The day-to-day interactions with my patients – my extended family – makes me truly love what I do. I’ve always seen myself as a people person, and being an orthodontist has afforded me the unique opportunity to meet all kinds of people, share all kinds of stories, and learn all kinds of new things. I love absolutely everything about being an orthodontist but my absolute favorite part comes at the end: when a patient rewards me with the very thing I helped create – a beautiful smile!
When a new patient hears they will be in braces for two to three years, they are often only thinking about the destination: straight teeth. For me, though, orthodontics is about the journey: the relationships we build with patients and the time spent together each month as we work toward a common goal. The result is creating beautiful smiles and lifelong friendships and trust within our community!
Education and Continuing Education
My passion for the health profession was sparked by my grandmother, Dr. Martha Jean Harris, who served Zapata County for many years as a family doctor. I knew from a young age that I wanted to help people through healthcare, but it wasn’t until my time in the Alexander Magnet for Health Science – particularly in Mrs. Belinda Salas’s dental class – that I discovered my love for the dental profession.
I obtained my Bachelor’s in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin as a member of the prestigious Dean’s Scholars Honors Program. During this time, I completed an honor’s thesis in organic chemistry research. The majority of my leisure time was spent playing trumpet in the Longhorn Marching Band, along with the UT Jazz Band and Mariachi Group.
After finishing my undergraduate studies, I enrolled at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. There I was awarded my Doctorate of Dental Surgery, as well as my Certificate in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. Additionally, I completed a Master of Science degree in Orthodontics for my research in craniofacial growth and development.
One of the biggest values in my patient-care philosophy is evidence-based dentistry. When there are multiple solutions to a particular dental problem, the best treatment plan is the one backed by the best research. New equipment, materials, and ideas emerge very frequently, and the decision must be made whether to incorporate these things into our practice. That’s why CE is so important: So we know how to provide the best treatment backed by the strongest research for your specific orthodontic needs.
- American Association of Orthodontists
- Southwestern Society of Orthodontists
- Texas Association of Orthodontists
- Texas Orthodontic Study Club
- American Dental Association
- Texas Dental Association
Beyond the Practice
I grew up along the Rio Grande River, in Zapata, Roma, and finally Laredo. My wife and partner in all things, Dr. Alessandra Chacon, and I met during our orthodontic residencies and quickly knew we were meant to be together! We got married before our final year of residency, which we knew would be one of the most challenging years of all of our schooling due to licensing exams, research, and finishing our patients’ orthodontic treatment before graduation. However, we had each other for support, and it wasn’t long before we realized we’d add another little member of our family right after graduation!
Our beloved daughter, Sophia Victoria, or Sophie as we call her, was born on August 27, 2016, just as construction on The Smile Shoppe began. She has been the biggest blessing of our lives. Her joining us has given us a new perspective on what it means to be a family and what it means to do anything for those you love.
I’ve always felt that I’m a person with many interests and who can find happiness in any situation, in any place, and within any group of people. My hobbies range from typical at-home activities such as cooking, reading, and watching movies, to the more outdoorsy things like camping, jogging, and road trips. However, one thing I absolutely love is trying a delicious dish somewhere, and then going home and trying to recreate it for our family meal. I also brew my own beer with some success! I’m also an avid musician – some of you might remember me in a mariachi uniform, trumpeting around town with the Alexander High School Mariachi group!
In the Community
Community is one of the most important things in life. The interactions we have with others on a daily basis greatly shapes who we are as a person, especially as we’re growing up. That’s why they say, “It takes a village.” However, at some point, you become a part of that village, and you have to give back. That’s why The Smile Shoppe will do all we can to stay active in the community by sponsoring local school athletic teams, cheerleading and dance groups, and music programs. We will also be hosting and sponsoring regular community events such as food drives, 5Ks, raffles, steak plate sales, and other activities for charitable causes.