Dental companies and organizations are built on big ideas and thrive on the energy of people determined to turn those visions into reality.
Each year, Dental Products Report goes behind the scenes to tell the stories of the companies and people behind the products and services taking dental practices to new levels of success and driving toward improved patient care. This year’s special advertising section puts the focus on the inspiration and the action that pushes the dental industry forward.
Over the next several pages, we present interviews with people in leadership roles at a wide range of dental manufacturers and organizations. Read on to learn about how these innovators and go-getters turned dreams and ideas into success that they pass along to customers and partners. Be sure to check out the online version of these profiles at dentalproductsreport.com for extended versions of these interviews and an entire extra company profile. Dentistry continues to grow and change at a rapid pace-here are some of the people leading that charge.
Click through the slides to read more.
Get acquainted with one of the best kept secrets in dentistry
SCOTT LAMERAND - Co-owner, Apex Dental Materials
Q: How did Apex get started?
SL: Apex began its first product development with Dr. John Kanca III, DMD in 2001. The idea was to provide a self-etch or no rinse adhesive system that prepared enamel as well as a gel etch yet simplified the bonding protocol. The project culminated on July 22, 2002 with the first commercial shipment of Simplicity Self Etch Adhesive.
Q: How did this influence the growth of the company?
SL: Simplicity was the flagship product for Apex’s first several years. Just after the launch of Simplicity, we saw a need within the CEREC community for materials to aid in the delivery of CEREC restorations. As we already had an adhesive we set out to design an easy to use ceramic etch and silane along with a resin cement. These developments led to an ideal suite of synergistic products: Simplicity Self Etch Adhesive, Interface Ceramic Etch and Silane in One and Anchor Core Build Up / Luting Cement designed to work in conjunction with each other to deliver CEREC restorations.
Following this success, Apex decided to create an adhesive that provided the highest bond strengths ever achieved. This resulted in the Surpass® Self Etch adhesive system, which still does just that.
Q: What inspires new innovations from Apex?
SL: Apex has always been a customer driven orga- nization and our approach to new products is con- sistent with that mind set. The Apex product line doesn’t cover all product categories; rather it focuses on unique products that address the issues our cus- tomers face daily. Apex focuses all of our energies toward improving results by providing better materials.
Q: What sets Apex materials apart from other dental materials that are currently available?
SL: Apex is different from other companies because we focus on the end user and only the end user. Everything we do from 24 hour shipping to immediate technical support to product innovation is driven by a never ending commitment to improving results for our customers. We apply this to every facet of our business and pride ourselves on delivering exceptional products and service every time we interact with a customer.
Q: Is there a product that exemplifies what makes Apex different?
SL: The entire Apex product offering really illus- trates our dedication and focus on solving end user issues. We
Clean & Boost dentin and enamel cleanser
don’t offer a single product created to be a “me-too” offering. Each product is unique and offers a unique benefit to improve results or simplify a doctor’s office. Whether it be maximizing bond strengths like Surpass Self Etch Adhesive System or improving the handling of all dental composites with Seamfree or preparing a tooth surface for bonding like Clean & Boost®, all of our products improve results and solve common issues encountered by doctors every day.
Q: Can you highlight a few of Apex’s products and discuss how they are designed with benefits for the clinician in mind?
SL: Surpass® Self Etch Adhesive was designed to maximize bond strengths within a simple protocol. While our competitors were working to provide short cuts or reduce bottles, we focused on increasing performance within an easy protocol. The result was Surpass, which provides bond strength of 60MPa with a 30 second procedure start to finish. When compared to the single bottle materials, Surpass is faster and provides bond strengths that are approximately doubled.
Titan flowable composite was developed to provide a high modulus material that was flowable and easy to place. The higher modulus leads to elevated bond performance for Class I and Class II materials. Other flowables on the market have been designed for polish while we have taken a different approach to improve the final restoration and long term results.
Clean & Boost® was designed to aid in the process of preparing a tooth for bonding. Initially, Clean & Boost was designed to remove the imaging powder being used in CAD/CAM dentistry. Along with the ability to remove imaging powders, we added features like disinfecting, desensitizing and etching to provide more than just a simple cleanser. This resulted in a material, when used prior to bonding, which produces an ideal surface for bonding and properly prepared enamel to ensure superior margins.
All of these products illustrate the way we focus on solving a problem and deliver products to overcome clinician’s day-to-day challenges.
Q: How does Apex stay in touch with clinicians?
SL: From tradeshows to lectures, to online communities to phone calls we attempt to stay in front of our customers at all times. We pride ourselves on providing support and answers to all questions quickly and accurately. Our level of service, makes us the first place many clinicians go for answers to dental material questions.
Q: How do benefits for the patients fit into the product development process at Apex?
SL: The products we design simplify protocols and optimize clinical results. The patient’s benefit is ultimately the outcome of everything we do. Take for instance our adhesives; all of our adhesives eliminate post operative sensitivity. By eliminating what could be an extended period of discomfort, the patient’s experience improves by leaps and bounds. Another example is our DesensiMAX product that not only desensitizes but also prevents secondary caries and stops bond degradation due to MMPs.
Q: What advantages does Apex offer dental professionals that are harder to find with a larger company?
SL: By being small, Apex is able to get to know our customers and their needs. Whether it be order patterns,
DesensiMAX desensitizer and MMP inhibitor
product choices or delivery needs we understand what drives our customers’ offices. This understanding allows us to offer better service and improved products quickly.
