Live WebinarLet’s talk truly minimal invasive
23 Jan 2020, 02:00 PM Dubai
Dr. Miona Jovanovic
In this interview, conducted at Dentsply Sirona World 2019 in October, Dr Dobrina Mollova, Dental Tribune Middle East & Africa (DTMEA), speaks with Don Casey, CEO of Dentsply Sirona.
Dentsply Sirona World 2019 is presented as the ultimate dental meeting. What makes this event the ultimate dental meeting?
We believe that Dentsply Sirona World is the ultimate dental meeting because it combines significant clinical education and hands-on opportunity to work with products right after completion of that clinical education. We have learned that, if dental professionals are going to invest time with us, we want them to interact with each other in an environment in which they can have some fun. So, whether it’s the Las Vegas location or the entertainment, we are giving them an opportunity to spend three days away from their practice to learn how to improve their practice, learn about new technology and equipment, and then to have some fun. It’s the ultimate dental meeting because of the uniqueness of the show—it’s not a conference, it’s not a trade show, it’s a combination of the two built around what they need. For Dentsply Sirona, it is rare to have an opportunity to talk to thousands of customers. We have close to 600 employees here talking to dental professionals every single day and that helps us to gain insight into what they are thinking. Thus, while we would like every dentist in the US to think of this as the ultimate dental meeting, it is also the ultimate dental meeting for us because of the amount of feedback we get from our customers.
Dentsply Sirona World 2019 attendees are dental professionals who truly care about their practices and businesses, but more importantly, about the health and satisfaction of their patients. How does Dentsply Sirona monitor patients’ satisfaction, and what is the future of oral health in your opinion?
If you look at the evolution in dentistry over the last several years, there has been a rapid growth in the amount of money going into aesthetic treatment, whether it’s clear aligners, implants, veneers or other cosmetically oriented products, and as a result, many dentists have been pursuing that. In many cases, the companies advertising those products almost serve as fuel for more rapid growth. This requires Dentsply Sirona to reconsider our traditional focus, so that over time we will have to commit to helping our dentists reach patients in an efficient manner. I don’t think we’ll ever be the type of company that is driven by patient advertising. I think our role is to help the dentist innovate and deliver great patient care, but part of our commitment to serving dentists well is our ability to help them manage their business in a space that is becoming increasingly customer-driven.
Dentsply Sirona employs 15,000 people globally who focus every day on research, innovation and the manufacture of high-quality equipment and consumables. You literally bring new products to the marketplace every day. How do you manage such a large portfolio of products, and how do you follow up with your customers on their feedback on new launches?
I’m always thinking about ways to reach the dental professional and to reach our people so that they can come up with great products and think about the product and the end customer right from the start. Firstly, we’ve been working hard to determine a new purpose and at present that purpose is for all of us at Dentsply Sirona to wake up every morning with the focus on serving the dental professional and providing him or her with every tool he or she needs to deliver great oral health and give patients their smiles back. And, what we have found is that, whether you’re in manufacturing in Bensheim in Germany or in our commercial team in Dubai or in manufacturing in Japan, all over the world, people are inspired by the opportunity to help their father, their mother, their brother, their sister, their kids. Thus, we start with a purpose first. Secondly, and this is very interesting, the single biggest commonality in every product at Dentsply Sirona is that it has been developed in conjunction with key opinion leaders. There have always been key opinion leaders who have served an incredibly foundational role in our product development. When we develop a new product, it is with the helpful guidance of a lot of dental professionals. We trust that we have motivated, excited people delivering great products that the key opinion leaders have helped us shape. And we think we have the best worldwide commercial organisation. We can commercialise products in over a hundred countries as rapidly as we can get registration. So, we believe we are a unique company in the dental environment.
Education is one of the most important aspects of the Dentsply Sirona life and philosophy. The company is the most important and largest supporter of CAPP and the CAPP Dental Training Institute in Dubai. Together, we have trained more than 65,000 dental professionals over the past 15 years through conferences and clinical educational programmes. What do you think is important for sustaining this kind of collaboration, and what is your advice for the future? What is your strategy for dental education in the short and long term, especially in the Middle East?
