Rodeo Dental is All-In on Palmhurst


It’s March, and by now, much of the community has learned about the Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics upgrade in Palmhurst. Many people who visit the H-E-B-anchored shopping center have had the chance to experience the new look and feel of the Rodeo office exterior. It’s a vintage Rodeo scene complete with a new facade, signs, and window graphics. At night, the Rodeo Palmhurst office becomes a focal point with its vibrant art that aims to tap into emotions and move people in an uplifting, positive way.

Ben Rouse, president of Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics, shared more about this new venture:

Wasn’t there another dentist in this location?

Yes! Fresh Smiles Dentistry was there for quite some time and became a Rodeo Affiliate in 2019. We had planned to convert the brand from Fresh Smiles to Rodeo Dental in 2020; however, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to postpone everything. We restarted this project in October 2021 and finished up in early February. We are excited to complete the upgrade process and to let the RGV community know that our Palmhurst location is now a full-fledged Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics facility! Of course, all of our Fresh Smiles patients are now Rodeo Dental patients, and no action is required on their part!

Rodeo Dental has offices in Mission, Sharyland, Pharr, and across the RGV all the way to Brownsville. Why make such a significant investment in Palmhurst?

Every decision at Rodeo is driven by our access-to-care-based mission. We believe that every family and kid deserves high-end dental care regardless of means, social status, where they live, and so on. In the dentistry world, the biggest access-to-care challenges are related to specialists. We have a one-stop shopping core value proposition, which means providing all dental services under one roof.

Like all communities, Palmhurst needs specialists, and we were unable to bring them here frequently enough because the Fresh Smiles office layout was too small. There simply wasn’t enough room to support three or four doctors at the same time. As a result, many Rodeo patients who live in Palmhurst were going to our Mission or Sharyland offices because they could easily access pediatric dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists, and endodontists. These offices were much bigger, and the experience was great. We felt the best way to overcome these challenges was to step up and transform Fresh Smiles into a flagship Rodeo Dental facility.

There’s one more important point. Rodeo has been serving the RGV area for over 10 years. After opening our first two or three offices, we became enamored with the Valley spirit. This experience was a defining moment and helped create the Rodeo culture, which continues to power existing and new office expansions throughout Texas and beyond. We like serving the RGV area because it’s fun, meaningful, and fulfilling, so we actively look for ways to better serve. The Palmhurst opportunity was a no-brainer.

What changes were made to the Rodeo Palmhurst facility besides the exterior ones? 

I’ll start with the floorplan. Simply put, the previous layout was awkward and inefficient. There was too much unused, open space and not enough rooms to interact with patients in private settings. We redesigned the facility to add more private rooms, streamline patient flow, and accommodate more doctors and patients.

It’s no secret that technology helps fuel great clinical outcomes in the dental world, so we installed state-of-the-art equipment like new dental chairs, X-ray machines, electric handpieces, and sterilization equipment. As a result, most rooms can now support all types of specialties. We also added a new room where patients can discuss their treatment options with a doctor in a private setting.

As part of the upgrade process, we decided to modernize the entire facility by installing new flooring, doors, baseboards, paint, new computers, monitors, and software. More importantly, we upgraded the internal look and feel by combining art, music, color, and fashion to create a positive and uplifting experience. This includes investment in patient comfort via new lobby seating, a high-end movie theater, an upgraded sound system, and immersive, full-size arcade games like Pac-Man and Mario Kart.

What Rodeo team members would you define as impact players in the Palmhurst and greater Mission areas?

A few people are top of mind, starting with Dr. Hisham Ayoub, our lead doctor for the entire RGV area. He’s unlike any dentist I’ve ever met for so many reasons and is a true dental domain expert. For example, Dr. Ayoub is an avid book collector and has acquired over 800 rare dental books ranging from the 13th century to the year 1900. He has a broad base of medical knowledge and experience, which includes stem-cell, forensic dentistry, laser dentistry, and history of medicine. As our RGV lead, Dr. Ayoub works most of the time in the Rodeo Mission office and mentors the other general dentists across the valley. His efforts drive peak performance and inspire clinical excellence across all of these Rodeo locations.

Tita Hinojosa is another team member that deserves a shout-out. Tita was born and raised in the Valley, knows how to create energy, and connects quickly with anyone and everyone. She has worked in many roles at Rodeo, like the front desk, orthodontics treatment coordination, and office leadership. Tita currently runs the Upper Valley region at Rodeo, which includes the Sharyland, Mission, Palmhurst, and Rio Grande City offices. Where the Palmhurst project and movement of specialists throughout the region are concerned, Tita helped facilitate the upgrade and continues to have a delicate hand in balancing doctor, patient, and staff alignments.

Now that Palmhurst is a fully equipped Rodeo facility, we’re excited about Dr. Ashwin Gulati’s arrival and role as the lead general dentist. Dr. Gulati is another Rodeo dentist who has an incredible background, including a degree from the University of Pacific — an elite dental school in California. He’s been a dentist in Arizona and Texas and worked in the Valley supporting Rodeo Weslaco, Donna, Edinburg, and Pharr office locations. On the humanitarian front, Dr. Gulati spent three years helping to bring free medical and dental services to rural Mexico, so he has the type of kind heart we look for in Rodeo providers. I could go on and on. He’s a competitive dancer, blackbelt in karate, and had a disc-jockey business in Arizona for four years. You just don’t find many dentists that are excellent clinicians and have a personality and background that is so authentic and interesting. I know Dr. Gulati is going to light up the Palmhurst and Mission communities!

Is there anything else you would like to say about the RGV area?

Yes — the Valley is the heart and soul of the Rodeo culture! I hope to get a chance to talk about what this means at another time. For now, just know that we continue to invest in and serve the RGV. Stay tuned as we’ve begun extreme upgrade projects to our Central and Southmost offices in Brownsville!