Q: What current dental material trends or innovations do you believe will have a lasting impact on the dental industry and patient care?
SL: The market for dental materials is always changing and new materials are always being created. We focus on new products to drive the doctor’s ability to deliver exceptional results. It would be easy to point toward bioactive materials or the development of better ceramics or the advancements in scanning technologies or the like to say these are the future, but that isn’t our approach. We focus on the market to deliver better products that solve needs and function to optimize all associated materials. Our developments are organic in nature and will continue to evolve where needed to improve results for all of our doctors. We strive to be the doctor’s partner to create the next generation of products they need to improve the results for their patients.
Q: What innovations are you most proud of in the last few years?
SL: Recently, we’ve launched a desensitizer material that not only provides densitizing but also disinfects, stops MMP generation, delivers fluoride to the impacted portion of a tooth and creates a zone of inhibition to prevent secondary decay. For so long doctors have applied desensitizers to simply address the most obvious issue the patient is experiencing. We took the concept forward to do more and address all underlying issues and challenges in the same application step. DesensiMAX is a product EVERYONE should use to eliminate sensitivity and deliver protections again all future challenges at the same time.
The development of Exquisite Restoration® low shrink, nanofil composite is another great example of providing a product doctors need. In the past several years numerous competitors have provided bulk fill materials to the market. These materials have largely had poor esthetics and were difficult to place. We created Exquisite with low shrink technology to allow for a highly esthetic material to be bulk filled and provide higher level results and a final restoration with superior polish and wear characteristics.
Q: What innovations can dental professionals expect from Apex in the near future?
SL: Without giving away too much, doctors should expect the next step in bioactive materials. Materials that deliver
Surpass self-etch adhesive system
what other have only promised. These products will change the mindset and advance the idea of restorations that function within the oral environment to “heal” decay and prevent future challenges. Stay tuned, these are going to be exciting.
Q: What is the vision for Apex in the future?
SL: The vision for Apex has not changed. Simply put, we will continue to listen to the doctor and deliver products that make clinical success the standard. We can add quite a bit of detail to this but the essence has not changed...we will work tirelessly to provide doctors the tools they need to optimize clinical outcomes for their patients.
“We are able to eliminate mistakes, get things done faster and pass down the savings to our clients.”
ART SAFARIAN - President and CEO of Arminco Dental
Q: What first brought Arminco to the dental industry?
AS: In 2004, Arminco started concentrating on building dental practices and its mission was to provide doctors with proper resources to build and start their dental practice efficiently.
Q: What drives the company today?
AS: We have built over 500 dental offices. Every year, we have broadened our resources to provide more ser- vices and save our clients more money. I’m honored to have been part of so many start-ups, and I can honestly say that with the services we offer, we’re able to control the budget of the entire process of building a dental practice, which helps our doctors achieve their dreams. The overall project of starting a dental practice can be extremely overwhelming, therefore, we take away most of the stress and provide the support a dentist would need in order to get things done.
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced getting the business started?
AS: The biggest challenge for us is to be able to educate the industry that we are a dental equipment provider as well. Over the years the big three equipment dealers have done a great job of keeping the market blinded by other possibilities, so dentists have always been trained that there no one other than the big three can provide them with equipment. Now, with the industry changing, more and more dentists are becoming aware of other possibilities.
Q: How did the father-son aspect of the company impact your operations and growth?
AS: My vision for the company was to be a complete construction company, rather than only an HVAC company. So, once I took over, I immediately started pursuing that route and growing the company in that department. My father had complete trust in me and to let me handle everything. This showed his abilities and greatness to make sure it works without fully being involved. Once the construction portion took off, we separated the two into different companies.
Q: Why add equipment and supplies to your offerings?
AS: We knew in order to control the overall project budget of the dental practice, we had to be able to provide the dental equipment. We worked hard to manage the construction budget of the project only to see that doctors were overpaying on most of the purchased equipment. Furthermore, we started see- ing too many errors on the project caused by other parties as a result of equipment sales. This led us to pursue equipment manufacturers harder.
Q: How does this benefit dental practices?
AS: It makes the process seamless and makes things a lot easier and affordable for the clients. We are able to eliminate mistakes, get things done a lot faster and pass down the savings we get to our clients.
Q: Are there any influences from your father that still resonate within Arminco, and if so, what are they?
AS: The most important things that he taught me were “Hard work” and to “lead by example."
Q: What can a dental practice expect when they work with Arminco to build, redesign or equip a dental practice?
AS: Honesty is key. They can expect us to explain all the available possibilities and what we recommend for their practice. With our in-depth knowledge of the whole process, we can suggest workflows, materials and, ultimately, which pieces of equipment they need.
Q: How has the work you do and the dental industry changed during your time at Arminco?
AS: The industry has changed a lot since I have been doing this. There is more price shopping, and more upselling, and more cutting of corners. It’s making it very hard to educate the doctors with everything because, in the end, it all comes down to price.
Q: What recent accomplishment are you most proud of?
AS: I’m most proud of the people and the chemistry we have created here at Arminco. Our company is built by people and I enjoy watching the dynamics and the communication between everyone here.
Q: What inspires Arminco today, and what does the company see for the future of the dental industry in the next few years?
AS: What inspires us today is being part of and watching a practice start, develop and grow to be successful.
