A fourth-generation dentist followed in his father's footsteps, except for one thing: he left his native Brazil and decided to practice in the United States.
Bruno Sharp, CD, DDS, MS, understands the importance of tradition. But he’s also willing to buck the trend when necessary.
Sharp, who established Prosthodontic Dentistry of South Florida in 1997, is a fourth-generation dentist. All have studied in the United States, and all at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry.
But while everyone before him returned to the family practice in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, Sharp chose to stay in the United States.
“Everyone went back to Brazil because there was a practice there,” Sharp explains. “But when my father passed away, we sold the practice. I decided to stay here because there wasn’t a practice any more. And now I consider myself more comfortable here than in my hometown.”
It would be easy to think that with three generations of dentists coming before you, the pressure to keep the line moving would be significant. But that wasn’t the case.
“My father used to tell me, whatever you do, if you have a passion for it, you’re going to end up doing well,” Sharp says.
It turned out Sharp had a passion for dentistry. It started as a child when he visited his father’s practice in Rio and watched him work.
“He had a passion for the profession,” Sharp recalls. “I thought it would be a wonderful thing to follow in his footsteps.”
So Sharp came to the US and attended the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry.
“It’s one of the top schools in the country,” he says. “And Virginia was a great place to live. So it was a perfect combination.”
He received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree, then decided to specialize in prosthodontics, and graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry Master’s program.
Focus on Fluoride
In 2001, after conducting extensive research with the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (IAOMT), Sharp began to grow concerned about the effects of fluoride in the public water system coupled with its inclusion in the foods and beverages we ingest on a daily basis. After becoming convinced that this leads to a range of health problems, he became determined to develop his own brand: a natural, non-toxic and healthy alternative to fluoride toothpaste that is now offered at boutique pharmacies, natural health specialty stores, luxury hotels and spas, high-end cosmetic and beauty product catalogs, online retailers and dental offices throughout the world.
But it didn’t come easy.
“I was only able to create my line of dental products with the help of my sister, Valeria Braga,” Sharp says. “I was very busy in my practice, and I had no idea the effort it takes to create a product from scratch. I’ve been working on this for probably 10 years, and it’s very challenging.”
But also very rewarding. Sharp likens the feeling of launching his own product line to that of coming to the US, obtaining his degrees, and opening his practice in south Florida. He acknowledges that sometimes it’s hard to believe.
“I live on Fisher Island,” he explains. “There’s a market there and my product is being sold. I go there every now and then and see the product on the shelf. It makes me very proud to see it out there.”
His line of products includes Fresh Mint with Green Tea Toothpaste, Wild Berry Kids Toothpaste, Fresh Mint Mouthwash, and Green Tea Mint Dental Tape. One customer review from the Vitamin World website states: “Wow! This toothpaste is amazing. It’s all I resort to now. I cannot use any other toothpaste. I highly recommend all of Dr. Sharp’s products.”
When Sharp isn’t busy treating patients at his boutique dental care practice in Coral Gables, he spends much of his time with his 7-year-old son. Does that mean there will be a fifth generation of Sharp dentists?
“He told me he wants to be a dentist like his father,” Sharp says. “But I’m going to tell him the same thing as my father told me. Whatever he wants to do is fine, as long as he does it with passion.”
His son is currently engrossed in sports, playing tennis and taking golf lessons, which is fine with Sharp who loves athletics. So when the Summer Olympics opened in his hometown last month, Sharp was paying attention.
“I used to go to the stadium where the opening ceremony took place,” he says. “I spent much of my youth going to that stadium to watch soccer games. So now it’s being used for the Olympics, which is really interesting.”
Does Sharp miss his hometown? He says he stayed in the US in part because of the economic and political situation in many South American countries.
“It’s not very safe,” he says. “But also, I fell in love with this country. I never felt discrimination. If you work hard, then opportunity will knock at your door.”
And working hard is something Sharp does well. He says that even while sitting at home watching a soccer match with his family over the weekend, he looks forward to going back to the practice on Monday.
“I love to come to work,” he explains. “I love what I do. And I love helping my patients.”
His partner will often ask why Sharp doesn’t take more time off from work. But he admits he has “more fun being at the office” than being somewhere else.
“As long as I have that attitude, as long as I have my health and enjoy what I’m doing, I’m going to keep doing it.”