When you say Empire State Building, you think of New York.

Locally, when you say Vermillion Dental Office, you know it's in Summit Hill. The office has been a community fixture in the town since 1945.

Besides having a large local customer base, the dental office personnel have been active in many local organizations. The firm has sponsored youth athletic teams, and the Vermillions have given generously to many local causes.

Located at 39 W. Ludlow St., younger family members have followed in the footsteps of the late Albert Vermillion, who was a dentist during World War II and who founded the Summit Hill office.

Two new major additions recently occurred.

First, Jennifer Vermillion, wife of dentist Richard Vermillion, graduated from the Temple University Dental School earlier this year and joined the Summit Hill office in July.

This week, the dental office added nitrous oxide as an option for procedures such as extractions and fillings.

Vermillion Dental Office currently has three dentists. Besides Dr. Jennifer, there are her husband, and her father-in-law, Dr. Louis Vermillion, who has been serving local residents since 1973.

Dr. Albert Vermillion was the grandfather of Richard. His first dental office was on Ludlow Street, about a block from where the office is currently located.

"I don't even remember him being a dentist," said Richard, who was only six when Albert retired.

The dental office was moved to the present location in 1980.

Albert had four sons, two of whom became dentists. Besides Louis, Dr. Kenneth Vermillion joined the Vermillion Dental Office in 1975 and retired this past June.

The newest dentist is the former Jennifer Gazo of Lansford. The daughter of the late Bernard and Madelyn Gazo, she graduated from Marian Catholic High School in 1991 and the University of Pittsburgh in 1996 with a bachelor in pharmacy. She worked as a pharmacist for 10 years, returning to school to become a dentist in 2007.

Richard, the son of Dr. Louis and Maxine Vermillion of Summit Hill, graduated from Panther Valley High School in 1992 and the University of Pittsburgh in 1996 with a bachelor of science degree. He graduated from the University of Maryland Dental School in 2000.

He described the Vermillion Dental Office as "a family practice with the focus on comprehensive dental care," adding that the services offered are typical of those provided in general dentistry, including crowns, bridges, implants, root canals, cosmetic dentistry, and preventive care.

"I really enjoy doing complex, complicated, restorative practice," he said.

Jennifer, meanwhile, noted that she likes working with children.

"I recommend children have their first dental visit by age 1, as an education for the parents," she advised.

Richard said he has patients as old as 100.

Vermillion Dental Office has seven treatment rooms. The emphasis for staff members is "team work."

Richard praised the staff, emphasizing that there are four wonderful hygienists, including Mary Helen Shelton, Tammy Faenza, Patti Hudicka, and Cathy Citro.

Three clinical assistants are Trish Jones, Janiel Damian, and Mary Walker.

Other office members include Alesha Vermillion, Marie Boyle, Jackie Smith, and Shari Hoffman.

Modernization has been a major component for the dentist practice since the firm's founding 65 years ago.

Just recently, Vermillion's has upgraded it's X-ray system, going to digital X-rays.

It is also in the process of implementing an electronic dental record system.

The addition of nitrous oxide – often called laughing gas – makes it more pleasant to work on patients who otherwise fear dentists.

"We do a lot of continuing education," said Richard.

He said the dentists on staff are members of the Pennsylvania Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry.

The mission statement of the Academy of General Dentistry is, "to serve the needs and represent the interest of general dentists, to promote the oral health of the public, and to foster continued proficiency of general dentists through quality continuing dental education in order to better serve the public."

Richard has two sons, Ethan, 14, a freshman at Panther Valley High School, and Maxwell, 10, who is in the fifth grade.

Jennifer is active in church affairs. An organist at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, she also serves on the Home School Association of Our Lady of the Angels Academy, and is a member of St. Katharine Drexel Church, Lansford, where she is a lifelong member and a former organist.

"Our practice has always been a family-run office and it is continuing to be a family-run office. Because it's a small community, we don't want it to be a big operation," she said.

"We like it that we get to know the people," Richard added. "The most underlying thing, there has to be a trusting relationship between the patient and the dentist."

Jennifer agreed.

"The only way that develops is by spending time with the people," she said.

"It has to be a trusting relationship, but you have to be competent in what you're doing," Richard concluded.