Q: What’s the next step in the evolution of Arminco?
AS: We plan to keep working hard to improve our services and processes. We want to be known as ‘trusted-advisers." We enjoy working with dentists to provide them with marketing solutions and practice management in running their day to day operations efficiently and to see them prosper.
“Our inspiration comes from truly enjoying, learning, understanding and implementing new technologies”
STEVE BRAYKOVICH - President and CEO, Axsys Incorporated
Q: What is Axsys Dental’s origin story?
SB: It is first necessary to understand Axsys Inc. as Axsys Dental Solutions was necessarily born out of Axsys Inc.
Axsys Inc., founded in 1994 (www.axsysinc.com) distributes CAD/CAM software, services, training and consulting to manufacturing concerns in the state of Michigan.
Our active customer base of over 1,800 companies are in involved in the design and manufacturing of parts and tooling for virtually all industry segments including: Automotive, Aircraft, Defense, Consumer Products, Marine, Electronics, Energy, Medical, Toys, and more.
These companies range in size from single persons with CNC machine(s) in their pole barn to small “mom-and-pop” shops, mid to large size ($20M-$100M) operations through Fortune 500 companies such as the Big 3 automotive companies, Stryker Medical, Dow Chemical, General Dynamics, etc.
Given our wide customer base and associated wide range of design and manufacturing applications, we have experience in the design and manufacturing of just about any type of part or tooling from virtually all material types and all types CNC Machine tool (3-5axis milling machines, 2-4axis lathes, multi-axis EDM’s, grinders, robots, complex mill-turn work centers and more.
However, even though we have and do distribute other software products, the largest part of our software and service revenue is based on the Mastercam software product from CNC Software, a Tolland, CT based publisher. We enjoy exclusivity in distributing the Mastercam product in the State of Michigan. As such we are heavily leveraged in the automotive industry and subject to the up’s and down’s that characterize this business.
The revenue swings of the automotive industry reached significant levels in the year 2000 where revenues were at an all time low. Over the next few yeas we, like many struggled to survive with significantly less operating income. New, reduced revenue targets were now the norm with little or no (as well as decreased) annual growth for five years or so after which we started to see some consecutive year incremental growth. During this time many manufacturing companies (including many of our existing customers) exited the State of Michigan with many, hundreds in fact, closing their doors or went out of business.
This new increased revenue trend stopped abruptly in the year 2009 where we lost approximately 30 percent of our business which you can imagine is a significant loss.
During this time (and since about 1995) we also distributed CAD/CAM software from a British company by the name of Delcam International into the same markets with territories that included Michigan and Northern Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York State.
Each year Delcam would hold a worldwide distributor meeting in Birmingham, England (or locations thereabout), the location of their worldwide headquarters. Here meeting were held to discuss distributors local sales and support issues, distributor representatives would meet to discuss sales, service and marketing ideas, new product announcements and demonstration were given, etc.
As fate would have it, during the 2009 Delcam Sales Partner Meeting in England, Delcam had a special session pertaining to the dental industry. Here they discussed the dental business and the state of CAD/CAM technology in this business. Specific attention was given to dental CAD/CAM software and milling machines and the closed nature of those solutions. Current technology was reviewed as well as the adverse effects the, less than state-of-the-art technology, closed solutions had upon restoration quality and the businesses of dental labs/milling centers.
At this meeting, in early February Delcam announced the initial release of two new, open-source Delcam CAD/CAM products to penetrate the fast-growing dental market desperately needing the advanced technology existing in their current industrial solution in an open-system environment.
These two products were DentCAD (developed from their industrial CAD product PowerSHAPE) and DentMILL which was developed from their industry leading PowerMILL 5-Axis CAM product.
This sparked my interest as this opportunity was presented at a time when I was pretty much drained, thinking I could not mentally or financially go through another 2000 and 2009 again. I was excited, as I saw the dental market as a way to leverage our core competencies in a growth market.
Upon my return from the Delcam Sales Partner Meeting, I was able to attend Lab Day Chicago where I witnessed thousands attending, standing 3 or more deep in the aisleways to view CAD/CAM technology. This was something that was a thing of the past as it pertains to tradeshows targeting industrial market CAD/CAM technology. Many such events are poorly attended or have/had been canceled. The attendance and interest in CAD/CAM technology that I witnessed there at Lab Day reminded me of the “glory days” of CAD/CAM, circa 1980s and further reinforced by optimism that the dental business was a not only a way protect and even out my existing revenue but as a way to significant growth as the dental technology and it’s adoption at that time (and to some extent still is) at the early stages of what Everett Rogers call the Technology Adoption Life Cycle.
After visiting a few labs in my local area and speaking with their owners and managers, I became convinced that the dental business was they way to protect and grow my business and Axsys Dental Solutions was born.
Q: What was the original idea behind Axsys Dental?
SB: The original idea was to introduce what I call a “real machine” into a market flooded with infe- riorly-constructed milling machines. You see, my experience in “digital manufacturing” spans multiple industries and dates back to 1978 where I first started as an NC/CNC repair technician with a machine tool distributor. This is the experience I drew upon when I went in search of a “real machine” for the dental industry. I needed a machine that could be installed and perform with little to no service required-a fire and forget product.
The two main missions were to bring true state- of-the-art CAM software and machine technology by utilizing our automotive and aerospace machin- ing, manufacturing, and machine tool experience to greatly increase the quality of the final restorations while decreasing the amount of time to produce them, and to do so at a-and this is a key thing- fair price to the consumer.
