Risk is, for many dentists, a hurdle they just can’t get over. Dr. David Ahearn, a general dentist in Westport, MA, has more than two decades of expertise in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. In addition to being on faculty at the NYU School of Dentistry, he is one of the founders of Design Ergonomics, a consulting group that helps practices focus on performance and health. From his vantage point, that fear of risk has led many of his peers to accept a status quo that isn’t good for them or their patients. He believes the new TryKaVo.com campaign can help change that.
Simply visiting TryKaVo.com, dentists can select a handpiece and try it free for five days. The company covers the cost of shipping (both ways), allowing dental professionals a hassle-free, no-risk trial on any of a number of products.
“There are some things that happen in dentistry that, from the outside, you wouldn’t think have great significance,” Dr. Ahearn said. “But I think this campaign has the opportunity to change the industry. Not that it hasn’t been done in other industries, but I think the concept here in dentistry can change the dynamic between dentists and the companies we work with.”
Here are excerpts from DPR’s conversation with Dr. Ahearn on risk, rewards and ergonomics.
You’ve said that one of the greatest obstacles to adoption of new technologies is risk. How so?
It has become a huge issue because many individual dentists don’t have the ability to do comprehensive research on new products. For many, the best they can do is send somebody out onto the exhibit floor at a tradeshow and have them walk around. Even if they themselves are on the floor testing a handpiece, trying something on a piece of stone at a booth is just a very different thing than actually bringing it into your world and seeing what happens over the course of a few days.
Many dentists turn to colleagues or key opinion leaders for recommendations. Isn’t that enough?
I hate to say it, but colleagues are far from an ideal source for product decisions. They probably made a purchase based on a non-scientific survey and, unless something is horrible, buyers tend to support and validate what they bought. You’re going to get bias.
Experts are a huge improvement, especially those with research departments, but they have a different limitation. A great example of expert evaluation gone awry came from Consumer Reports. They were rating hammers and the top-rated pick was wonderful, but only for the fist 20 minutes, which is how long they tested it. If you were a carpenter, you knew that at the end of the first week, the rubber on the handle came off. That’s the bias of limited testing and not living with the product. That’s what TryKaVo.com starts to address.
If you were a carpenter, you knew that at the end of the first week, the rubber on the handle came off. That’s the bias of limited testing and not living with the product. That’s what TryKaVo.com starts to address.
Why is handpiece selection so important?
If a dentist doesn’t understand the differences between handpieces in judging quality, many will default and just go with the cheapest option. The handpiece, arguably, is the main touchpoint between you and the patient and now it’s the cheapest thing in your operatory. I have a problem with that.
And do you really believe that KaVo has a superior product?
I’ve known KaVo’s legendary performance and quality for two decades. The dentists I work with agree and from what I’ve seen, KaVo has among the highest customer loyalty in the industry. And that’s the thing-you have to have complete confidence in your product to arrange a campaign like this.
It’s not just one product either, but across their product lines-air driven, electric, even hybrid handpieces. There is a product for every dentist in this mix. We both know there are some people who will be skeptical about the process and the product. What do you say to them?
KaVo has made the choice amazingly simple and you can’t find an easier Web site to navigate. They’ve stripped down all the unnecessary steps to make it possible to just go ahead and try. The problem is, most dentists are driven by inertia to a far greater extent than they are driven by growth. To them, I would say this is an opportunity to break out, to experience the quality of KaVo and judge for themselves. In the past, some people assumed KaVo was too expensive and never took the chance to try. I think what they’ll find here is that KaVo really is the best at very affordable prices.
Of course, we have to ask you about ergonomics. How does the right handpiece make a difference?
Ergonomics has two, very equal sides. One is health and proper function, what we consider traditional ergonomics. The other equal partner is the performance side, which often is not clear to dentists. If I can go ahead and get a procedure done in half the time because I have greater concentricity, greater torque and easier access-things these handpieces provide-then I’ve reduced the amount of time I might be in a compromising posture for treatment.
We’ve covered a lot. If you had readers leave with one message, what would that be?
The TryKaVo.com program gives dentists the power to choose. It takes the risk of trying completely away. The result is the ability to experience what these products will do in the real world-yours.
If TryKaVo.com reaches its potential, patients will receive higher quality care, doctors will profit from increased performance and KaVo will benefit from many new and loyal customers.
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