Valrico native Dr. Caroline Dau graduated from Newsome High School and was eager to work in her hometown after going away for college.

By Lily Belcher

In January, Newsome High School graduate Dr. Caroline Dau started working for local dentist Bridges Dental in Valrico. Dau was raised in Valrico and attended Randall Middle School before starting at Newsome. She left Florida to attend the University of Notre Dame, where she majored in biology, and got her Doctorate in Dental Science at the University of California. She was eager to return to Florida and excited to serve her hometown community as a dentist.

Dau first discovered her interest in science by watching Bill Nye the Science Guy on PBS. She originally considered going into research, but it lacked the human interaction she enjoyed in dentistry.

“I really love being a dentist,” said Dau. “It brings me great satisfaction to be able to establish relationships with my patients and provide them with a service to improve their overall health and self-confidence.”

Dau described the dedication Bridges Dental has to both their customers and employees. Dr. Laura Bridges, who owns the practice, is a working mom, like Dau, and prioritizes a healthy work-life balance in the office. Dau’s work-life balance is especially important because she has two toddlers with her husband, Brandon Waracksa, who is an economics teacher at Durant High School.

Bridges was also raised in Valrico and attended Bloomingdale High School. Bridges wanted to continue to work in her hometown so she can serve her own community.

“You know how you can walk into a place and feel that everyone is happy to be there? I felt that way when I walked into Bridges Dental, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that environment,” said Dau.

Dau has had many patients that have been hesitant and scared to go to the dentist because of a bad experience they have had in the past. She said that their fear is usually eased during their first appointment and that she treats each patient how she would treat one of her own family members.

“It is not easy to gain someone’s trust and it isn’t something that I take lightly,” she said.
For more information on Bridges Dental, visit its website or contact 654-3399 or

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