Q: What part of that idea remains strongest with Axsys Dental today?
SB: Education, support and honesty. One of the biggest issues is that prospective, new and existing users of digital dental technology don’t know what they don’t know. So it is important to educate them on the technology and importance of support and what support can actually look like in a perfect world.
I think you can see this in our marketing materials. Our website in particular goes into great detail to not just be a glorified sales piece but to actually educate the visitor. Our brochures and seminars are also for education and not “selling.” Of course, having my roots in customer service and support, honesty is a huge deal to me and it is our key guiding principle.
Decisions are made in our organization based on our mission and whether or not it improves end qual- ity, increases performance and reliability, decreases cost of ownership, and reduces support requirements to do so. Basically, to do the right thing for our cus- tomers, the industry and our country. If we do that, it is the right thing for us both morally and financially.
Q: What are Axsys Dental’s core values, or guiding principles?
SB: Honesty, integrity and fulfillment of commitments and product capabilities as previously mentioned.
Decisions are made in our organization based on their adherence to our mission and whether or not it improves end quality, increases performance and reliability, decreases cost of ownership and reduces the support requirements to do so. Basically, to do the right thing for our customers, the industry and our country. If we do that, it will be the right thing for us both morally and financially.
We also strive to put ourselves in a position to be able to perform 100% of our machine service ourselves without reliance on the machine manufacture to solve problems remotely from another country as is so typical in today competitive environment. Although not completely there we are very close to that goal.
Additionally, as we craft new solutions or enhance our existing solutions, we do so by asking ourselves “does this product/enhancement/feature not only add value to the customer (in terms of ease-of-use, productivity, reliability, profitability etc.) but does it differentiate us from the competition?” Differentiation is a huge part of our ethos and key and everything we do such that we strive to continually boost our value proposition in a noticeable and meaningful way.
Q: How are those principles evident in your products and services?
SB: I think I have a little difference definition of the term “product”. To me the product is not just a particular machine or software executable. Those are at the center of a product. The “product” includes all the marketing, collaterals, training programs, service programs, user manuals, etc.
These principles become evident as we provide a complete well documented and fully supported product to the market. Training at our Corporate facility in Wixom, Mich., is mandatory so that we have our customers complete attention and they can get the most out of their training experience. Our support team is staffed with many experienced personnel and as such can solve an extremely high majority of issues (both software and machine related) within an hour or so of the original call by our own staff.
What I found quite disturbing coming from the industrial space is how new products are announced in the dental markets. New machines are shown and indeed sold well before they are ready for market. A new machine may show up at an exhibition after months of hype in the media and in social networks that is not “ready for prime time” and indeed even sold. This is a very rare occurrence in the industrial machine tool market.
We do not play this game. When our supplier introduces a new machine to the market, we take considerable time in leveraging our industrial sector experience to fully test and assure the new machine (along with the associated collaterals and programs that make up a product) fully meet not only manufacturer claims but meet our standards.
Customers can expect a machine that arrives at their facility and works as we perform our own quality and reliability tests on each machine as well as provide our own valued performance and reliability enhancements exclusive to Axsys Dental Solutions prior to shipment to the customer. We actually provide on-site installation with our Versamill 5X200 as a matter of course, a service which is optional on our other Versamill machining centers.
Q: What can customers expect from your technologies?
SB: Generally, they can expect restorations to be completed quickly with high anatomic detail-thin, smooth gingival margins and very little to no post-machining work. We pride ourselves on customer support and provide quick access to highly skilled support engineers with the experience and technical expertise to offer solutions to even the most complex of issues.
Q: How do Axsys Dental’s products benefit patients?
SB: Patients receive stronger, better fitting, more esthetic restorations with reduced time in the dental office and a reduced number of re-visits. This leads to lower cost restorations as well as reduced bacterial complications.
Q: How do Axsys Dental’s products help to advance the industry?
SB: It appears we have gotten the recognition of other suppliers as well as clinicians and dental laboratories and milling centers. We have seen, and been told by these concerns that not only are they themselves better informed and able to make more informed decisions, but that they have taken from, our collaterals and seminars information back to their operations and were able to improve the throughput and profitability of their operations.
Additionally, we have seen competitive solutions lower and/or expand their product and service offerings in an attempt to compete with what we have to offer. We have also seen competitive solutions actually make changes in their machine construction characteristics in an attempt to provide greater throughput, reliability and increase restorative quality and expand supported restoration types/materials.
Q: What recent innovations are you most proud of?
SB: I would say our automated clear aligner trimming solution. We have taken our many years of experience in
manufacturing and manufacturing automation to enable producers of clear aligners to eliminate the manual aligner trimming process. We offer a solu- tion that is what I call “semi-automated” requiring an operator to load and unload aligners and a fully automated one that includes the use of robots.
Q: What innovations can dental professionals expect from Axsys Dental in the coming months and years?
SB: Continued automation beyond the clear aligner trimming solution. This is an area desperately needed for high-production dental laboratories and milling centers who are now dependent on unreliable disc-changing machines that are limited and frequently fail and cause significant production problems.
With the heavy investment in unmanned or autonomous vehicle (AV) development, much work has been done in the area of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The IOT provides the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. This work is producing usable technologies and applications almost daily that can provide great benefit to the dental community both from a supplier, care-giver and consumer of technology. This is something we look at and watch closely as we craft the next generation of our unique solutions.
