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Fahim Mohi, Willis & Associates Family Dentistry’s Chief Marketing Officer, recently sat down for an interview with Dr. Fabrizio Cena, Lead Dentist for Shenandoah Dental Center. Dr. Cena received his Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree in 2021 from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, graduating in the top 10% of his class.

Fahim: Hi Dr. Cena, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and talk with me!

Dr. Cena: Not a problem at all Fahim!

Fahim: So was dentistry your original dream? If not, then what was your original dream?

Dr. Cena: You see, I didn’t dream big growing up because I grew up on a farm in a little Italian town called Chivasso. My ancestors were lumberjacks who came down in 1456 from the Northern Italian Alps in the Po Valley. When I was 9, we moved to Spain, and this was the biggest cultural change for me. Spain wasn’t a great place for me to foster my work ethic because the part where we were living in, the education standards were unfortunately the lowest. Nevertheless, I excelled in high-school, but it wasn’t until college that I started to dream big. I’ve always had a strong work ethic, and I get it from my dad. he’s 70, and he’s still out and about fixing things; he’s the neighborhood handyman.

Fahim: That is some very interesting familial history you got there doc! Who would you say was your biggest inspiration throughout this journey?

Dr. Cena: Oh by far my brother: He was the first one to go abroad for education and work, and now he has a PhD. So I was good at math at first, and I thought I could become an economist. But I did really well my first year in undergrad, and my brother said that I should become a doctor. My girlfriend at the time, her dad was a dentist and he spoke to me about dentistry and thought that I might do well in it. I looked into it and it turned out that I loved it. To me, dentistry was always a mystery; sort of like a magic. For me, it was awesome to finally see behind the curtains and actually see what the real process was, and I fell in love with it.

Fahim: That’s awesome, he sounds like an absolutely amazing person. So what’s your favorite part of dentistry?

Dr. Cena: I really liked that I was working directly with people, and that I was able to help them with something that nobody else could help with. Dentistry isn’t something you can do as a hobby; it’s not something you can do a little bit of or as a side thing. It can only be done when you dedicate your life to it, and it is only those who end up becoming the best dentists. Whatever I’ve done in my life, I always give 100% of my efforts, and I really like that dentistry fosters that tenet in me. There’s always room for improvement and there’s always something I can grow on or learn in this field.

Fahim: Wonderful, wonderful, so what would you say is your best trait specifically?

Dr. Cena: Well, I am a perfectionist. I make sure that every step is completed with precision. I always make sure that whatever I do on the patient, it is the best possible work that I can do; I don’t cut corners, and my career accomplishments clearly show that. I also pride myself in being able to see patients right away. I always make room in my schedule and make sure to see patients when they’re truly having a problem. If I was having a major dental problem, I wouldn’t want to wait weeks to have it dealt with, I’d want it dealt with the right away.

Fahim: It’s great how you go out of your way for your patients like that doc! Any interesting stories about your dental journey you want to share?

Dr. Cena: A story that ties into dentistry is about the first time I realized how important teeth were. When I was young, and I’m talking 10 years old, my brother, some friends and I go for a bike ride and we end up getting separated. We stopped and waited for him but he never showed, so we realized something was wrong. 20 minutes later, he shows up sobbing, and upon looking closer, we saw that he had chipped his tooth. My father didn’t really care that much about facial aesthetics, so he didn’t do anything to help him. My brother was very self conscious for a very long time, and it took a while for him to fix his tooth. Seeing his confidence change so quickly From getting his tooth fixed made a huge impact on me, and eventually sparked a fire in me that led to my pursuit of dentistry.

Fahim: Thank you so much for you time doc!

Dr. Cena: It was my pleasure Fahim!