from elementary to young adult. Brandie’s hobbies include spending time with her children, camping, dancing and BBQ’s with the family. She grew up in the Eugene/Springfield area and loves raising her family and working here.
Expanded Functions- Orthodontic Dental Assistant
Melody first came to SmileAlive in 2017 as an intern when she was completing her Dental Assistant coursework at Lane Community College. After spending some time at an orthodontic office, Melody officially joined our SmileAlive team in the summer of 2019.
Melody is always striving to improve her skills and knowledge about dentistry and has a goal of one day returning to school to
become a dentist. Her strong work ethic as well as compassionate manner makes her a great asset to our team and the patients we serve. Melody has a fur baby, an American Bully dog, named Khalon. She enjoys spending time training her dog, practicing Krav Maga (martial arts) and playing classic video games such as Mario Brothers.
Expanded Functions- Dental Assistant
Lisa comes to SmileAlive with a long background in health care. She had worked as a nurse for several years prior to attaining her Dental Assistant degree in 2008.
Lisa’s goal is to make her patients feel at ease as they are having dental treatment completed. Her warm smile and caring manner help patients relax while she is caring for them. Lisa has two adult children and in her spare time she likes to read, cook and bake. She also enjoys going for walks with her puppy.