Q: Beyond the products, how does Axsys Dental serve the dental community and your own community?
SB: We do so with seminars and workshops on machine technology, joint workshops with doctors and KOL’s (lab and clinical) on what digital dentistry is, the workflows and if it makes sense to implement in their practice-and if so some of the ways to do so.
We provide donations to technology programs and labs in terms of dollars, technology and services to Community Colleges and ISDN’s as well as numerous other charities such as The American Cancer Society and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America. We also have provided monetary and technology donations to dental laboratories to victims of natural disasters such as the Katrina hurricane that caused, in many cases total loss to the many dental laboratories affected by her path across the country.
Q: What inspires you to move the industry forward?
SB: We are a technology and service orientated com- pany. Our inspiration comes from truly enjoying, learning, understanding and implementing new tech- nologies, while wanting to advance them into a field so they can be used to provide a greater quality of care.
Q: How does Axsys Dental turn those inspirations into realities?
SB: Simply through continuing education in the emerging technologies, examining our own solutions though customer feedback and feedback from our own sales, technical support and training resources and making modifications as necessary. Through testing of new technology, workflows, products, etc. in our own R&D center.
Q: What sets you apart from other dental companies?
SB: Ultimately our products and ability to provide a high level of software and machine support in a timely manner. But the thing we offer-that nobody else in the dental space can-is our over four decades of manufacturing experience including how to train an inexperienced customer base in technology and manufacturing solutions, as well as how to service customers in their day-to-day use from an interpersonal, infrastructure and product offering standpoint.
"We believe that dentists want to provide the best possible solutions for their patients, without compromising anything, and our products allow them to do so"
DR. BYOUNG SUH - Founder, BISCO
Q: What was the original product, idea, or mission on which BISCO was founded?
BS: When I started BISCO in 1981, it was because I believed that dentistry needed 2 things: an adhesive that would bond to metal and an adhesive that would bond to dentin/enamel. BPDM (biphenyl dimethacrylate) was designed and synthesized, and addressed both of these needs. It was crucial to the introduction of BISCO’s first adhesives, All-Bond and All-Bond 2.
Q: What early development was most influential in the company starting to take off?
BS: That would be BPDM, which was used in both All-Bond and then All-Bond 2.
Q: Is there a guiding principle behind BISCO’s approach to product development?
BS: Good chemistry and solid research to develop products that simplify procedures for better results.
Q: What have been the biggest factors behind BISCO’s success at developing innovative dental materials?
BS: We design our products with the best possible chemistry that simplifies procedures with reliable results.
Q: How does BISCO set itself and the products it produces apart from the crowd when dentists have so many choices when it comes to the materials for their practices and patients?
BS: Quality products backed by research. We also pride ourselves in having the best technical support available to our customers.
Q: When developing dental materials how do you balance the pursuit of properties that are beneficial to patients with the pursuit of material properties that are beneficial to clinicians?
BS: We don’t compromise the benefits for patients with cheaper or easier-to-use products, if it compromises the efficacy of the products. We believe that dentists want to provide the best possible solutions for their patients, without compromising anything, and our products allow them to do so.
Q: What are some of the most influential recent innovations from BISCO?
BS: Besides the Thera products, I would say All-Bond Universal. We have always had the most compatible adhesives on the market, starting with One-Step. It was the only fifth generation adhesive that was compatible with all Dual-Cure and Self-Cure materials, without an activator. Even now, All-Bond Universal is the only one-component universal adhesive that can do that without an activator.
Q: Your Thera product line is built around materials that release calcium. Why is calcium release such a key feature in a restorative material?
BS: Calcium release is a key feature because of its ability to regenerate secondary dentin bridge formation.
Q: What led the company to begin to develop materials with this calcium releasing capability?
BS: I actually saw an abstract at an IADR meeting by a competitor that showed a formulation with Calcium (Portland cement) in a hydrophobic resin (Bis-GMA), but it did not release any calcium because it was too hydrophobic. This got us thinking about creating a material that would be able to release calcium while still being curable and durable long-term.
Q: What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome to create workable dental materials that can provide calcium release?
BS: Finding the right balance of hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity is difficult because if it’s too hydrophilic, it will release a lot of calcium but won’t be durable over time.
Q: Are there limits to the types of dental materials you can develop with calcium releasing properties?
BS: The limitations are that durable materials need a more hydrophobic resin which may not release as much calcium.
Q: What other Thera products can dentists be expecting in the future?
BS: There are many in the works, but we can’t disclose them until they are ready…
Q: Are there other areas of product development BISCO is focused on right now?
BS: Always focused on ADHESION and finding ways to improve the techniques or technology of adhesive dentistry.
Q: What would you like dentists to think of when they think of BISCO?
BS: Science-based, reliable research and products. The “go-to” experts in adhesion dentistry.
“Change is providing unique practice modalities to keep dentistry’s future unique, colorful and bright”
DR. TERRI TIERSKY - 2020 Chicago Dental Society President
Q: What drew you to a career in dentistry, and what has that career been like for you?
TT: I was initially drawn to the idea of being my own boss, and therefore being able to set my own schedule, as well as having a certain level of control over my career path. Dentistry has exceeded my expectations in that regard and has opened doors to me that I never could have imagined were possible when I graduated dental school in 1986.
