Interview: Dr. Nabeel Cajee

“Henry Ford once said, ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.’ 3D Printing has the potential to be more than ‘a faster horse’ for healthcare, it can unlock greater array of procedures and treatment for more individuals in more places than ever before.”

Dr. Nabeel Cajee interview series

Born and raised in Stockton, California, Dr. Nabeel Cajee is a dentist with an interest in advancing implant prosthetics as a clinician and educator.

He is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists and practices in San Joaquin County, California with a focus on surgical & reconstructive procedures. He completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency at Oakland’s Highland Hospital, the San Francisco East Bay’s regional trauma center. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of the Pacific, Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco.

Dr. Cajee loves to share his passion through teaching and mentoring other dentists and dental students. He is a continuing education provider and serves on the faculty of Pacific Dugoni. He is also an Advisory Board Member of Pacific Dugoni’s Continuing Dental Education programs.

Outside of dentistry, Cajee is civically active. He recently served on the Steering Committee of Stockton, California’s Measure M, which passed with 76% of the vote last November, and is set to raise $150 million for public libraries and recreation services in Stockton. Dr. Cajee will be a speaker at #3DHEALS2017.

Q: What is your vision on the intersection of 3D Printing and healthcare?

A: Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” 3D Printing has the potential to be more than ‘a faster horse’ for healthcare, it can unlock greater array of procedures and treatment for more individuals in more places than ever before.

Q: What do you specialize in? What is your passion?

A: I have a single goal for all of my patients — I want them to be able to eat apples at 100 years old. I am a general dentist who focuses on implant dentistry and prosthetics.

Q: What inspired you to do what you do?

A: My grandfather had trouble eating in his old age. Being someone who loved good food, that negatively impacted his quality of life. Today, I am driven to help people like my grandfather eat and live well. New technologies are rapidly improving our ability to help people in my grandfather’s situation — I want to make sure they help the right people in the right way.

Q: What is the biggest potential impact you see 3D printing having on the healthcare industry?

A: Prosthetic dentistry has always been bespoke. 3D printing will do more than decrease the cost of personalized manufacturing; we can reinvent how we provide care as we move past the limitations of current manufacturing.

Q: What challenges do you see arising in implementing 3D printing in healthcare sector in the next 5 years?

A: Costs of entry need to be brought down and for the technology to effectively penetrate the market. Closed systems will stifle creativity and development, we need open systems to effectively implement the technology..

Q: What is the best business lesson you have learned?

A: The greatest oak was once a little nut that held its ground. We need to have ideas and opportunities to motivate us, however success is earned by those who have the grit to stay in the game.

Q: What is the biggest business risk you have taken?

A: I can’t answer this now. Ask me in 5 years.

Q: What crucial skill should people aiming to work in this industry acquire?

A: We need to become more than healthcare professionals — we need to become designers. As dentists and others in the healthcare industry we are trained in industry specific design skills. To translate clinical knowledge to 3D printing involved outcomes, healthcare professionals need to develop general design abilities.

Q: How will accessibility of the technology affect the cost of procedures?

A: Accessibility will drop the cost of providing dental procedures in a number of ways.

One, the decreased cost of personalized manufacturing will drop the cost of individual patient cases.

Two, learning curves to provide complex procedures will be shorten with the aid of 3D imaging and 3D printed surgical guides.

Three, accessibility will expand access to care. With the ability to print prosthetics and instruments if need be, healthcare professionals will be provide more care in more places including mobile operations, rural clinics, and developing countries.

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