Behind the Business: Dr. Grace Ordóñez

At thirteen, Grace Ordóñez had an accident and fractured one of her front teeth. Devastated, she was taken to see a dentist who aesthetically reconstructed the tooth. As she smiled at her reflection in the mirror, she was in awe to discover that her smile was perfect once again.

“To me, it was like a miracle” she said. “When I saw what they were able to do, and how they could give another person their smile back, it was simply wonderful.”

This was the very moment that she fell in love with dentistry and knew that this was the path that she wanted to take in her life.

Dr. Grace Ordóñez attended The University of Cuenca and quickly made her way to the top of her class. School became a lot more than just studying to pass: it was a growing passion and a way to practice and perfect her developing profession. One year before graduating, she began to work with a dentist who asked her to perform tasks that he was unable to carry out, mainly those concerning endodontics (the study and treatment of dental pulp). At that time, there were no endodontics specialists in Cuenca, but she had been introduced to the subject at university and, under the guidance of a highly-qualified professor, she was soon excelling in the practice.

After receiving her diploma, she opened her own office and proved to be an instant success. She worked in her own office for about 8 years until she was offered the opportunity to travel to the U.S. and work with a friend who was a dentist. As a dental assistant, she learned English and observed the distinct ways that dentists work in contrast to the ones in Ecuador. She was most impacted by the area of customer service.

“In Ecuador” she said, “customer service and punctuality are very poor and there are many imperative aspects like hygiene and contamination prevention that I was not taught in school.”

In January 2012, she resumed her work in Cuenca. She began by offering all dental services, but doesn’t do them all herself.

“If a dentist or any professional does a bit of everything, it’s because he or she is not doing any of them correctly,” she said.

With this in mind, she works with different specialists: a surgeon, periodontist, endodontist, implantologist, TMJ specialist, and so on, to treat her patients according to their individual needs. She is also constantly updating her knowledge and equipment and recently acquired an amalgam removal machine.

When asked what the best part of her job is, Dr Grace Ordóñez says it’s her customers.

“It’s always about the patient going home happy and content with the work that has been done. We have had patients cry tears of joy in my office after seeing their results, especially when they are drastic. Sometimes I cannot even believe how amazing the results are. The tears are contagious.”

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