I am still new to dentistry after 18months. The thing that is very surprising to me is how quickly dental professionals get into habits and in some areas therefore adopt technology slower compared with other medical professions. And one of the commitments that I want Dentsply Sirona to make is that we will stand behind people who can help advance the profession. If we can do that synergistically with a partner, that would be better for us because if both parties can invest it means our reach can be amplified, so I am highly supportive of collaborative efforts in trying to reach dental professionals. In a case of a place like Dubai, we may partner with CAPP and another manufacturer to create an even bigger event that would make it worthwhile to get a larger numbers of dentists there. Because I believe our products are the best in the market, I also believe our products are going to help general dentists to perform specialist procedures. I believe that, if we build the best products and if people become educated in their use, we will win. So, let’s educate and let’s press for it. Last year, we had over 430,000 dental professionals, in one year, take one of 12,000 courses we did around the world. So, if we could double that, say, in five years, and if we could do that together with partners, I think that would be very important.
Digital technologies are developing at an unprecedented rate. CAPP is the founder of the CAD/CAM and Digital Dentistry Conference, a world first, in Dubai (the first edition was in 2005). Next year, we will be celebrating the 20th global edition (in Dubai and Singapore) during Expo 2020 in Dubai. CAPP is the official partner of Expo 2020, and we expect thousands of dental professionals to attend the event. How do you see and what do you expect from Dentsply Sirona’s participation in this event?
If we were on a journey of a 1,000 km in digital, we are still at the beginning. We’re very, very early. My children’s generation—I have three daughters aged 31, 30 and 25—don’t know what it takes to own a car, they use Uber; they don’t know what a record was, their music is all digital. I believe that that group coming into dentistry is going to want dentistry to function in the same way that they operate everything in their lives. So, the demand for digital technology will be huge. For us as a manufacturer, digital is transformative; however, we have to start thinking about things differently to the way we think today. We have always thought, here’s the product and here’s the software we need to enable the product. I think that is going to change to: here’s the products, here’s the software that works together, collaboratively, with the products, so that if you take an image and you take a digital impression, you should be able to seamlessly put the two together and put that into a set of easy-to-use treatment protocols. We could provide the algorithms, or the dentist could do all that work, if he or she wanted to—the choice would be his or hers. I think that, within the next three to five years, the advances we have seen elsewhere will reach dentistry regarding integrated, in-the-cloud, easy-to-use data and regarding how we retrieve the data and use the data generated, because artificial intelligence will be a really important part of the treatment planning. There are things that we don’t even understand yet. For instance, I was trained on how to use the CEREC Omnicam and I’m not a skilled dentist, but it used to take me about 5 minutes to do a full arch and I can now do a full arch in under a minute using Primescan.
I don’t think we have any idea of what it’s going to mean to follow a patient from age 8 to age 50 with scans every year. What will that mean and how are we going to think about that? To my mind, the plethora of data that will be generated is going to create whole new fields, whole new opportunities in areas that will allow us to provide the patient with better care.
Dentsply Sirona appreciates the importance of Expo 2020. We will make sure that we are there, and we will be prominent and give you the support you need.
How important is the Middle Eastern market for Dentsply Sirona, and what are your expectations for it for the near future in terms of business opportunities and dental education?
The Middle East market has been and will always be a focus market for us, we are investing here since 2005 on setting our team structure. In 2016 we moved in to our new showroom and training facility in Dubai which we aim that it will be a new gate of education to the dental Technicians and Dental professionals in the region. We also have our Riyadh – KSA Showroom fully active and soon in early 2020 we are opening our new showroom in Cairo – Egypt. Education is one of our main goals at Dentsply Sirona and enriching the industry with the appropriate knowledge is a target which we are always focusing on.
Our full dental solution portfolio allows us flexibly to look into a broad, bright future for business opportunities in the Middle east market and we are planning to grow our business there with the cooperation of our partners.