What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like/your morning routine?
I recently started a new routine where I wake up, get a quick shower with really cold water at the end, facial cleanser, hyaluronic serum and face cream from Dr. Barbara Sturm, brush my teeth (of course) and hit the gym. I was never a morning person but after having two kids I’ve been forced to become one. So, now that I crossed the 40’s border I have tried to arrange some time to take care of myself before I take Diego and Bruno to school.
Did you always know you would go into dentistry, and do you feel drawn to the creative side of the business?
In fact, I am a frustrated architect. When I had to choose what to study, I debated back and forth between Architecture and Dentistry, and in the end went for the latter because I knew the profession very well from my father, who is also a dentist. However, during my first years in the profession I didn’t really enjoy the job, and I considered redirecting my professional life, always with that artistic and creative part that I liked from Architecture in mind, something that I would miss in Dentistry. Then I decided to get into Aesthetic and Cosmetic Dentistry, and that changed my life by finding the passion in “creating” beautiful smiles for people. As close as it gets to architecture I would say.
What is the DNA of the brand at Apa Aesthetic and how does this translate into the work you do?
I would say customisation is the word that best describes what we do here. We keep our patients’ desires as our main focus, listening to what they want to achieve, considering many aspects like their personalities, their aesthetics, their lifestyles, in order to craft something that adapts to that specific person in a very efficient, natural and predictable manner. That translates into being always aware of the latest techniques to try to deliver the best experience and treatments possible, but also by becoming almost obsessed with making sure that the whole team is always on top of every step of the process, maintaining the highest standards of quality in service and hospitality.
How challenging is it to always stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new techniques and what would you say is your niche?
It is very demanding to stay up-to-date in our specific field which is Aesthetic and Cosmetic Dentistry, mostly for the same reason that is affecting the rest of the professions in the world: the fast pace of technology evolution. There is this huge trend in our profession called Digital Dentistry, which means applying digital tools in all the steps of the process. Even though we are using some digital tools for some parts of the process of getting a smile makeover, having a complete digital workflow cannot achieve the same quality and natural appearance on the final result, at least not today. And that is the difficult part, maintaining a traditional technique to deliver the most natural results when the whole dental world is moving towards that digital approach just because it is easier and financially more accessible. We still prefer to aim for the best outcome possible while we keep researching and learning just in case we find a better way to do things.
What are the harmful effects of overengineering a smile and what can be done to natural teeth to achieve a more perfect result?
Any single act or treatment in your mouth will have a long-term consequence. The key is to understand when it is really indicated to perform that specific treatment based on proper evaluation and diagnosis, considering the final goal for that specific person. And once it has been decided that it is indicated to perform that specific treatment, then make sure that it is done adequately. Unfortunately, that does not happen all the time. We see a lot of revision cases, because patients are not happy with the aesthetic outcome but even worse, because they have created some gum issues or infections that will overcomplicate the case. My suggestion is, if you are considering having a more perfect smile, find a good professional that can show you cases similar to yours but also someone that can give you several options, starting from the most conservative, like teeth whitening or aligners, to a more invasive alternative, always depending on what you want to achieve.
What should we be doing daily to optimize our smile?
Even though people focus on teeth, gums play an incredibly important role in your smile aesthetics. Therefore, maintaining healthy gums by proper tooth brushing, flossing and periodic professional cleanings (every 4 to 6 months) will give you a great foundation for an enhanced smile. Remember that health means beauty to our brains. Thus, healthy gums will always give you an improved and fresh appearance. What have been the most challenging or rewarding aspects to date? I would say when I decided to quit my job and leave my career and family behind to move to the US to become an NYU Aesthetics Postgraduate dentist. That decision not only brought me where I am today, but also made me grow so much professionally and personally by just leaving my comfort zone and discovering a whole new world of possibilities. I even met my wife in New York, so it was lifechanging.
How do you approach challenges?
I have always enjoyed competing, it makes me feel alive. And a challenge is a bit of a competition, and as a result. it feels more like a game to me. And that’s how I see a challenge, more as a goal than a problem, so I get to enjoy it by looking at it, face to face, and giving my best to overcome that challenge.
How important is psychology in the work you do?
It is everything!! You have to be empathetic, be in their skin, you have to be able to read people to get to understand the motivation behind patients coming to the clinic, but also to personalize the way you handle them. Some patients need extra care and time, and some others want things straight to the point efficiently. Psychology plays an important role in our profession, since we have to connect with our patients to be able to achieve a personal result. How has social media supported scaling the business? It has been a great platform to reach people all around the globe. We have used it mostly as a portfolio and educational platform for patients, letting them see our style and vision when we are designing a smile, but also informing them about how things need to be done in order to get the most natural and yet functional results. Great tool for our worldwide expansion.
Have you had any mentors and if so, what advice did they impart?
My father has been my biggest inspiration, not only as a dentist, but also as a person. He was the one helping me taking my first steps in dentistry, but more importantly, he showed me how important it is to care about people, to be ethical, respectful and to treat them with integrity. And of course, Michael Apa, who opened my
eyes to a new way of understanding dentistry. A real inspiration that always has interesting inputs, even when we disagree.
What advice would you give your younger self?
There is time for everything, enjoy the moment!
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