Dr. Cristian Abad
The Miracles of Digital Dentistry
By Nick Vasey
Photographs by Luis Nieto, Nathalie Duffau, and Cristian Abad Dental Center
Who doesn’t love to see a beautiful smile? Rightly or wrongly, the outcomes of many of our critical social interactions are predicated on these kinds of seemingly incidental or trivial signals, cues, body language, aesthetic, image, perception, etc.
We all know it makes us feel good when someone gives us a genuinely beautiful smile. We get a little dopamine hit, and we’re more likely to treat that person or others around us at that time in a better, more positive, more uplifting way. This “pay it forward” mood uptick then continues into a positive feedback loop. Who knows where it ends or even if it ends! “A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon…”
Such is the power of a great smile!
One man who knows this very well is the remarkable Dr. Cristian Abad. Dr. Abad is the principal of Cristian Abad Dental Center which is comprised of a dedicated team of eight dental professionals who utilize the very apex of modern dental technology to help their clients quickly achieve their treatment goals.
Dr. Abad is also a full professor with the Department of Dentistry at the University of Cuenca and, during the last 13 years, has specialized in the areas of prosthodontic and restorative dentistry. Having originally graduated in Cuenca with honours, Dr. Abad went on to study at University of Chile, San Martín University (Colombia), University of Kentucky (US), and Martin Luther King (Germany) among other academically esteemed global institutions.
The team all work under his expert guidance whereby Dr. Abad essentially coordinates the activities and input from his various specialist team members and thereafter carefully monitors direction and progress to attain the best possible results for any given client situation.
Dr. Abad is the only Ph.D. prosthodontic dentist in Cuenca (a doctorate earned at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain), and as noted above, has a fascinatingly diverse professional background plus an outstanding personal reputation. This compelling combination has inspired many Cuencanos and foreigners to place their trust in the abilities of him and his team.
Dr. Abad’s stated goal is to blend the very best of this cutting-edge technology with a level of expert diagnosis and personalized care which results in his clinic attaining truly world-class results for their clients. His professionalism and enthusiasm for his subject is obvious and kind of contagious! It comes as no real surprise to learn his clinic is operating at a level equal to the very best on the global stage.
Until penning this piece, I had never even heard of “digital dentistry.” Who knew such a thing existed? There is even a Digital Dentistry Society! I was curious. What exactly is it, and why is it so cool? What kinds of technological “miracles” are being wrought?
To answer this, we have to go back to Spain.
As previously mentioned, Dr. Abad earned his doctorate in Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and worked as teacher in the Master of New Technologies for Restorative Dentistry, (which also happens to be a world-leader in “digital dentistry”). It was there that he eventually became fascinated with the technology and, subsequently, earned his stripes over a period of more than nine years.
So what is digital dentistry?
Digital dentistry is essentially the melding of the practice of dentistry with the amazing technological advances in not only scanning techniques and accuracy but in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM). When combined for the purposes of highly advanced dental services, the acronym becomes CAD-CAM.
Dr. Abad explains with some passion how these advances have eliminated many processes and tasks which were previously manual, laborious, time-consuming, and potentially imprecise. Even now, the digital dentistry technology is bounding ahead at an almost unbelievable rate. Intra-oral, desktop and face scanners, and cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) software for CAD-CAM processes are combining with fabrication procedures like milling and 3D printing to completely revolutionize the way he and his clinic treat their patients.
In short, it would appear that digital dentistry is very much the future of dentistry. Basically, it is the “Starship Enterprise” compared to traditional dentistry’s “Space Shuttle.”
So, apart from more exacting standards, much quicker processing, and better results, what other advantages are there?
Well, there are the added advantages of the technology resulting in no off-site processing being necessary. In the old days, one might take a mold of the crown that’s needed, send it offsite to a lab for it to be made, then be called back some weeks later for the crown to be fitted. No more! Dr. Abad’s digital dentistry technology (CAD-CAM) can both design and quickly manufacture the required implants and dental prostheses on-site!
Needless to say this results in turnarounds within a week, sometimes even the next day, depending on client/doctor schedules and availability. Long story short from a client perspective, the process from end-to-end, for whatever is necessary, is much better defined, much shorter than ever before and the results are demonstrably better than has been possible in the past.
The advent of these kinds of technological advances has actually resulted in a very sweet dichotomy, beneficial to both practitioner and client. The extra efficiency afforded by the technology frees up extra time to provide a more personalized client service. In other words--old-fashioned patient care.
For such vital and technical work, another always-important consideration for foreigners (especially North Americans), is the language issue. No problems here. Dr. Abad is fluent in English as are all his staff/team.
In many of our countries of origin, we have often become accustomed to the concept of “personal service.” Personal bankers, personal trainers, etc. After much discussion with Dr. Abad, I feel this is probably the most apt analogy possible for the kind of end-to-end dental service he offers his clients whether they are Ecuadorian or foreign.
Dr. Abad strives to give a very personalized and tailored experience to his clients and has instilled the value and ethic of this approach into his team members. He goes out of his way to ensure the client understands everything that is important about their case, the options available to them, how long treatment will take, and how much it will cost.
This attitude, professionalism, and attention to detail is reflected in Dr. Abad’s clinic having treated approximately 6,000 clients, half of whom he estimates were foreigners.
Enter this URL to view a short video in which he explains and demonstrates some of the things covered in this article: https://youtu.be/fiEeGA8UpLA. Please note that even this impressive video is now dated. Dr. Abad’s clinic has kept pace with technological change since then and is as cutting-edge as ever.
As I walk away from his ultra-modern offices and clinic, situated conveniently in Monte Sinai Hospital, it occurs to me that we are all very lucky to have such dedicated and bilingual medical/dental professionals available to us here in Cuenca.