Q: What led you to get involved on the organizational side of the Chicago Dental Society?
TT: I was a member of the Midwinter Meeting table clinics committee shortly after I graduated dental school and I have never looked back.
Q: How long have you been on the CDS Board and what inspired you to take on that challenge?
TT: I was a North Side Branch Director from 2004 – 2006, and I have now been serving as an officer since 2016. My tenure will culminate with my presidency in 2020. I have always enjoyed being involved on a more intricate level and working to help our members make an impact on our profession in a positive way. I also enjoy the procedural aspects and sharing of ideas at not only our board meetings but also the Illinois State Dental Society and ADA House of Delegates.
Q: How many Midwinter Meetings have you helped to organize?
TT: I was the General Chair for the 2011 Midwinter Meeting and spent several years helping plan the educational program for that year. As an officer, I have now had the opportunity to conceptualize and guide the planning of our upcoming meeting, the theme of which is KALEIDOSCOPE VIEW 2020.
Q: What challenges do you face when planning and organizing a dental event of that scale?
TT: We are fortunate to have an amazing staff that frankly shields us from most of the organizational challenges, and there are many! They deal with those challenges on a day-to-day basis. That allows my team and I to plan the educational and social aspects of the meeting, and gives us the luxury of making sure the Midwinter Meeting moves in the direction that we envisioned.
Q: What makes the Midwinter Meeting such an important event to the dental industry?
TT: The Midwinter Meeting is one of the premier scientific meetings in the country, if not the world. It not only offers unparalleled educational opportunities for the entire dental team, it also gives our exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their new products and services to a vast audience. This is a great benefit to our exhibitors because of the size and scope of the meeting and its early timing in the year. Registration for the Midwinter Meeting begins Nov. 1, and we urge you to register early to receive the lowest prices offered on both registration and course fees.
Q: Why should Chicagoland dentists be sure to attend the show?
TT: It is an opportunity too good to pass up! The Midwinter Meeting offers a unique opportunity to take advantage of 270 continuing education courses ranging from lectures to live patient demonstrations and hands-on workshops taught by 150 of the leading clinicians in dental education. Attendees can explore an Exhibit Hall with more than 600 vendors to meet the needs of every dental office. They can also experience great social events including our Opening Session featuring a keynote speaker, Friday Night at the Park West for music and dancing in a fun and casual atmosphere, and the more formal President’s Dinner Dance on Saturday evening. All of this is available in their backyard, and registration for the meeting is free for all CDS members.
Q: Why should dentists from farther away plan on traveling to Chicago next February?
TT: For all of the reasons already stated. Our meeting is one-of-a-kind and worth the trip from both near and far. We invite those from out of town to come visit Chicago and see why it is a world-class city. After learning from the leaders in dental education, you can dine in our fabulous restaurants, shop the Magnificent Mile and take a tour of our amazing architecture. If you’re an ADA member, you can join CDS as an Associate Member for only $125 and pay no registration fee. We hope to welcome you to our hometown of Chicago in February.
Q: What’s the most exciting part of preparing for the 2020 Midwinter Meeting?
TT: This entire process has been an exciting and eye-opening experience. Planning the scientific program and
seeing our vision come close to fruition have been very rewarding. As we approach February 2020, I am sure the excitement will continue to build, coupled with a touch of anxiety and anticipation.
Q: How did you come up with the KALEIDOSCOPE VIEW 2020 theme for the event?
TT: Given the year 2020, I saw an obvious reference to vision, but I did not want to be completely literal and use the word vision in the theme. I collect kaleidoscopes, and I began to think about the parallels, not the least of which is the fact that using a kaleidoscope happens to involve vision. Each person’s experience when looking through a kaleidoscope is unique, non-static, colorful, and interesting. I think the same can be said for our profession. We are experiencing change, and this change is providing unique practice modalities that serve to keep dentistry’s future unique, colorful, and bright!
Q: How are you planning to bring the theme to life during the event?
TT: I am trying to carry out the theme in as many ways as possible. I hope to have a very unique and colorful meeting in 2020!
Q: Are you planning anything new or different for the continuing education courses for the 2020 event?
TT: Absolutely. We are excited to be offering many shorter lectures. We will also be holding an oral cancer symposium and a mock malpractice trial. One of the most exciting changes that we will be implementing for 2020 is that in addition to the free courses that we will continue to offer, the remainder of the courses (with the exception of our hands-on workshops) will be only $20 as long as the attendee registers before February 1, 2020. Additionally, all lectures will be free for all dental students on the Saturday of the meeting. I hope as many folks as possible take advantage of these benefits!
Q: Is there anything new or different planned for the Exhibit Hall at the 2020 event?
TT: We are always looking at ways to improve the Exhibit Hall experience for both our vendors and attendees. Even though it is already a very busy and thrilling Exhibit Hall, we are currently looking at a few ideas that will hopefully be ready to be unveiled for 2020.
Q: What part of the event do you look forward to the most?
TT: It would be impossible for me to single out one part, but I am really looking forward to seeing our vision come to life after all of the planning. I am also looking forward to seeing the sea of activity each Midwinter Meeting uniquely attracts, with tens of thousands of attendees hustling and bustling around McCormick Place West enjoying their meeting experience.
Q: If you could change one thing about the Midwinter Meeting that you’re currently unable to change, what would that be?
