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During the 2023 International Dental Show in Cologne, Germany, Dental Products Report® Editorial Director Noah Levine sat down with Dentsply Sirona CEO Simon Campion about the company’s place in the industry, the trends its focused on, and how he plans to continue the company’s legacy as an industry leader.
Dental Products Report®: What are your impressions of the dental industry since coming over from medical businesses last year?
Simon Campion: I think there are a lot of similarities. First and foremost, it's very much about helping people, both customers and their patients, and we can do so in a number of ways. We can do so by developing products, but one of the interesting things I've discovered about dental is that the processes are as important as products, and so we can help customers with the processes too.
So we've got product and process, and the third way we help is with clinical education. And we're a leader in this field. I think the transformative piece here, the evolving piece, is the digitalization of dentistry, and how that's making a meaningful difference to the efficiency within a customer's practice. It is going to make a meaningful difference to the transportability of a patient and their data between dental offices, between different regions and between whatever it may be. We're happy we're at the forefront of that, realizing that we are only scratching the surface.
DPR: What were some of the priorities you set when you came on board last year?
SC: Well, we were, or rather still are, in the COVID-19 pandemic, or endemic, and so that comes with a number of challenges. Number one, supply chain issues accelerated last year but I'm pleased to say that they've stabilized now. At this point, patient demand has certainly begun to approach pre-COVID levels, but it’s not quite there yet. I would say it’s stable. And then there’s obviously the lingering possibility of a recession and the inflationary impact on patient demand. So those are a couple of the first things that I have been focused on.
DPR: What is the mood and focus like at Dentsply Sirona heading into the second quarter of 2023?
SC: We have introduced a new operating model. ’We will realign ourselves to allow us to focus very specifically on areas that we think are critically important. Typically, these are the faster growing, higher impact spaces such as digitalization, implants, and aligners. That's not to say all the other areas are not important. But where we see the biggest potential impacts are where we need to ensure that we continue to invest in at an appropriate level, when it comes to R&D and clinical education.
DPR: How does Dentsply Sirona approach innovation and how does it cover such a broad range of dental solutions?
SC: I would classify this as a high-quality problem to have, that we have such a comprehensive portfolio where we can work with our distributors and customers to facilitate all the demands from a straightforward consumable product all the way up to a 3D x-ray or printer. It’s important that we are investing at proper levels to drive innovation in all areas, and we have to be extraordinarily diligent with respect to doing that. The way we do that is by driving an unapologetic focus on accuracy. Accuracy in how we value projects, accuracy in how we deliver projects on time to our customers.
DPR: What connects all of Dentsply Sirona together?
SC: Digitalization is the thread that comes through all of our products, and we are focusing intensely on that space. It is the thread that integrates everything, and it is a capability that we are pretty good at.
DPR: What are your impressions of the 2023 International Dental Show?
SC: The scale of this show is spectacular. I don't know that I've ever seen anything quite as large, and I've been at large medtech shows. So, the scale of the event is significant, and the scale of our presence here is immense. And I want to give a shout out to the team that's worked on this for years to put on a footprint like this while still focusing on sustainability. Over 80% of our booth is made using reusable and recyclable materials. Our actions are speaking as loud as our words. And we've got over 40 hours of clinical education going on here. So again, back to my earlier comment about product, process, and clinical education, we are driving clinical education at this event.
DPR: What is the Dentsply Sirona approach to live events, and how has the growth of Dentsply Sirona World transformed that approach?
SC: At the end of my first week with Dentsply Sirona, I was at Dentsply Sirona World in Las Vegas, which was an incredible event where we had over 4500 dental practitioners. That was actually the first of more DS World shows that we've had around the world. Between September 2022 and February 2023, we also had DS Worlds in Madrid, Turkey, and Dubai. I think we've engaged with in excess of 7000 dental professionals as a result. We see it as a cornerstone for our engagement strategy with customers, with DSOs, with KOLs, and it’s been a good part of expanding our reach. I think we have transformed the way companies interact with customers in the dental space. And I think it’s fair to say that we still lead that particular angle of customer engagement and interaction.
DPR: What makes Dentsply Sirona a company that customers want to connect with in this way?
SC: The willingness of 7000 dental professionals to attend Dentsply Sirona events taking place around the world is an incredible testament to the value that they place on what we’ve created with DS World. It is a barometer of why we should continue to invest in interactions like that.
DPR: Dentsply Sirona held talks at IDS on digital dentistry and sustainability. You’ve touched on Dentsply Sirona’s position as a leader in digitalization, but can you share how Dentsply Sirona hopes to also be a leader when it comes to sustainability in the dental industry?
SC: Our sustainability strategy is fundamental to our mission of transforming dentistry and improving oral health globally. Our commitment begins at the top, with the Board of Directors overseeing its deployment, and is embedded throughout our Company, permeating all our business. We call our sustainability journey BEYOND: Taking action for a brighter world. Our strategy is aligned to the United Nation’s SDGs and based on three pillars of action — Healthy Planet, Healthy Smiles and Healthy Business which reflect how we engage with our employees, customers, partners and communities.
Sustainability in dentistry is now a key challenge for the oral healthcare sector, with a large majority of dentists – 7 out of 10 participants – expressing that the dental industry is lagging when it comes to sustainability, while 80% say that it is important that our industry reduces its environmental impact. These are key findings of the Global Sustainability in Dentistry Study, which was commissioned by Dentsply Sirona in 2022. We undertook this study to understand how dentists around the world view sustainability and where they look to us and the industry for support.
To address the existing knowledge gap among dentists and to support them in their journey towards becoming more sustainable, Dentsply Sirona has now launched the first course of its comprehensive Sustainability Educational Curriculum. Delivered online and for free through the Dentsply Sirona Academy, each of the five interactive courses is led by experienced experts and will focus on a different aspect of sustainability.
As we educate both customers and patients, they will demand other companies to begin to engage in a more meaningful way in sustainability. It's good for us. It's good for practitioners. It's good for patients. And it's good for the world.
DPR: Thank you so much for making the time to speak with us.
SC: It's a pleasure. Thank you.