HARLINGEN — Early on, Dr. Gary M. Schwarz was originally inspired to become a farmer like his father.
However, after his parents recommended he become a doctor or a dentist because of his love for biology, he became inspired to pursue a career in dentistry and oral surgery.
Schwarz grew up in the Valley and now has offices in Brownsville, Harlingen, Weslaco and McAllen.
To him, being a dentist and oral surgeon is a very rewarding career that helps make a difference in people’s lives.
On Sept. 17, Schwarz was selected as the 2020 Texas Dentist of the Year at the Texas Academy Awards celebration.
“Upon being announced the 2020 Texas Dentist of the Year, I am so shocked and I am so touched,” Schwarz stated. “I want to extend my thanks to the Rio Grande Valley Dental Society, Rio Grande Valley AGD, Rio Grande Valley Study Club and the Academy of General Dentistry. Most importantly, thank you to my staff, my beautiful wife and thank God. God is good.”
According to a press release from the Texas Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), this award is considered the most prestigious honor a Texas dentist can earn.
He was nominated by the Rio Grande Valley AGD and chosen from among 14 nominees by a panel of judges.
Nominations are received from local components of the Texas AGD and district dental societies from all areas of Texas.
The winner is determined based on contributions to dentistry, service to the community, dedication to principles of continuing education and other activities that indicate character and excellence.
The Texas AGD selects a dentist every year to honor as the Texas Dentist of the Year.
According to the press release, judges believed two dentists were deserving of the award this year and presented it to both Schwarz and Dr. C. Roger Macias of San Antonio.
“Schwarz has been deeply involved in organized dentistry for as long as he has been in practice and has served on all levels — local, statewide and national,” the press release states.
Schwarz received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry in 1978.
Early in his career, Schwarz met and studied with Dr. P.I. Brannemark.
According to the press release, this opportunity allowed Schwarz to open an implant center and begin mentoring dentists by providing a platform for regular and frequent continuing education programs.
“From the time he first started his practice, Schwarz’s mission has always been to take good care of anyone who came through the door,” the press release states.
According to the press release, Schwarz has been profoundly influenced by his mentor, Dr. D. Lamar Byrd who believed oral surgery was an essential service to the community, and with that came added responsibility.
“To this day, I believe it was sage advice and I have always conducted my practice with this core ethic in mind,” Schwarz stated.
Most recently, he served as president of the Rio Grande Valley AGD and will be president-elect for the Rio Grande Valley Dental Society in 2021.
“I just love my work. I’m good at it and make a difference in people’s lives,” Schwarz said. “It makes a good living for myself and my family. It’s all around a wonderful profession.”