10 Questions: William J. Ryan, Pres. & GM of Nobel Biocare; Melker Nilsson, COO of Nobel Biocare

March 21, 2012
Issue 11

01 How did Nobel Biocare first get involved in dental implants?

01 How did Nobel Biocare first get involved in dental implants?

Bill: Nobel Biocare has a 45-year heritage of scientific research and innovation based on the work of Prof. Per-Ingvar Brånemark, the father of modern implantology. In 1982, the US FDA cleared dental implants for use in this country, and what was then called NobelPharma began educating dentists in North America. Today, Nobel Biocare continues to build upon Prof.

Brånemark’s foundation of modern implant dentistry and Matts Andersson’s development of prosthetic and CAD/CAM dentistry with Procera. These categories of safe and effective implants and modern digital dentistry did not exist until Nobel brought it to the market.

02 What trends do you expect from the field of dental implants?

Melker: We see a growing interest in treating the fully edentulous patient. This is the patient Prof. Brånemark focused on early in his research and concept development.

With an aging population and growing edentulism, we have seen an increased interest in providing these patients with rehabilitation. One example of this is the interest in the All-on-4 concept, which is a unique way of placing implants and abutments, such that highly compromised patients can receive a full-arch restoration using only four implants. It’s a safe and cost-effective treatment that is growing in popularity both in the U.S. as well as abroad.

03 How can new procedures like this help grow a practice?

Melker: Many edentulous patients consider themselves treated when they have received their full dentures, though many would welcome other options. The possibility to revisit treatment options with them might renew the interest in implant treatment. A patient with a fixed, implant-supported bridge can regain almost full chewing capability, which will dramatically increase their overall quality of life.

04  What benefits can you bring dentists through recent partnerships?

Bill: Procera used to be very much synonymous with the material itself, known as a “Procera crown.” Today, with partnerships with Ivoclar, Noritake and Vita, basically any material that a doctor or laboratory would like to have we are able to provide through NobelProcera. NobelProcera is now a process more than a product.

05 Is NobelProcera for more than just dental implants?

Bill: NobelProcera also can be used for natural teeth. It allows us to provide the dentist with the complete solution to the problem they are facing. If their lab works with NobelProcera, they always will have access to the latest materials, latest production, most up-to-date technologies and highest precision available. We’re looking at the entire restorative market.

06 What do you do to help clinicians and technicians learn more about dentistry as well as help educate their patients?

Bill: Nobel Biocare offers a broad range of training and educational events, from courses aimed at improving basic restorative skills to more advanced programs for the entire profession. Each year, we touch about 170,000 dentists and technicians through our CE programs. We also offer online training through nobelbiocaretraining.com and in-office training through our NobelVision system and, most important, have substantially increased our investment and support for customers’ study clubs in North America, providing good speakers and education content.

07 What is NobelVision?

Bill: NobelVision is an in-office patient education system that informs patients about news, weather and entertainment while also educating them about the procedures their doctor provides. After office hours, it becomes an on-demand CE accredited learning tool for the practice and, if applicable, the doctor’s referral base. It has been very well received by our doctors as an effective communications tool. Currently, we have more than 1,200 systems in North America.

08 What other ways is Nobel Biocare meeting the ever-changing demands of high-tech clinicians?

Melker: In recognition of the need for on-demand training and resources, we launched Study Club Connect, which creates a professional and social network for study club members and referral practices and also helps reduce time spent managing the study club. We have also developed our own application on iTunes University where a clinician can view procedures and lectures. These types of programs are keeping us connected to our customers, and it’s this connectivity that will help us create new relationships and enhance our relationships with our customers.

09 What types of facilities do you operate in North America?

Bill: In California, we produce more than 10,000 implant parts each day. We recently invested $8 million to fully automate this facility allowing for more efficiency and improved quality. In New Jersey, we produce each individual patient restoration component. Custom robots produce individual abutments, copings and bridges for our customers.

10 What is Nobel Biocare’s legacy?

Melker: NobelPharma and later Nobel Biocare in close cooperation with Prof. Brånemark brought science and documentation into the field. Nobel Biocare of today, even in a rapidly changing marketplace, remains dedicated to the principals that were first expressed by Prof. Brånemark-evidenced based dentistry, documentation and science-all to provide the dental profession and its patients with the best treatment options available.