Dr. Bianca Velayo has established herself in the dental industry not only as a dentist and practice owner, but also as a mentor and content creator.
Originally from Long Island, NY, Bianca is a first-generation Filipino-American who has had a passion for healthcare since her teenage years. She became a doctor at the young age of 25 after graduating from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.
After finishing school, Bianca moved to the Las Vegas area to work for a dentist who was willing to mentor her as a fresh graduate. After one year working as an associate dentist and gaining valuable skills from her mentor, Bianca opened her own practice, Green Valley Smiles Dentistry, with the help of Pacific Dental Services, a dental support organization that partners with dentists to provide managerial and business support.
“I became a dental practice owner at 26, but just with the motto of do right by people,” Bianca says. “I knew dentistry, and my whole philosophy was just treat patients right [and] treat your people right. But I learned a lot of hard lessons along the way.”
As a young entrepreneur, Bianca faced a learning curve. Her practice started with only her and two other employees. Now, she has built her practice into one of the largest in Henderson, Nevada, with over 20 employees. She also opened a second practice about a year ago and is in the process of opening a third location within the coming year.
Throughout the process of building her business, Bianca had to juggle not only the day-to-day responsibilities of being a dentist — seeing patients and performing procedures — but also the aspects of owning the practice, such as coaching, mentoring, marketing and expanding the practice. The COVID-19 pandemic also presented challenges as she had to furlough many employees and she faced high employee turnover.
However, Bianca finds dentistry to be a rewarding field, especially since she is able to work with her hands and actively help improve people’s health. She also enjoys changing patients’ perceptions of dentistry and seeing their reactions to her work.
“As a dentist, I get to do so many cool things all the time,” Bianca says. “I had this one patient — I gave her dentures. She was crying [because she] could smile again.”
Bianca also emphasizes mentorship since she herself became successful due in part to the mentorship of others. Now, she sees those who she mentored move into their own practices and begin to mentor others, as well.
“It gave me a lot of confidence because now I’m OK taking these leaps of faith on people because I’m investing in a person,” Bianca says. “I’m not always looking at your resume — I’m looking at what your potential is, and I’ve brought on a lot of different people with very little experience, and I’ve coached them up to be superstars.”
Her mentorship extends beyond the walls of her office and into the social media world, as well. She has amassed more than 15,000 followers on Instagram and uses her platform to not only influence and support young dentists and students, but also to inform others about dentistry.
In 2018, Bianca began to post Oral Health Minute videos inspired by her own experiences as a dentist on Instagram and YouTube. Through these videos, she aims “to demystify the whole dental experience” and establish trust between dentists and the public in an entertaining and informative way.
For example, Bianca posted one Oral Health Minute about the importance of flossing and uses analogies and visuals to help patients better understand the “why” behind flossing.
Bianca hopes to change people’s perceptions of who a dentist is through her social media presence.
“I like to think I break the mold of what a dentist looks like,” Bianca says. “People think: dentist — old, white, cranky, man. I’m young, vibrant, fun, female. That’s what my videos are.”
In addition to her roles as a dentist, entrepreneur and content creator, Bianca is a mother to a 3-year-old and 7-month-old.
Becoming a mother has influenced the way Bianca views her role as the owner of a practice.
“I always joke that my dental practice is my first baby,” Bianca says. “There are a lot of parallels to being a business owner and being a mom. At the end of the day, you are responsible for so many people.”
For mothers who are attempting to balance work and family, Bianca recommends finding one’s own balance.
“There is no one-size-fits-all,” Bianca says. “I do work a lot, but I don’t think I’m a bad mother. Trust you know what’s best for yourself, your career and your family. There is no such thing as perfect balance. You’ll find what feels balanced to you.”
As Bianca moves forward, she is excited to find new ways to impact her field, especially as dentistry becomes more intertwined with other medical fields.
“I love the direction dentistry is heading in,” Bianca says. “We are promoting what is called the mouth-body connection. People are starting to understand the mouth is the gateway to the body, so we are helping reduce overall inflammation and improve overall health.”
To Bianca, “she can be both” means “shattering perceptions and breaking stereotypes.”
“People think [of the] dentist one way, and I’m like no — I’m showing you a different way,” Bianca says.