More than half of small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration, survive for five or more years, and about a third of them survive for more than 10 years. As you climb higher and higher, the data showcases that fewer and fewer businesses survive past a decade. However, here in our own backyard, off the corner of Regent and Prairie Avenue, Doris A. Guevara D.D.S Inc. known by patients as "Guevara Family Dentistry," has risen above the statistics. The dental practice is proud to celebrate 20 years of service to the Inglewood community this month!
Founded in 1996 near Inglewood High School, Doris Guevara D.D.S, a native of El Salvador, opened her doors with the intention of helping her community. “I come from a family of 12 brothers and sisters. My parents were farmers in El Salvador, and my mother always had a vision that her kids would go to school because both of them didn’t have the opportunity to go to school.”
Guevara’s parents decided to move to the United States when she was 17 years old, and although she finished high school, she took an additional year before attending Santa Monica College to study Business Administration, and working part time at UCLA Medical Center. “I used to have a friend working at the dental office at UCLA and every time that I went into that clinic, it was something that I felt I could do.
After moving back to El Salvador in 1983, Guevara and her sister’s dream of becoming a dentist was put in jeopardy, as a US backed El Salvador erupted into a devastating civil war that left an estimated 70,000 people dead.
“It was the worst time to go back home. The university was closed, businesses were closed, at night there was a lot of shooting and bombing and so the other choice was going to school in Mexico, which I did and graduated with honors in 1987.”
After getting married and having a daughter, who now works in social justice, in 1993, Guevara decided to relocate once again to the City of Inglewood, where her parents were residents. “In 1995 I got my license, I worked with a children’s specialist and started getting familiar with Inglewood. There weren’t a lot of Latino and minority dentists, and being a minority, I felt that this was my place. In 1996 we opened the office and I have been serving my community ever since. We’ve been blessed.”
With market fluctuations from events like 9/11, to the housing market crash of 2008 that stripped minority communities of close to 50% of its wealth (according to economists), it’s an incredible achievement to be able to say that you’ve weathered the storms. In response to how she was able to survive tough times, Guevara added, “You have to be different, you have to believe that what you’re doing is the best, and give a good service. It’s not all about money, we’re not in Beverly Hills, so we work with the needs of our patients. We accept Medi-Cal and we treat each patient with the same love and respect, it doesn’t matter if you have insurance, if you’re homeless, it doesn’t matter.”
As advice, Guevara recommends these 5 tips to healthy oral hygiene:
1. Brush at least twice a day for 2 minutes.
2. Floss daily.
3. Limit sugary foods & maintain a well balanced diet.
4. Don't smoke or use tobacco.
5. Visit your dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and examination.