By Amy Schechter

Braces don’t usually conjure up the most positive feelings, until they come off. However, Dr. Matt Ahrens, DMD, MS is sure to put a joyful, healthy, and straight smile on your face. He and wife, Sara, opened Southshore Orthodontics in 2015 to serve the Apollo Beach, Brandon, Gibsonton, Riverview, Ruskin, and Wimauma areas, so they could provide exceptional care in a place they considered home. Dr. Ahrens was raised in Ocala and Sara in Brandon, so they always knew they wanted to serve the community that had given so much to them. They now reside in the SouthShore area with their two young boys, Landon and Brady, and their family business is truly a labor of love.

Aside from the extraordinary care and attention Dr. Ahrens takes with his patients, he and Sara give so much of themselves back to the community both near and far. Before starting a family, Dr. Ahrens leapt at the chance to work with families who couldn’t afford dental care volunteering his time in low income clinics designed to extend preventative care as well as treatment to families who otherwise could not afford the cost. Dr. Ahrens also feels fortunate enough to have been able to take two mission trips to the Dominican Republic where he provided much needed dental care to locals, some of whom had never had access to dental professionals.

Both Matt and Sara hope to one day take many more mission trips when their boys are older, but for now they try their best to enrich the lives of people within the SouthShore community. To that end, Dr. Ahrens is a local Smiles Change Provider. He explains, “This program promotes increased self-esteem and improved oral health for children in need of orthodontic treatment whose families cannot afford the full cost of braces.” He and his family are proud to be part of an organization that has helped over 7,000 children achieve the self-esteem and hope that come from a new smile.

He adds, “I am also passionate about supporting our youth in the SouthShore area through our local schools and the YMCA.” Southshore Orthodontics sponsors local honor roll parties, little league teams, and creates the car line tags for the surrounding elementary schools free of charge.

SouthShore Orthodontics is located off of Big Bend Rd. at 13135 Kings Lake Dr. #103 in Gibsonton, and services Riverview, Gibsonton, Ruskin, Apollo Beach, and Brandon. For more information or to make a consultation, call 815-0080. Visit or visit them on Facebook. For more information on the Smiles Change Lives program or to apply, visit

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