Doctor Spotlight: Associate Dentist Thomas Sagrera

Position: Associate Dentist
Location: Ft. Smith, AR
Dental School: LSU School of Dentistry
Number of years working for Kool Smiles: nearly 5 years

What inspired you to become a dentist?  
My father was a dentist when I was growing up.  He practiced for 48 years and we were able to practice together for his last seven years.

What made you decide to join Kool Smiles?
After 33 years of practicing in my own home town, my wife wanted a change and with our ultimate goal being to move to New Orleans, Kool Smiles was the perfect opportunity.

Describe a memory you have of going to the dentist as a child.
Since my father was my dentist, fear was not a problem.  Visits there were like explorations.

What was an “a-ha” moment you had as a dentist?
I believe it was my Community Dentistry outreach in the rural town of Violet, Louisiana.  We did school visitations during Children’s Dental Health Month.  I enjoyed the experience of teaching and seeing their faces light up as I asked questions and used math that they were learning in the presentation.

How do you plan to live out the Kool Smiles mission on your trip?
I plan to be open to a new culture and see where I can contribute to make their everyday world better by making their mouths healthier.

What Kinds of experiences do you hope to have on this trip? What do you hope to learn?
My focus on dentistry for so many years has seemingly put blinders on my vision.  I hope this trip will allow me to see others in their daily routines and how they deal with the issues we all face.  And I hope to learn how teamwork can get things done even in the absence of every convenience.

How do you think this trip will impact your career as a dentist going forward?
I think that it will enforce some of the practices that I already do, but I hope I will learn from the other Kool Smiles team members and how they personally achieve success in dental treatment.

What’s a final piece of advice you have for people trying to make a difference in the world of dentistry?
Continue to care about the quality of dental care and its availability no matter how many years that you have been in practice.

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