TT: If I could have a direct line to Mother Nature to ask her to hold off on any large snowstorms that she may be planning during the meeting. I would definitely take advantage of that!
Q: Outside of the Midwinter Meeting, what should dentists know about CDS and the resources you offer?
TT: CDS offers endless resources for dentists in every stage of their career. I would urge every dentist to join CDS either as a local member or an associate member. They can go to www.cds.org to learn about all the facets of our society and the many resources we offer to our members.
“Common sense would dictate that it is safer to use a clean, sterile bur each and every time”
PAUL TUCKER - President and CEO of Microcopy
Q: How did you get started in the dental industry?
PT: It was really the luck of the draw. I was working as a Marketing Director for Eastman Kodak Company (the film folks, remember them?) and I worked in close proximity to the people who ran the Kodak Health Group. They had just acquired a few dental companies-soon to be known as Kodak Dental Systems-and they needed a dental marketing director. I was asked if I was interested. I was. I got the job in Fall of 2004. I was just in the right place at the right time. I have been in dental ever since.
Q: What led you to Microcopy?
PT: I held the position of CEO at a dental imaging company on the west coast. My family, however, remained in Atlanta. That was hard. After six years of being away from family and from marketing, which was my passion, I headed back east. I had known of Microcopy and felt it would be a great place to continue my career. The very same week that I resigned my position in Cali, I met with the CEO of Microcopy who was in search of a marketing VP. We talked, we hit it off, and I assumed the position in the summer of 2014. In 2017, I became CEO.
Q: What did you know about Microcopy prior to joining the company?
PT: I knew that the company had a strong reputation for quality consumable products and that they were the No. 1 seller of single-patient-use diamond dental burs in the U.S.
Q: What do you think you brought to Microcopy?
PT: When I started at Microcopy one of my main focuses was to give their brands a refresh and develop a solid marketing strategy that showcased all the premium brands that they have to offer. I like to think that I was an integral part of growing and developing the marketing team.
Q: What has working at Microcopy taught you?
PT: That BRAND is everything and each and every employee has to ensure that brand integrity is maintained throughout the organization. If you don’t have your brand, you have nothing.
Q: What are the keys to the company’s success over the past few years?
PT: People and products. Our team is truly collaborative in every sense of the word. We frequently have ideation sessions where anyone is invited to provide ideas, thoughts, comments… any idea from any employee is always welcome. People, their ideas and the collaborative work that ensues makes Microcopy a great and very successful place to be. In addition, Microcopy produces dental tools that reduce the risk of cross-contamination. With a team of engineers, marketers and production experts on-hand, Microcopy has been able to focus on being a full-service solution for dental professionals.
Q: How do you sustain growth in the current dental marketplace?
PT: Innovation-both in the new product arena as well as in the reinvigoration of our existing product lines. Showing dentists that Microcopy not only makes good burs, but we also make quality products like NeoDrys, NeoShine polishers and Proxi-Chek articulation tools that help dentists perform their everyday procedures simply and easily. And, as the notion of single-patient-use grows, Microcopy will continue to grow along with it. After all, we pioneered single-patient-use dentistry more than 30 years ago!
Q: How does Microcopy approach innovation and product development?
PT: We pioneered (again) the idea of Dentalvation-a forum through which Microcopy works with individual dentists to bring some of their best ideas to market. Building an ecosystem of people (dental professionals) wanting to solve unmet needs in dentistry is the driving force behind Dentalvation. The program emerged with the aim of intersecting dental professionals, entrepreneurs and manufacturers to transform dentistry through safe and simple inventions. Dentalvation offers a safe haven where aspiring inventors can confidently share their ideas and receive valuable feedback from like-minded professionals.
Microcopy Dental launched Dentalvation in June of 2017 as an effort to design dentistry through their innovation process. The system, known as MIPS (the Microcopy Innovation Process), allows innovators to potentially have their ideas move through a flow of receiving, reviewing, designing, prototyping and patenting.
Q: Is creating products that stand out a greater challenge when the products are commodities?
PT: Not really. We can always take an existing product and make it better. Take our NeoDiamonds, for example. We have a small but solid portfolio of shapes for different restorative procedures. But there is always a new procedure with a new need-we are constantly reinvigorating our NeoDiamond and NeoBurr product lines to meet the ever-changing needs of the dentist.
Q: What are some of the key innovations Microcopy brought to the dental industry?
PT: First and foremost, it was the introduction of the first single-patient-use diamond bur for the dental industry in 1989. For over 30 years, Microcopy has been the leader in single-patient use in the U.S.A. and is quickly becoming the same on a global basis. We also recently innovated our NeoBurr carbide line with our new, patented blended neck technology-single-piece bur construction coupled with the elimination of the weakest point of the bur (the weld point) assures dentists of a stronger carbide for even the most demanding procedures.
We recently introduced Proxi-Chek, the only inter-proximal device that combines a precise mark of the contact with simplicity to eliminate the guesswork when placing a crown. Dentists love the convenience and accuracy that Proxi-Chek provides.
Q: Why does Microcopy believe so strongly in single-use diamonds and carbides?
PT: It’s simple…you don’t share your toothbrush. Why would you want a dentist to share a dental bur used in your mouth with another patient? Common sense would dictate that it is safer, more cost efficient, and easier to use a clean, sterile bur each and every time. Microcopy prides itself in designing products for safety-minded dentists who have a real concern for patient safety. And, our single-patient-use strategy provides that.
