40 UNDER 40 HONOREES

Yuliya Salmeron

  • Austin, Texas
  • Specialty

Age:

35

Name of Practice:

Edge Endodontics

Specialty:

Endodontics

Education:

Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine; endodontic specialty, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Long Beach, California


Why They Were Nominated

Arriving in the U.S. from post-Soviet Russia with a limited understanding of English, Dr. Salmeron went from waiting tables at the local diner to graduating at the top of her dental-school class. In 2018, she opened her first private practice, in Austin. “I didn’t know a single dentist and didn’t have any background in business,” she recalls.

Why They Became a Dentist

“As a child I had fillings done with- out anesthesia, and I had my first root canal at 9 or 10 years old— talk about nerve pain! I feared dental offices to death. One day I had to have dental work done here in the U.S. and was amazed that I felt no pain. That made it for me.”

Biggest Challenge

Being different, being relentless. “Because of my ambition, perseverance and hustle, I had a lot of opposition, especially in my last two years of dental school and residency. I used to be bothered by it; now it motivates me to strive for more.”

Most Memorable Patient

A veteran with seven or eight root canals, Type 2 diabetes and poor blood-sugar control. “I almost gave up. I didn’t know if I could heal his teeth or not.” It took a dozen visits over six months before the bone healed around the roots. “Don’t give up,” she says she learned from the experience. “When you feel like this is it, keep going—patience and hard work will win over anything.”

Something People Don’t Know

Dr. Salmeron left Russia at 19 years old with just $500 to her name. “All I had is faith in God and a strong belief that I was born with a big purpose in life.”