With a growing practice and a sincere dedication to the dental field, Dr. Clarissa Esparza loves helping patients love their smiles.
By: Sarah Tindall // Photos by: Dustin Ashcraft
Dr. Clarissa Esparza is enthusiastic about her bright future in her hometown. In the past few months, she has bought her own dental practice, added staff to accommodate her growing patient list and renovated her offices to ensure that she has enough room for all of the growth.
Esparza is proud to say she was born and raised in Corpus Christi, graduating from Incarnate Word Academy and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi before attending dental school at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. Her career path was set at an early age; even as a child, she knew dentistry was the career for her. She spent her high school and college summers interning at the office of her mentor and mother’s friend, Dr. Cynthia Casillas.
“I wanted to be just like her when I was growing up – so sweet and approachable,” Esparza says. Casillas provided the encouragement Esparza needed to continue to follow her dream. Watching her first extraction made Esparza wonder if this was the right thing for her, and she was tempted to change careers, but Casillas told her to focus and keep at it, and eventually, Esparza fell in love with the work, begging to help with every procedure.
After Esparza graduated in 2010, Casillas gave Esparza a spot in her office to get her the time and experience she needed to find a place of her own in another office. “She didn’t have room for me in her office that she shares with her dad, so she let me work in the afternoons while she went home to be with her kids,” Esparza says. “It was so kind of her to give me that chance!”
Her big break came when Dr. Dawod offered her a place in his practice, which Esparza attributes to fate: Several people had recommended her to him, so he called her because he said her name just kept coming up, and somehow, he knew it was meant to be.
Dawod ’s plan was to open a new office and install Esparza as the dentist there, which is the office she still operates out of at 2802 S. Staples St. in Corpus Christi. Esparza describes their relationship as special: Dawod gave her all the support she needed as a new dentist just starting out, and she says she has enjoyed working with him immensely.
“Dr. Dawod and his wife have two sons, and they call me the daughter they never had,” she says. “They’ve been so sweet – so giving.” Esparza bought the practice after her wedding (she married in late 2013), and she has been growing rapidly ever since. “For our patients, nothing has changed,” she explains, “and if I need to consult about a particular case, I can still call Dr. Dawod any time.”
Esparza’s patients are coming in for everything from teeth cleanings and crowns to Invisalign braces. She recommends babies come in at 6 months for a checkup and recommendations on tooth care, including proper bottle use and curbing juice for optimal dental health, and she continues to see them every six months to ensure they’re progressing properly. “I love seeing kids, and they have fun with our vibrant staff and fun office,” she says, adding that kids should come in beginning at 2 for regular cleanings and continue going to the dentist every six months after that for the rest of their lives.
Patients can also get their teeth whitened at the office, as well as get bridges, root canals, extractions, veneers and other cosmetic dentistry. Her practice is growing, so Esparza has recently hired more hygienists and other staff to ensure that her patients don’t wait too long to schedule appointments. She has also expanded her space to accommodate more patients, so the expansion of the practice will not affect the top-quality standard of patient care that she has always set for her patients. “We’re excited about the renovations,” she says, “and should be done by late August so new patients won’t have trouble scheduling appointments.”
She attributes her business savvy to her husband, who has run a successful salon business in Corpus Christi for years “and is always focused on goals, getting us to where we should be and making sure we are on target and keeping everything really fresh,” she says.
And most importantly, Esparza says is excited about how well everything is going in the office. With a young, enthusiastic staff, she says it’s fun to go to work every day. “Everyone is smiling and making jokes and having fun,” she says, which keeps her patients smiling, as well. The reward for her is her relationships with her patients. “I love my job and really look forward to seeing all my patients every day and building relationships with them,” she says. “I enjoy helping them love their smile. I’m young and I want to grow with them, seeing their kids eventually and growing old with them.”
Esparza is also dedicated to her hometown and wants to ensure that her story is an inspiration to local children (especially girls) that hard work can help them realize their dreams. She works with the university and Del Mar College, giving their dental students the opportunity to gain experience at her office. “Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students participating in Biomedical Practicum shadow our staff in our office weekly during the semester,” she explains, “and Del Mar College students come every spring to learn from our assistants.” She has also participated in two mission trips, taking dental expertise to Third World countries.
Esparza is looking forward to all the future holds for her expanding practice in Corpus Christi and to accommodating her patients’ needs for many years to come.
For more information about Dr. Clarissa Esparza or to schedule an appointment, go to www.clarissaesparzadds.co or call 361-852-3600.