Dr. Marta Nieto knows a thing or two about having a passion for dentistry. Born in Cuba, Dr. Nieto came to the United States in 1988, where she obtained her license in 1992 from the University of Florida. She established her own practice, Marta Nieto Dental Spa, in Miami in 2012.
Dr. Nieto says that what drives her every day is a love of perfection and a passion for helping people. Delta Dental caught up with Dr. Nieto during a busy day at her office to discuss what originally inspired her to become a dentist, the ins and outs of practicing in Miami and what she sees ahead for the future of the field.
How and when did you decide to become a dentist?
My whole life I wanted to do surgery. My only game as I grew up was to play surgeon or doctor. I pretended that I did everything in the hospital. If I played with other children, I had them be the mother and father of the baby. I think I just love to help people. I also love beauty and cosmetics.
It was originally my dream to do facial reconstruction. When I started to study to become a dentist, I wanted to have a specialty in maxillofacial surgery for people with congenital malformations.
I graduated in Cuba in 1986 with honors because I was the best student in my class in my year. I came to the USA in 1988, when my son was three years old. In 1992, I got my Florida license.
I wanted to bring my family — my parents, my grandmother — from Cuba, and I had to work very hard. For me, it was very difficult to get a specialty. But I still do cosmetic procedures. I love beauty. When I finish my work, the patient is so happy, because they feel much younger, they feel healthier.
Why did you decide to open your practice in Miami? What are some of the challenges and rewards of practicing there?
I decided to put my practice in Miami because when I arrived from Cuba, my only family in the U.S. was my brother. He lived in Miami. This was why I got established here in Miami. It was for the language, too. My language is Spanish, and half or more of the community here speaks Spanish. It’s easier for me to find patients.
Many years ago, I thought about moving to another place, maybe a more typical American city, but I’m a very family-oriented person. I had my grandmother, my mother, my father, all my family with me, and my son in school, so I didn’t move. Now, I feel happy here in Miami, because my patients are very happy with my work. I love to work with the Spanish community.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, would you have any advice for young Latina women who want to study a career in dentistry?
You need passion to study dentistry. It’s very hard work. Many people think dentists earn money very easily, but it’s not true. Our career is very stressful. It can cause pain in your back, in your body. You need to love it.
In my opinion, in the university, many people study this career only for money. I’m frustrated when I try to contact new graduates to work in my office, and I don’t know if they have the love they need for the profession. They see the profession as just a way to make money.
Don’t misunderstand me: It’s OK to want to earn money, but you have to care about the health of people. My recommendation is: It’s a beautiful career, but if you don’t love it, don’t do it.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to travel! I love Europe. I love hiking, and I love the beach, the mountains, the rivers — everything to do with nature.
What do you think are the biggest challenges to the practice of dentistry? What do you think is ahead in the future of the field?
I think dentistry is at a revolutionary stage. There are a lot of new procedures and materials arriving to the practice. Years before, dentistry was a career just to do fillings and things like that. But now, dentistry is a much wider career. There’s so much new technology — I think dentistry has a very big future.
If I had to study dentistry again, I’d do it for sure. I have a dream that one day it will be possible to create new teeth with modal cells, with no need for an implant. Maybe I will see it, but maybe another generation will come to do it.
Congratulations to Dr. Nieto on being our Dental Health Partner of the Month! Learn more about Marta Nieto Dental Spa.