As children, Cesar Rivera, DMD, ’17, and Christian Rivera, DMD, ’19, often heard their grandfather give encouraging words to their mother. He would tell her to work hard to achieve her goals and never let anyone tell her she could not achieve what she wished for. Inspired by his words, the Rivera brothers work hard to follow their dreams.
Born in the U.S., Cesar, Christian, and their brother Carlos, MD, are triplets. They grew up in Agua Prieta, Sonora, a city in Mexico that borders Arizona. They are a part of a family of eight, including their father, mother, two older brothers, and sister. Throughout their childhood, their physician father would tell them stories of his work in the OR, treating patients and saving lives. With their father, uncle, and brothers in the field, a career in healthcare was a no-brainer for Christian and Cesar.
“I think healthcare was just in my blood,” Cesar says. “My desire for healthcare was, to a certain degree, established since the day I was born.”
The Rivera brothers were inspired to become dentists after receiving orthodontic treatment. Both were in awe of the confidence they gained after their smiles were restored. They realized the dental work they received did more than fix their teeth.
“That was the moment when I realized dentistry is more than just treating patients,” says Christian. “It is also a way to bring back self-confidence, health, and joy.”
Christian recently finished his last year of dental school at ATSU-MOSDOH. Now, he plans to move to southeast Texas to work as a dental associate. One day, he hopes to start his own practice and provide shadowing opportunities for students aspiring to become dentists.
Cesar is completing an oral and maxillofacial residency at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. At the end of the six-year program, he will be awarded diplomas in medicine and oral and maxillofacial surgery. His long-term goal is to open his own practice and take mission trips to remote areas of Latin America. At the end of his career, he would like to return to academia to help future surgeon trainees.
The Rivera brothers live by their grandfather’s words. While they have worked hard to achieve their dreams, they are just getting started.
“We are not done yet,” says Christian. “There are many things to do in life and in the community, like improving oral healthcare and health in general.”