Get to Know: Dr. Nicolas Porter

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Get to know Dr. Nicolas Porter, founder and CEO of Risas Dental and Braces. Dr. Porter talks about the importance of dental health and what he is doing to help make dental care services affordable for the community.

José Cárdenas: Dr. Nicolas Porter is the founder and CEO of Risas Dental and braces. He is making a difference in the valley by doing what he can to help make dental services affordable for the community. Join us as we get to know Dr. Nicolas Porter. Dr. Porter, thank you for joining us on "Horizonte."

Dr. Porter: Thank you.

José Cárdenas: You have been out of dental school since what? 2008?

Dr. Porter: Yes.

José Cárdenas: And you already have seven or eight establishments here in the Phoenix area?

Dr. Porter: There's six here, two in -- sorry. Five here and two in Denver right now.

José Cárdenas: And as I understand it, one of your trademarks is that you provide bilingual services at all of your facilities.

Dr. Porter: Yeah. We have about 20 doctors. Most of them speak Spanish and about 95% of our team, the teammates in each office speak Spanish as well.

Dr. Porter: Why is that important to you in your business?

Dr. Porter: I just saw a big need, a big gap in service offered to Latinos, those that spoke Spanish. And I knew how important it was for them to be able to speak their native tongue in communicating their needs to medical profession. I think sometimes when there's translation that goes from an assistant perhaps to the doctor, I think some things are lost in that translation. And so it's important that the doctors, everybody is able to communicate. But it's also, we understand their culture. Having spent time down in Latin America, that's one of the things that we are able to do.

José Cárdenas: And just to put an exclamation point, the name of your dental practice is itself Spanish, Risas.

Dr. Porter: It was grins actually. And it was because the name was so hard to say for many Latinos that I changed it to Risas. So that's why I call myself Dr. Nicolas instead of Dr. Porter. It was so hard for so many Latinos to say Dr. Porter so they would call me Dr. Nicolas and so that's what I am known throughout the Hispanic community.

José Cárdenas: And that's how you are known on the Spanish language radio show that you do. Tell us about that.

Dr. Porter: The El Show De Nicolas, it's a show I have had for two years. I want to be an accessible resource for people. The Latin community especially, the Spanish speaking community. There's a lot of immigration talk on radio but not too much in terms of dental health or health in general. So I just wanted to be an accessible and transparent and honest resource for people to call in and get information and be educated on what the importance of dental health in their lives.

José Cárdenas: And you have also emphasized affordability. Tell us how you do that.

Dr. Porter: Well, there's some secret sauce in all of that. Obviously. But the main point was I grew up without much. And one of the most important things in my life when I went to have a root canal, actually, as a 12-year-old boy, and the lady at the front counter said, that will be 350 . My mom looked at me and said, I hope she means $3.50. Just the cost of dentistry in all honesty has gotten a little bit out of control. It's just been my desire to lower it. And so there's some things that we do to help share costs by having three dentists in each of the centers. And an orthodontist. We share all the costs under one roof and at the end of the day it's a choice. We make a choice to charge less.

José Cárdenas: And it's not just charging less. You do a lot of free charity work.

Dr. Porter: Exactly.

José Cárdenas: Thousands of dollars as I understand it.

Dr. Porter: We are approaching three years old, and we have given away probably more than a million dollars. A lot of that is through my radio show. We do a monthly makeover for people that write in letters and explain, you know, their situation, what they are going through. Their dental needs. And I select people. And call them and they come in and they get anywhere from five to $7,000, in dental treatment done at no cost to them. In addition to that, every time we open an office, we open our doors for four hours that first day at our grand opening. We have a little fiesta, and we do free dentistry to as many people that come and as many people that we can see. Usually, it's around 100 patients that come. And it's about $40,000 roughly each time we open an office that we are giving away to the community in dental services. In additionally we have something called "Labor of love day." Every Labor Day it's the anniversary of the company. We open every one of our offices and we do four hours of free dentistry and then we have a little anniversary party after as a company. And so in those days, each office, it's my goal that each office gives away about $100,000 per office per year to give back to the community. And really it's one day for us to give back to the communities that give to us every other day of the year.

José Cárdenas: Dr. Porter, one last topic I want to cover quickly that has to do with some concerns you have about what I think you refer to as hotel dentistry. Tell us about that.

Dr. Porter: Well, we have had a few patients come in and it's a really passion of mine to be able to reach out to the Latino people and help. And patients that come in saying they were treated in a house or a hotel. And they have had some real issues. And it's a real issue that I would like to bring more light on and understand. So that we can help these people understand, they don't need to go to those places, that they can afford, they have a place that they can afford dentistry that has payment plans and ways to help them get their dental treatment without the need to go and put themselves in dangers.

José Cárdenas: In a safe and sanitary setting as well if they go to your office. What is happening? We have dentists, people coming in from Mexico and setting up shops here?

Dr. Porter: Usually that's what it is here. They set up shop in a hotel or house and send people out to give flyers at a store.

José Cárdenas: And this is something you are dealing with?

Dr. Porter: This is something that, yes, I am dealing with and trying to get more information.

Dr. Nicolas Porter:Founder and CEO, Risas Dental and Braces;

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