Prayer and fortitude – that’s how Dr. Alex Planes was able to make his dream of becoming a dentist come true. A first-generation American, Planes appreciated the opportunities made
available to him when his parents fled Cuba under Castro’s communist regime.
“My parents fled Cuba for a better life,” said Planes, who was raised by his mother and grandparents. “My mother wasn’t home much because she was working. My grandfather was a welder and never earned more than $9 an hour, and my grandmother worked in a factory. I am the first member of my family to attend college.”
Planes knew from an early age that he was destined to be a dentist. The Florida native, born and raised in Miami, recalled sitting around the dinner table with his mother and two aunts. All three were dental assistants, and their work dominated the conversation.
“I was about 6-years-old, and I was taking out my friend’s primary teeth. I’ve always had a passion for helping people,” he added.
Planes dental career began in earnest when he was just 12-years-old, working in a denture lab for his mother’s employer until they discovered he was allergic to acrylic. For a time, Planes thought his dream of becoming a dentist wouldn’t become a reality.
After graduating from high school, Planes began a career in sales. He loved the business aspect of his career but didn’t feel fulfilled. This wasn’t how he saw his future. After a great deal of self-reflection, Planes said he prayed on it and decided it was time to move forward with his childhood dream.
“I’ve always been a true believer in Jesus Christ. Always praying. There have been times that I’ve felt buried and thought I wouldn’t be able to make it. I had a lot of obstacles in my way. If it weren’t for prayer and my belief in God and myself, I wouldn’t be where I am today. He gave me the strength I needed,” shared Planes.
After completing dental school, Planes went to Columbia University for his residency. He worked every chance he had to supplement his student loans so that he could complete his education. Planes returned to Florida and worked in three different practices simultaneously before beginning work in corporate dentistry.
Unsatisfied by the level of care he was able to give his patients in the corporate environment, Planes finally decided it was time to open his own practice. That’s what brought him to Vero Beach. “The Treasure Coast community has welcomed me with open arms. We’ve taken care of our patients the best way that we can. Patient satisfaction for me is my number one priority. I wanted to build a practice that offered high-end patient care and patient experience,” he shared.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Planes is very invested in continuing his education. “Knowledge is very important, especially as a young dentist. I’ve been doing a lot of continuing education, a lot of self-development. That’s been part of my genetic constitution, to continue to develop myself, not only as a professional but also personally and spiritually.”
His plans for the future include continuing to build his general, cosmetic, and implant dentistry practice on the Treasure Coast while becoming more involved in full-mouth rehabilitation. “It’s amazing that you take somebody’s teeth out that hasn’t been able to smile in years; and then, in two days, you give them a life-changing smile. It’s so impactful.”
Planes’ biggest challenge today is balancing work and life. His practice has grown from the original office in Vero Beach to include offices in Port St. Lucie, Tradition and Palm City. So too has his family with his wife and fellow dentist, Dr. Paulina Pichardo, and their three boys “Every day I pray, and I’m thankful for what I have. I’m very appreciative for what He’s given me and my family.”
For address and locations or for more information, visit planesdentalarts.com.