Q: What milestones are approaching for the company and its products?
PT: 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of the company, which was conceived in 1970 in a small office space in
Newbury Park, Calif. This anniversary is a true testament to the longevity of the company and its ability to grow as the market grows. We stay current and we stay in touch with customer’s evolving needs-and we are still the #1 SPU company in the U.S.A. 2019 represents the 30th anniversary of our flagship product-NeoDiamond-the No. 1 single-patient-use diamond on the market.
Q: What sets Microcopy apart from other dental companies?
PT: The people make the difference. We have a small, but collaborative team, all of whom are vested in providing the best and highest quality products that our customers want and deserve.
Q: What is your vision for Microcopy for the next five to 10 years?
PT: With more and more regulation surrounding single-patient-use medical and dental products globally, Microcopy is perfectly poised to continue its record growth for the next 5-10 years and beyond. We have never had a year where we have not been profitable, and we are not going to start now. We will continue to give customers what they want-exceptional innovations for safe and simple dentistry.
“We have the unique opportunity to not only create innovative products but to improve lives.”
ZACHARY BURKETT – Product Manager at Tokuyama
Q: How did you begin working in the dental industry?
ZB: My entry into the dental industry was actually at the start of my career. I had just graduated from university and was eager to find a job that offered not only the opportunity to put into practice what I had spent years studying, but also to have a posi- tive impact. The medical and dental field offered that opportunity, and my focus on international business immediately attracted me to Tokuyama. I initially joined the company as a product marketing specialist, assisting with marketing campaigns, analyzing data, and helping other teams complete their projects. Over time, I have taken on more responsibilities, eventually taking on the role as product manager and overseeing every aspect of the launch for OMNICHROMA.
Q: Does Tokuyama have a mission or core values?
ZB: Tokuyama’s mission is to be a leader at the forefront of dental innovation, delivering reliable products developed with a constant strive for excellence, and exceeding clinical expectations while providing lasting value.
Q: What inspires you to help move the dental industry forward?
ZB: As professionals in the medical and dental fields, we have the unique opportunity to not only create innovative products, but to improve lives and transform care. Developments in these fields benefit not only dentists, but their patients as well. That is something that has always driven me to move dental forward.
Q: What makes you most excited about working at Tokuyama?
ZB: Tokuyama Dental is on the cutting edge of research and development when it comes to den- tal materials, OMNICHROMA being just one of them. I am proud to be part of a team that is truly innovative in its approach to products, and I am excited by just how impactful those products will be on dentistry.
Q: When did you first learn about OMNICHROMA?
ZB: I first heard about OMNICHROMA on my first day at Tokuyama. I knew as much as any other person about dental when I started, but the potential of the product was evident. Even so, I was skeptical- after all, this would mean a total revolution in composite materials. But after seeing the product in action on test models and clinical trials, I was blown away. I knew this was a para- digm shift, and I couldn’t wait to share it with doctors everywhere.
Q: What impact did you see the material having on practices and patients?
ZB: For decades, most composite brands have had multiple shades to match individual patients’ teeth, but OMNICHROMA has one shade that blends to match almost any patient’s tooth. This not only streamlines the restorative process, but also reduces inventory and potential overhead costs for the practice. For patients, this can mean shorter visits with higher esthetic outcomes. These benefits are central to how we communicate and think about the product-it’s not enough that it’s “new and improved,” it must have a tangible impact.
Q: How was the process of bringing this material to the market different than previous product launches you’ve worked on?
ZB: All Tokuyama products are developed in Japan and typically launch there first, with the American team adapting the product and marketing for the North American market. OMNICHROMA was designed and developed with the North American market in mind first, so the team here had a lot more input on the development early on. We designed the logo, packaging, ads, just about everything for this product specifically to appeal to dentists in North America, and it has been well received in this market.
Q: Was the scale of the promotional effort different than what you’d worked on in the past?
ZB: The launch campaign for this product is by far the largest we have ever done. OMNICHROMA is such an
innovative product and its potential is so great, we knew early on that we had to pull out all the stops. I definitely think the campaign has been effective- almost every clinician I speak to has heard about OMNICHROMA or tried it, and many are sharing their experiences with colleagues or online. I can’t think of too many other products they would do that for.
Q: What challenges did you face when planning this product launch?
ZB: One of the biggest challenges we faced early on was figuring out the best way to explain how OMNICHROMA works and how we would get clinicians to believe its frankly bold claim. While the product is straightforward and simple to use in practical terms, the mechanics behind how it works are not. We spent a lot of time debating the best way to explain the technology without oversimplifying it. A lot of effort also went into working with dif- ferent universities and third parties to evaluate and test the product and validate our claims, as we felt this would be vital for building trust in the brand.
Q: What has been the internal reaction at Tokuyama to the way the material is being received by the dental industry?
ZB: I would say everyone was optimistic leading up to the launch of OMNICHROMA. We knew we had a high-quality, revolutionary product that would be attractive to a lot of practitioners. However, we have been amazed at just how quickly the product has taken off. The team has spent years working on this product, and seeing just how well it’s been received has been really gratifying for everyone.
Q: What are you working on now that people should know about?
ZB: We have several new products in develop- ment, and while I can’t discuss any specifics, I think doctors will be very excited to hear what’s coming next. I hope to be able to share some big announcements within the next year!