Dr. Marcus de Guzman’s Bayou City Smiles Dentistry clinic turned ten this year. That’s ten years of making Houstonians smile.
“We had our staff and their families over to our house in the Heights for a cookout to celebrate,” Dr. de Guzman, 43, says. “I live just a few miles from the clinic, which is nice—I can come home for lunch every day and have a nap and feed our two dogs.” Both dogs are rescues—a terrier mix named Lexie (who came from a hoarding situation) and a senior rescue named Lucas, who is a poodle mix.
But it was a much longer trek for Dr. de Guzman to find his way to Houston. He was born into a long line of doctors and dentists in the Philippines, and when he was nine, his family moved to Athens, Georgia. He got his undergraduate degree in Georgia before moving to Philadelphia to attend the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry (formerly Temple University School of Dentistry), where he graduated with a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree.
In 2000, he discovered that Houston was one of the top ten cities for dentists who are just starting out, so he thought he would give the city a try.
“It was a large city, and away from my family,” he explains. “I love them to death, but they were always there. Now I love them even more because they have to fly here for a visit.”
The first thing he noticed about Houston was the palm trees and the signs in Spanish. He thought it was all very exotic.
“I planned to stay here for five years,” he says. “Twenty years later, I’m still here! I’ve made so many friends, and met my husband here.” Last February he married his partner of six years, Jessie Diaz. “It was a one-night stand that never ended,” the doctor admits, laughingly. Diaz is much younger than the youthful-looking de Guzman—so much so that the doctor had to show Diaz his driver’s license to prove his age.
Dr. de Guzman enjoys CrossFit, reading (mostly books about history and politics, such as Michelle Obama’s Becoming), and food.
“We do cook at home, but it’s not that good,” he says. “So we eat out a lot—French and Asian food. And we like to follow celebrity chefs, especially while we’re traveling.” When at home, the couple dines at least once a week at 13 Celsius, a wine bar and café in Midtown known for its cheese selection and salumi. For date night, they like the romantic Café Rabelais, a French spot in Rice Village.
Dr. de Guzman has also been involved in many outreach programs, and has initiated oral-health screening programs in local public elementary schools, HIV clinics, and even nightclubs. He was an invaluable volunteer at ASIAC (AIDS Services in Asian Communities) in Philadelphia, doing outreach both in the Asian community and throughout the city. His efforts were recognized in 2000 by the Association of Public Health Dentistry, and he received a Community Dentistry and Dental Public Health Award upon graduation. In Houston, he was a volunteer dentist for the nonprofit Bering-Omega Dental Clinic from 2004 to 2010. He also volunteered to work with the Greater Houston Dental Society’s dental-assistant training program for two years. He is currently involved with the Human Rights Campaign, and sits on the board of the Executive and Professional Association of Houston in addition to keeping up with treatment advances through his professional organizations.
“I think the digital age is the biggest advancement in dentistry,” he says. “We can make digital impressions with a scanner for crowns right there in the office. You can now get a crown in three hours instead of three weeks.” He is also a Fellow of the International Dental Implant Association (IDIA).
Despite all the technology, what he likes best about his work are his patients.
“I get to know my patients,” he says. “They are my friends and neighbors. When I started Bayou City Smiles, my goal was to be ‘the village dentist’ and be part of the community.”
We’d say he has succeeded, smilingly.
This article appears in the May 2019 edition of OutSmart magazine.