Dr. Alfred dela Cruz: Helping Hands
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SAN RAMON — When asked how he came to be a dentist, Dr. Alfred dela Cruz cites the influence of a family member. “My uncle was a dentist, and he helped me and my sisters with dental work and braces,” he remembers. “I thought it was neat how he was able to help people through his work. Plus, I really liked working with my hands and building things like model cars and airplanes, so it just seemed like a good career for me to pursue.”
After he graduated dental school, Dr. dela Cruz began practicing professionally in 2000. Fourteen years later, he says his favorite part of his job is providing a comfortable experience for patients with anxiety. “Often, I’ll get patients that have a fear of being in the dentist’s chair, whether due to bad past experiences or other reasons. In most cases, after I’ve worked on their teeth, they’re amazed at how comfortable it was. I find it very satisfying to give people a new perspective of how easy and pain-free dental work can be.”
Originally from the Philippines, Alfred came to the United States at the age of four, where he spent his childhood living in and around San Francisco before eventually settling in Castro Valley. Overall, he regards the Bay Area as an ideal location for a dental professional. “I think most people here have a proper concern about the health and appearance of their teeth, and they’re willing to invest in aesthetic improvements, which makes my job all the more enjoyable.”
Outside of work, most of Dr. dela Cruz’s time is devoted to his family, which consists of his wife, Leslie, and their three sons. “Raising three young boys, we have our hands full to say the least, so we try to keep them as active as possible,” he says. “A couple of weeks ago, for instance, we took them to Muir Woods to see the giant redwoods and sequoias, which was a lot of fun.” When he gets some time to himself, Alfred likes to exercise his love of hands-on work by performing automotive maintenance. “I maintain my own cars, including my 1963 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, which I’m currently restoring.”
In his life and career, Dr. dela Cruz espouses the importance of honesty. “I think being honest is at the core of my professional philosophy,” he affirms. “I always make sure to tell my patients what their options are—even if they request a more expensive treatment upfront, I’ll let them know if there’s a cheaper alternative. While I may end up making less of a profit, that fact that I’m able to sleep peacefully at night is priceless.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Dr. dela Cruz says he’d take a trip to a tropical locale. “I’d probably go to the Caribbean and soak up some sunshine.” However, he says he’d also invest some time toward charity work. “For the last couple of years, I’ve been going to the Philippines on dental missions and providing free dental work for those who can’t afford it. That’s something I’d definitely like to do more of in retirement.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Do you have a favorite sports team?
A: I’m a diehard fan of the San Francisco 49ers, the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors.
Q: What was your first car?
A: Actually, it was the ’63 Karmann Ghia that I’m restoring right now.
Q: What’s your favorite type of food?
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: “A Few Good Men.”
Q: Do you collect anything?
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A: Autographed baseballs. I have one signed by Willie Mays, but my favorite is the one signed by Buster Posey.