DALLAS — Visits with Richardson dentist, Dr. Dane Hoang, leave a sweet taste. Her patients – Dax and Daphne – pick their toothpaste flavor of choice: mint.
Dental offices can be daunting, but even with tools hovering, these children adore their pediatric dentist.
Hoang's office is filled with colorful sunglasses, pastel painted walls, games, toys and more. She loves to live with spunk and flavor.
"For us, it's always a fun color, different flavor," Hoang said.
When this dentist isn't working on teeth, she keeps her hands busy.
"I really love dentistry, but my other passion is cooking," said Hoang.
After work, she heads back to her Dallas home, where she crafts her own recipes of Vietnamese dipping sauces called nước chấm. The flavors are a mixture of sweet and savory. The ingredients are colorful and simple, including lemongrass, garlic and more.
"This is like chemistry," said Hoang. "I have my momma's approval, let's just put it that way."
Making nước chấm reminds her of home.
Hoang was born in Quy Nhon, Vietnam. She and her family came to the United States as boat refugees. Dane was 8 years old, but her memories of 1979 are clear.
"I do remember it. I remember it was very crowded and it was just tight space. I couldn't breathe," Hoang said.
Her family made it to Texas, where her parents started over. She always held on to their grit, and she always held on to her home in Vietnam.
"I love to share our culture," said Hoang.
In 2008, after Hoang established herself as a dentist, she traveled back to Vietnam as a doctor for Operation Smile. She has been a volunteer ever since.
"Operation smile is a nonprofit organization that goes around the world and provides free surgery for children who have facial deformities, such as cleft lip and cleft palate," Hoang said.
To Hoang, being a part of Operation Smile wasn't enough. She wanted to do more.
In 2017, she founded a charity with your daughter called Kids 4 Smiles. Her organization works on local projects to help the DFW community, serving people who are homeless, but also supports Operation Smile. To raise money for Kids 4 Smiles, she sells her tasty and colorful nước chấm. It stirs up her story and her culture while giving back to the community.
For Dr. Dane, all this may still not be enough to satisfy her desire to help.
"I call it a side hustle," Hoang said. "I'm always coming up with these projects," she said. "Never give up. Whatever it is, find your passion."