Something to Smile About


There’s nothing quite like the dread that can build ahead of a dental appointment. That feeling, though, is something every team member at Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics is striving to change — one smile at a time.

“We believe every person is either naturally positive and optimistic on life and has the natural ability to make people smile and laugh — or they aren’t,” CEO Ben Rouse said. “We only hire people who have ‘Smile DNA’ because everything we do, how we interact is always incredibly positive and we’re committed to the business value of fun.”

Brightly colored and engaging lobbies packed with activities in each Rodeo Dental office reflect that value.

“I used to go to other dentists and it was just really boring,” said Noemi Sanchez-Torres, the orthodontics lead at the Forest Hill office. “Versus Rodeo, we welcome you. The lobby itself has a movie theater, an arcade, a playground, a work station where the kids can color and draw.”

Pop Spirit Celebrations — monthly themed festivities complete with decorations and activities — also embody that idea of fun. The experience can be transformative for both patients’ health and their perception of a visit to the dentist’s office.

“It’s all about transformation — creating an experience that transforms us from fear and anxiety to positive reflection of dentistry,” said Dr. Saam Zarrabi, cofounder of Rodeo Dental.

Dr. William Dunklin, another cofounder and a board-certified pediatric dentist, agrees.

“In my opinion, Rodeo Dental has improved the industry just because it’s a fun place to go,” he said. “I think that helps the kids a lot be comfortable with coming to the dentist.”

Painful memories and scary appointments can color a patient’s attitude toward dentist offices for life. In fact, it was a bad experience at a dental office that inspired Zarrabi to work with his colleagues to create Rodeo Dental.

“My first job wasn’t quite what I expected it to be,” he said. “The practice was not run well. The service was bad, the culture was bad, and everybody was unhappy — the patients, the staff, everybody. So I left after three weeks. I quit and just said, ‘hey, I know the community can offer something better.’”

Rodeo Dental takes its role in the community seriously — from giving back after Hurricane Harvey struck Houston, to sponsoring immersive student leadership opportunities through LEAP Week in Los Angeles, to partnering with Dentists Who Care, a nonprofit dedicated to providing pro bono oral health care. In 2018 alone, Rodeo Dental team members volunteered their time and services to offer $250,000 worth of free dental care to patients in need.

It all goes back to having compassion for patients and what they’re going through.

“We have a huge understanding of what the patient goes through,” said Sierra Woods,  ortho way maker at Rodeo Dental’s Fort Worth headquarters. “If there is a patient that has had a traumatic experience in their previous dental office, we all get together and we do a round table on how we can make patients’ experience a lot better.”

Positive patient care and experience are paramount — something every member of the Rodeo Dental team is passionate about.

“We’re changing the perception of dentistry,” said Maribel Noriega, vice president of human resources. “We make it a fun experience from the moment you walk in to the moment you sit in the chair with the dentist. We provide them with empathy and caring and respect.”

With 21 Texas locations — more than half of which are in the Rio Grande Valley — Rodeo Dental’s team members are dedicated to offering convenient and comprehensive services and availability all under the same roof. With experts in family dentistry, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and endodontics — root canals — all housed in the same office, there’s no need for referrals or traveling to different practices.

“We totally love and respect the traditional dental, just like our dads’ practice,” Zarrabi said. “But also we wanted to bring a new dynamic in the multi-specialty practice, so focusing on the patient, being convenient for them. Very patient-centric environment.”

Dr. Yahya Mansour, another cofounder, emphasized the importance of involving patients with the care they receive.

“We truly care — you are a partner in your care here,” he said. “The old school way was doctor-centric: ‘I’m the doctor, you’re the patient, you do this, don’t question me.’ We want to empower you and give you every option and for you to help come to a decision.”

Learn more about Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics by visiting