Rodrigo A Lagos DDS MS
In 2020, Dr. Rodrigo A. Lagos, D.D.S., M.S. celebrates 25 years of providing passionate professional care.
By Daniel Vaillancourt
Photography by Ethan Kaminsky
Growing up Chile’s Rancagua — a city south of Santiago — young Rodrigo Lagos wasn’t like other children. “I really enjoyed going to see my dentist,” he recalls. “He had a great office. Fun. Clean. And he was funny!” These early, enjoyable experiences with oral health are what eventually convinced Rodrigo to earn his Doctor of Dental Surgery — with honors — from his native country’s University of Concepción.
After practicing general dentistry for five years, Dr. Lagos became captivated by the specialty of periodontics, which revolves around not only the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum diseases but the planning, placement, and maintenance of dental implants. “I’m fascinated with the importance of the foundation of teeth — the quality of the roots, bones, and ligaments that must be maintained to ensure dental wellbeing,” he says. “These are all things patients don’t routinely see. It’s very abstract for them because it’s all hidden under the gums. My work is about the wonderful relationship between the science and art of dentistry. I help my patients conserve not only their beautiful smile but their overall health.”
Of the 25 international students in his class at the UCLA School of Dentistry, Dr. Lagos was the only one offered a post-graduate research fellowship in the periodontics department, where he participated in an array of trailblazing studies. Once he completed his residency in periodontics at the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry in 2006, Dr. Lagos had to determine where to establish himself. “I feel more Californian than anything else,” he says, explaining his decision to return to the state and join an existing Palm Desert practice as an associate. “I love the free-spirited mentality of people here in California. I love the weather and the proximity to the mountains and the ocean, which are very similar to Chile.”
In 2010, Dr. Lagos — who is married and the father of a son and daughter — purchased the private practice of a retiring periodontist. It has grown exponentially since. The vast majority of his clientele is over age 65, with 70% seeking his expertise for health reasons and 30% soliciting his stellar cosmetic services. “My desire is to be as conservative as possible for my patients,” he says by way of expressing his philosophy. “I’m honest and straightforward. I give my patients all the options not only to inform them but to reduce their fears and protect them, their time, their budget, and — of course — their good teeth. Together, we discuss and find the very best solution. Patients usually start out very fearful, but at the completion of treatment they become raving fans of our office and services. I just wish people had a full-mouth periodontal evaluation sooner. But remember — better late than never. Come see us!”
Rodrigo A. Lagos, D.D.S., M.S.
Diplomate American Board of Periodontology
36945 Cook Street, Suite 101
Palm Desert, CA 92211