A SMILING PATIENT is the Definition of Success
Vanesa Guerra Clements, DDS
Legacy Dental | Brownsville, TX
What led you to become a dentist?
My family. I have several family members in the medical field, but my father was the one who had the biggest impact. I admired his commitment to his patients and his passion to go the extra mile to help those in need. He would tell me a quote he was fond of, that people will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Thus, at Legacy Dental, my whole staff goes out of their way to ensure that all of our patients leave with a smile on their face!
What is the one thing you would change about the dental industry if you could?
Dentistry is in a great place right now; technological advances have allowed us the ability to diagnose more accurately and provide superior dental care to our patients. Nevertheless, the old stereotype of the grouchy dentist with the giant, rusty-sounding drill still persists. That fear prevents so many people from going to the dentist or causes them to delay much needed treatment. But those technological advancements that help diagnosis have also made a trip to the dentist so much easier and much more comfortable for our patients. Perhaps equally important is the role of the dentist and her staff to show the patient that there’s nothing to fear. We typically fear what we don’t understand, so educating the patient goes a long way towards a successful dental visit and helps with future visits as well.
What is the most common mistake people make concerning their teeth?
It’s really the basics: brushing and flossing. Are you brushing two minutes twice a day? Are you brushing in circles? Are you brushing your gums, tongue and palate? And then there’s flossing. Recent studies show that only half of all Americans floss on a daily basis. An extra two-three minutes a day to floss would do wonders for one’s overall oral hygiene.
What is the number one method or product you recommend in teeth whitening?
There are several great products out there right now, but Phillips ZOOM Whitening is pretty amazing. We’ve seen patients come in who were so self-conscious about their teeth that they wouldn’t smile. One woman showed us photo after photo of various events throughout her life – birthdays, quinceañeras, weddings – and no smile. After a one-hour session with ZOOM, this patient was almost transformed; her once yellow-ish teeth were now pearly white. But while the physical change in her teeth color was impressive, it was the tears of joy and that really had an impact on our staff. This was a life-changing event. Now her whole demeanor and how she carries herself is significantly different – she’s much more confident and self-assured. That type of change is priceless!
Finally tell us about your path to success, what are your future goals and dreams?
Success can be measured in so many ways, but at the end of the day, I want to make people smile – maybe because they appreciate the dentistry they’ve received or appreciate the care and attention they’ve received from my team. But it’s the human element that drives me. People never forget how you make them feel, so my patients’ happiness is my success. As for the future, I hope to create more smiles by providing excellent care to my amazing patients. In addition, I’d like to mentor others who want a career in dentistry. I’ve had some wonderful teachers, mentors and coaches over the years and would relish the opportunity to give back just like others did for me.