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Lou Shuman, DMD, CAGS, CEO, and founder of Cellerant Consulting, and Thais Carter, senior executive consultant at Cellerant Consulting
How Ditron Dental USA identified the gaps in the already robust dental implant market and created a plan to deliver solutions.
With so many companies bending over backward to serve the growing dental implant market, it is easy to survey the competitive landscape and ask: Do we really need another dental implant company? The leadership at Ditron surveyed that same landscape through the eyes of an accomplished oral surgeon and identified the gaps that quantity alone couldn’t fill.
Here is an excerpt of a conversation with Ole Jensen, Ditron founder and chairman of the board, and Mike Stevens, CEO of Ditron Dental USA.
What kind of a company looks at a category like implants and sees itself in a position to make a meaningful contribution? Who is Ditron?
OJ:The who we are and what we want starts with who I am—an oral surgeon who spent most of my career doing alveolar reconstruction with dental implants. People may wonder why I would take on this new direction in my professional life. Improving things for my colleagues and patients is an important challenge to me because I believe we are in the middle of something that isn’t exactly right that we need to fix. The university systems—where I’ve been privileged to spend a lot of time—aren’t where the direction and invention develop; that comes from the commercial side. I realized that to make the impact I wanted, I needed to take a commercial direction.
Ditron is actually a 50-year-old company making precision components worldwide. It serves high-performance car companies such as Aston Martin and Tesla, but it also serves the dental industry, making some of the most precise titanium dental implant components in the world. Over the past 10 years, the Ditron implant, the Ultimate Precision Implant (ULT), has been shown to have better surface performance for osseointegration, more accurate component fit to curtail bacterial microleakage, and advanced thread design to improve primary stability for immediate function. It is the foundation for what we are looking for now as we move forward into the fourth generation of dental implants.
MS:What attracted me to Ditron was precision and quality of manufacturing—it’s 1 of 3 companies in the world that have been contracted by governments to build Critical Aeronautic Control components for fighter jets; there is no margin of error allowed there. We will bring that quality at an appropriate price to dentists, who, in turn, can get it out to more patients.
The other core belief is that the dental implant market is saturated but lacking in innovation. We want to bring dental implants to the next level, through the knowledge of key dentists around the world, as we raise the bar.
An impressive team of dentists has come on board to advise Ditron, including names like Kois, Jansen, Weiss, Tarnow, Margeas, and Maragliano-Munez. What is attracting such thought leaders?
OJ: A person can look at all the dental implant companies and conclude that there is nothing new that can come forward, everything has been settled, and all the dentists are happy and unlikely to change behavior. However, there is an underlying problem many people don’t realize: More than 10% of the implants we place end up with peri-implantitis or long-term infection, sometimes fail, or require further treatment. Some authors believe up to 20% of implants placed today will have significant bone loss.
So I wanted to create a “doctor company.” We didn’t feel doctors have had enough input along the way. At Ditron, we’ve created medical panels in the areas of interest most important for us to address: peri-implantitis, zygomatic implants, digital workflow, and immediate function.
We are prioritizing 2 things that aren’t new but are central to the clinician. First: same-day treatment, and not just for single teeth but also complete arch treatment. As much as possible, we want to be able to do everything the same day, because that is what the patient really wants. Second: thinking about procedures from the top down, planning a case from the crown down, not the implant up. This is a different way of looking at things and directly related to the digitization of dentistry. The dentist and patient aren’t looking “below ground,” they’re thinking about the crown and having their tooth replaced in an ideal way. The planning and thought process should reflect that, and digital workflow will be a crucial theme for Ditron.
We’re very interested in advanced solutions which are of interest to experienced implanting clinicians—grafting, reconstruction, zygomatic implants—and we’re going to be a leader in this area as well.
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