Form and a lot of function
How ambient technologies can make your dentistry better.
Addressing the current needs of the practice
The value-added additional features are built with the specific, current needs of practices in mind.
“That’s the beauty of buying from a dental manufacturer,” Treon says, “because we are looking at things that are very profession-specific to what dental facilities need. We’re always looking at things like technology. We look at technology integration. We integrate things like powered USB hubs, CPU cooling fans, monitor mounts—anything that helps support the integration of cameras and sensors and any type of computer hardware. We also pre-wire electrical outlets and other utility-related features that go into work cabinetry that you aren’t going to get from a local millwork company. We try to take in specific needs. We also try to accommodate, from a storage standpoint, those types of equipment that are going to be needed in the future. I always view the treatment stations as the technology hub. Because that’s where all the hardware is being stored—the monitor mounts, the USB equipment. So that cabinet, in particular, needs to be set up to accommodate and integrate that type of equipment.”
How are these products created? Do manufacturers see a need or do they anticipate needs? It comes down to extensive research.
“We spend a lot of time out in the field, going to dental offices and dental facilities,” Treon says. “We do conduct some interviews, but it really is more about observing how the staff is operating, how they’re using their equipment, how they’re interacting with their equipment, the workflow of the office. Because a lot of times it’s the unmet needs or the unseen needs that are the biggest ones. I think a lot of times we all get caught up in how we do it, and I think sometimes coming in and watching and observing how you do it gives you the greatest type of information.”
The product development phase may take several years before a product comes to market.
“Our projects are always looking into the future, from three to five years,” Treon says. “So I guess you can say, yes, we always look to [solve] the customers’ needs and problems, and it has to tie back to that, otherwise there’s no sense in doing it. But at the same time, we do have to anticipate for the future, realizing there are going to be new technologies, there are going to be new things in the market that we have to accommodate. Cabinetry, basically, surrounds your staff, so it has to be able to accommodate all those things that are needed from the storage to technology to infection control, and it’s proper ergonomics, too. So there are a lot of things that we look at when it comes to cabinetry.”
“Dentsply Sirona is currently adopting a more private approach to cabinetry and operatory design, allowing for a ‘centralized distribution model’ for procedural consumables into dental operatories,” explains Stephane Leduc, product marketing manager, treatment centers, cabinetry & instruments at Dentsply Sirona. “For example, we provide a central, minimal design platform for our cabinets so that each practitioner can add-on, configure and update however and whenever they want via that central location. We feel that these minimally-designed operatory components promote and provide not only a less cluttered environment, but a serene and peaceful atmosphere so the dentist can further concentrate on his work and patient, as opposed to concentrating on his equipment. With most procedural functions being integrated into the treatment centers, there is minimal need for peripheral equipment storage, optimizing the whole office workflow. Moreover, this blank sort of canvas stimulates individual creativity and tailored preferences; the look and feel of each operatory can be easily updated without having to completely reconfigure.”
While products manufactured specifically for dental practices can seem costly, Treon says practices get what they pay for.
“I don’t want to speak for my fellow competitors in the market, but we probably always tell you that the local cabinet maker, or sometimes a contractor, becomes our biggest competitor if you don’t realize the value a what dental manufacturer cabinetry can bring to the game,” she says.
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