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Russell Cunningham

From Ranch Life to Oral Surgery

Born in Austin, Russell Cunningham spent his childhood on a small ranch in Round Rock until the age of 10. Rapid growth wasn’t conducive to the ranching lifestyle his family desired, so they moved southwest to a ranch in Dripping Springs. 

Growing up, Cunningham and his brother had limited supervision on the ranch. They spent time riding horses, roping cattle, hunting, fishing, and exploring the great outdoors. “Our parents gave us a lot of autonomy, which I feel is a big part of why I am the person I am today,” says Cunningham. 

Cunningham’s professional journey stems from his father, Barry, who joined Austin Oral Surgery in 1974. Working summers and school holidays at his father’s office, Cunningham knew from an early age that he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. His father instilled a love of the outdoors, hunting, fishing, music, all things wild, and faith in Jesus. Growing up on a ranch comes with a lot of responsibility and hard work. Cunningham feels the work ethic his dad taught him is the most important thing he can pass along to his own daughters.

Cunningham graduated from DSHS and then attended Texas Tech where he was a member of the rodeo team, competing in team roping across the Southwest. This served as a much-needed break from his rigorous pre-dental studies. Cunningham enrolled in the four-year program at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. During his time there, Cunningham met his future wife, Carly, who is an orthodontist. Cunningham pursued an oral and maxillofacial surgery residency, while Carly completed her orthodontic residency. Cunningham returned to Lubbock to attend Texas Tech medical school and completed a year of general surgery internship and did the remainder of his surgery training in Dallas. After six years of residency, Cunningham joined his father's group, Austin Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, while Carly started Cunningham Orthodontics in their hometown of Dripping Springs.

Apart from their work, the Cunningham’s biggest joy is raising their two daughters, Cami, 13, and Stormy, 11. The girls are actively involved in ranch life, including 4H stock showing, team roping, hunting, fishing and creek swimming. The girls' music has gained popularity as they showcase their abilities at local venues. They play various instruments including the guitar, mandolin, piano, harmonica, banjo and drums.

The Cunninghams value their faith and share a strong belief in the values of resilience, independence, and Texas culture in their daughters. They teach their children to use strong eye contact, offering firm handshakes, and to not shy away from hard work or play, even if it results in getting dirt or blisters on their hands.

The Cunninghams consider it a privilege to serve both the community and their patients' orthodontic and oral surgical needs. Cunningham Orthodontics is opening a second location near Belterra to serve both the East and West sides of Dripping Springs.

“I feel so blessed to be able to raise my children in this amazing community that had a hand in raising me,” he says.