With a background in dentistry, academics and now the corporate world, Dr. Teresa A. Dolan has gone at dentistry from all angles over the years. Now she’s playing a pivotal role in the industry for both clinicians and patients alike, and putting that vast experience to work.
As the vice president and chief clinical officer at Dentsply Sirona, she leads the global Clinical Affairs function responsible for the company’s strategic direction. In this role, Dr. Dolan oversees professional education activities in accordance with ADA CERP standards and guidelines. On top of that, she also supports the unique clinical initiatives and strategies of each Dentsply Sirona business unit.
Dr. Dolan sat down with Dental Products Report at the Greater New York Dental Meeting on December 2 to discuss the company’s recent launches in intraoral scanning, intraoral sensors and Dentsply Sirona’s family of 2D/3D and
CBCT imaging solutions. She also described the integral role education and the company’s teaching centers has on ensuring clinicians not only make strong choices on purchasing products and technologies but on how best to utilize such to the best of its abilities.
“As a former dean, I can say it’s often difficult for schools to adopt new technology because of the costs. I’m very proud of Dentsply Sirona that we really have provided programs to schools, not just supporting them to purchase or give them assistance to adopt the technology, but also the education so that the faculty learn how to use the technology as well,” says Dr. Dolan, who prior to joining Dentsply Sirona in 2013 worked with the University of Florida College of Dentistry serving as both a professor and dean.
“That’s the most important thing. Not just to own the equipment but to have the faculty who are comfortable using it and then able to teach students how to use it,” she adds.
In her latest role, Dr. Dolan studies trends in her effort to help Dentsply Sirona help clinicians deliver the best possible care. The company, which is credited with bringing CAD/CAM single-day restorations to dentistry three decades ago, offers a family of top-notch technologies, some of which may not be for every dentist. That’s why Denstply Sirona offers plenty of flexibility when it comes to things like digital imaging solutions and intraoral scanning for both in-house and lab restorations.
“It’s our goal to deliver integrated solutions,” she says. “Making it intuitive is our goal. Not everyone wants to do an image acquisition and mill a crown right in their office. Some do, and it’s a spectacular service to their patients. But if they prefer to acquire an image and send it to a lab, we’re also developing very innovative lab products.”
With CEREC technology, clinicians today can use Dentsply Sirona’s scanners-Primescan is the latest version but many doctors are still using the company’s Omnicam with great results-to either handle the milling in-office or to send out to a lab. “I give a lot of credit to our lab R&D team,” Dr. Dolan says. “They’re working a lot with our digital team to ensure that those workflows are seamless and available and give our customers a choice of how they want to organize their office.”
The day after sitting down with Dental Products Report, Dr. Dolan and Dentsply Sirona’s Corporate PR Manager Anna Bruns hosted a group of media members on a tour of the company’s booth at the Javits Center in New York, followed by a trip to a high-tech practice in Manhattan that is utilizing all types of technology, and finally a tour of the company’s Long Island City sensor manufacturing facility where all of the Schick intraoral sensors are carefully constructed and tested.
“I look for trends in dentistry and opportunities, and what those trends mean for a company like ours,” says Dr. Dolan, who took over in her current role from friend and longtime colleague Linda C. Niessen DMD, MPH. “I’m happy to say I lead the clinical affairs team and in each of our businesses and product groups, we have clinical advisors and clinical leaders who have much deeper expertise. Whether talking about our restorative materials or our lab materials or our digital products, we have lots of depth of talent in each of those.”
One emphasis for Dentsply Sirona as a company is to make sure each of its technologies work well with one another and that their use and their integration is intuitive. That means while Dr. Dolan is tracking global trends, she’s also looking at how these developments and different products can connect and support each other.
“This is really important especially when you think about a product like Primescan, it’s not just an incredible scanning technology, but how does it connect to the AI, the intelligence built into the crown design for example,” she says. “Or how we can work that into implant planning or our imaging technology…so really trying to find opportunities to connect and to find solutions that can be used in the dental office.”
A perfect example of taking advantage of everything available to today’s dentists was showcased at Gallery 57 Dental, the practice founded by Dr. Andrew Koenigsberg. The talented team of dentists at the New York City practice also includes Dr. Robert Rawdin, who like Dr. Koenigsberg, also has a daughter dentist helping the practice thrive.
Dr. Koenigsberg and his team take advantage of a pair of Primescan scanners, a Solea laser, CEREC CAD/CAM same-dentisry with a lab in-house, and a CBCT imaging system that helps with implant planning and a wide array of dental procedures.
“With this imaging and implant planning capabilities, this has really enabled a lot of clinicians who might have been concerned or worried about placing implants in their practice, to adopt that into their practice,” Dr. Dolan said. “Now they have much better tools so they can place implants much more accurately and feel more comfortable that their patient is going to have a good restorative outcome because they’re placed more properly.
“All of those capabilities are phenomenal. [They] certainly weren’t available when I was in dental school but it’s really revolutionizing the practice of dentistry and types of services that can be available to patients now.”
Students and younger dentists-not to mention patients-have higher expectations these days when it comes to utilizing the latest techniques and technologies. That’s what makes Dr. Dolan and her team excited about the future.
“I think that’s the challenge in U.S. dental schools right now. You always have to teach the students the fundamentals, which includes traditional impression taking, but the students want the digital technology,” she says. “They think it’s really fun and cool and exciting, so the schools have to organize their curriculum in a way so that the students are prepared to do both.
"With time, both patients and students, their expectations are elevated. They want to have those opportunities.”