Education at Dentsply Sirona World 2022 Las Vegas and in the future

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Education at Dentsply Sirona World 2022 Las Vegas and in the future

Prof. Rainer Seemann, vice president of global clinical research and scientific support at Dentsply Sirona (Photograph: Dentsply Sirona)
Dr Dobrina Mollova, Dental Tribune MEA

By Dr Dobrina Mollova, Dental Tribune MEA

Sun. 23 October 2022


“The Ultimate Experience in Digital Dentistry”, Dentsply Sirona (DS) World 2022 was held in Las Vegas in the US from 15 to 17 September. The event offered extensive, industry-leading clinical education in more than 100 courses in practically every area of dentistry, presented by over 120 expert speakers. In light of this vast programme, Dental Tribune Middle East discussed the company’s educational strategy and research and development approach and DS World’s secret to success with Prof. Rainer Seemann, vice president of global clinical research and scientific support at Dentsply Sirona, during the show.

DS World 2022 is being attended by thousands of dental professionals. Can you share your satisfaction with what Dentsply Sirona has achieved with the event?

We have managed to bring more than 100 speakers to DS World to present 120 or more continuing education events and so on. It’s exciting that we are now all back together again and exchanging our experiences after this long break during the pandemic. We have managed to bring simulcast live surgery on stage, showing augmentation in front of the camera with our OSSIX line of products and using Primeprint’s fully digital workflow, and even had the patient on stage on the second day, giving absolutely great insight. Another thing I would like to mention is that we had sustainability as a topic on the main stage today, and it was really interesting for me to see how interested dentists are in this, and I know what I’m talking about because I was on stage talking about sustainability yesterday. Last but not least, of course, are our product launches, specifically of DS Core and Primescan Connect, which people here saw for the first time, as well as all the other digital solutions that are here. So, I’m totally satisfied and excited that we are back here.

What message has the huge educational programme delivered to dental professionals over these three days? 

If I could reduce it to one message, it would be that the future of dentistry is digital, and what we are showing here is a window into the digital future and a lot of tangible stuff around this. The digital future is based on connecting different devices with each other. What I like is this analogy of connecting because DS World is all about connecting devices, digital workflows and the people around it. We all have to do this together and have to connect to be successful.

The scientific programme, livestreamed sessions, product launches and a trade show—which one of these do you think are the most important for dental professionals at the event? 

I think that this is a great question, but a very difficult question. Do you know the movie Groundhog Day? In it, the main character travels to a small town, where he wakes up every morning to the same day every day, over and over again. It never becomes tomorrow. If I could, I would like to schedule DS World on Groundhog Day because then I wouldn’t have to prioritise. I could wake up and go through all the different events so I wouldn’t have to choose between any of the things going on at DS World. They are all so great and attractive that I would want more time to attend all! I think that the secret sauce of DS World is actually the mix of different educational strengths. It’s not just the science—science is in my heart as a researcher—but it’s also the educational part and the entertainment and networking…. So, if I had to prioritise, I would not just go for pure science or for pure entertainment but mix these for just the right combination.

What can your customers expect from you in the near future regarding research and development in all areas of dentistry?

You’re really talking to a researcher here. My team is responsible for all the clinical evidence we put behind our products. For instance, we usually have around 50 clinical studies ongoing. I think that what dentists expect from us is that our products live up to their promises and that our products are safe, and that is achieved through clinical research. One thing that I’m really proud of is that we are doing this at Dentsply Sirona, especially my team, by partnering with researchers at universities all around the world. When you create a product and then put it into the hands of researchers in the outside world, they compare it with others. That is where the rubber hits road, where the truth comes out. So we send all our products to external researchers to make sure that they really live up to their promises and that they’re really safe. That’s really something that I’m absolutely proud of, because when you collaborate with external partners, and their feedback is the same as your internal research, that’s when you know you have hit the mark and succeeded.

Education is one of the most important aspects of Dentsply Sirona’s philosophy. Continuing professional dental education in different geographical areas is a challenge owing to participants coming from different educational backgrounds and different countries and having different approaches. What is your strategy?

I had the privilege in my previous life at university of working in Saudi Arabia for six months in an educational project run by the ministry of health. So, I know the region. I know that holding an educational course in Saudi Arabia is different from holding one, for instance, in Egypt or in Dubai. This is a problem we also have. I’m not sure that anyone has ever solved it, but our strategy is to have a centralised message for our education and content that is harmonised across the world, but in terms of execution, we rely heavily on our local teams. To offer an effective educational course, my personal opinion is that you need a strong team with clinical knowledge and a team that knows the market on the ground, the wheels of your car, so to speak—being German, I always come up with car examples. Our team in Dubai, for instance, which I think is a very strong team, has the ability to customise what we offer centrally and make that useful for the target groups.

One of our continuing education strategies in the future is to connect with dentists, not on different educational levels, but in different stages of their career. When they come directly out of dental school, they have to first learn simple things, right. Then there is a phase in their career when they are growing their practice and they need completely different support. They need a full curriculum to learn implantology, for instance. Then there is a phase in which they settle down a little bit and it’s more a maintain mode.

Another thing that has just come to mind is that, besides a strong team locally that knows dentistry and the needs of the specific dentists, it’s good to have a strong partner, like we have in your organisation.

Certain continuing education aspects can be centralised and harmonised by presenting them online, but dentists need to touch things. I’m a dentist, so I can say that. We have to have hands-on experience, and that happens locally.

I think that this is the philosophy, which we touched on earlier: this mix of education, entertainment and science is something that is quite attractive. DS World offers a very interesting concept, and I think it’s quite natural that today was a live connection between our other DS World event in Madrid, and you could see the spirit that is there, and this is what we want to carry over into other areas as well. I definitely believe that the model of DS World, if you get the mix right, is a good recipe for success.

Why is so much emphasis placed on entertainment at DS World?

Well, like I think I mentioned already, because we are human beings. Science is in my heart, I can deal with reading heavy stuff and I’m very used to going to scientific conferences and so on, but if you really want to learn, you have to open up, and you have to have a mix—that is how our brain works. I think we all know from school that if you have a good teacher certainly your marks improve.

What is your message to participants?

One message is definitely that, whether we like it or not, the future of dentistry is digital and we have to embrace it. We have to learn to work in a digital way. I think that we as Dentsply Sirona are on a good path and are in a good position to present this. And the other thing is sustainability. My colleague, Dr Steven Mulligan, FDI World Dental Federation Sustainability in Dentistry Task Team Founding Member, who was with me on stage, showed one slide that really impressed me the most of two 50-year-old patients, one who was low maintenance and had almost no caries and nothing else and the other who had amalgam restorations, endodontically treated teeth, implants, dentures and so on, and then he showed the carbon footprint of both patients. In order to compensate for all the energy that went into the restoration of that one patient, you would have to plant a forest, and the other person, who always went to the dentist and underwent preventive treatment and maintenance regularly, just needed four or five treatments or something like that. In other words, like Steven summarised, good dentistry is good for the patient, is good for the practice and is good for the environment. I think that’s a very, very strong message. And this connected with digital dentistry, I think, would be our message.

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