No quiero frenos para dientes, Mama!
When Piero spoke those words as a teenager, he didn’t expect to one day be Dr. Piero Palacios, specializing in Orthodontics in the United States. But his mother insisted that he get braces, and after seeing the transformation for himself, he was not only thankful to his mama but inspired by the emotional boost his new smile gave him.
His inspiration was further fueled by his older sister becoming a dentist, and he realized he wanted to follow in her footsteps. However, prior to that realization, he had always been interested in engineering. He didn’t want to abandon that passion entirely and discovered the happy compromise between the two fields in orthodontics.
“The biomechanics of orthodontics really appealed to me,” Dr. Palacios explains. “That, combined with the ability to help people feel better both physically and emotionally, made orthodontics the perfect fit.”
Piero quickly realized he wanted to become an orthodontist, but becoming one was a long process. Born and raised in Nicaragua, he moved to Guatemala around the time he got braces. Once he finished high school, he earned a Doctor in Dental Surgery and a Bachelor of Science from the University Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala.
The opportunity to specialize in orthodontics, though, lied in America. So, Dr. Piero Palacios, DDS, applied and was accepted to the University of Connecticut Health Center, known for biomechanics in orthodontics. However, he also had to earn an AEGD certificate to make his foreign dentistry degree applicable in the States. This recertification added 3 years to his process, which he still found well worth it in the end.
Ultimately, Dr. Palacios’ studies have received numerous recognitions. He performed as chief resident at UConn, in which his cases have been published in the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics.
While Dr. Palacios truly enjoyed studying in Connecticut, living in the cold and snow for half of the year was a shock to his Central American composition. He missed the warmth and tropical weather of his home and wanted to enjoy the sun’s rays again as soon as possible.
As soon as he graduated, Dr. Palacios said goodbye to the snow and headed south to America’s tropics in Southern Florida. He’s practiced at two orthodontics offices in Miami since his arrival in 2006. His brother, who is interestingly also an orthodontist, practices there as well.
“It’s funny how my parents had no background in dentistry, yet their three children pursued the field,” Dr. Palacios laughs.
About 5 years ago, Dr. Palacios was offered the chance to go even further south.
A colleague of his, Dr. Maya, was realizing his dream to open a multi-specialty practice in the Keys called Overseas Dental. He needed an exceptional orthodontist to round out the team and offered the role to Dr. Palacios, who happily accepted. Dr. Palacios saw it as the perfect opportunity to help people in a smaller community receive top-of-the-line dental care. “Working with a team of specialists is ideal both for our patients and us doctors,” he says. “We consult each other and offer the best possible care for a wide range of needs.”
By saving patients the drive to Miami, he realized he could also mix business with pleasure by enjoying the Keys lifestyle after a day in the office. He and his wife, Katalina, enjoy extended stays at different locations in the Keys.
The Keys have become their home away from home, and they’ve grown to appreciate not only the tropical locale but also the wonderful community of people.
Visit overseas-dental.com to learn more about the premier dental care services.
–Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.