"There have been white patients who have entered my office and turned around and left because they found out that I was a black dentist."
But that doesn't happen to Dr. Dallas Pierre anymore. He came to Lufkin almost 40 years ago to fill a void in the black community. Back then, he was the town's only African American dentist.
The most blatant racism he suffered happened a long time ago, but the stigma that he is not as good as other dentists because of his race is still clear. He said his experience, patient load, and education proves otherwise.
"People need to be educated to the fact that blacks are getting the same education that the whites are getting," said Dr. Pierre.
Most of Dr. Pierre's patients are regulars who have been sitting in his chair for years, but Farris Deary is a first-timer.
"This one particular lady, she's 84, and his work is still holding up," said Deary. "He worked in her mouth years ago and he comes so highly recommended to me. This is my first visit, but I am very pleased."
After 38 years in private practice, Dr. Pierre doesn't see much discrimination these days, but he is still Lufkin's only black dentist.