Q+A with Rick Gross

September 24, 2012
Issue 4

01 DentalEZ just purchased the Identafi 3000 ultra oral cancer screening device. Why was this a good time for such an acquisition?

01 DentalEZ just purchased the Identafi 3000 ultra oral cancer screening device. Why was this a good time for such an acquisition? We’re traditionally a company that focuses on equipment, the nuts and bolts of the office from dental chairs to compressors and pumps and obviously we have a long history with handpieces. We recognized the recent market changes and the need to look at areas where there’s going to be tremendous growth. Our first step is looking at the diagnostic and screening markets.   02  What makes oral cancer detection such a prominent area of the market?
There’s been a dramatic rise in the number of HPV cases, particularly among the younger age groups, which puts them at risk for oral cancer. There’s really a need for products that better assist dental professionals with oral cancer screening.   03 How does this shift differ from what DentalEZ and its other divisions have traditionally offered?
It’s moving away from what we’re used to doing. We want to move toward tools that assist the doctor in making better decisions, better screening and better diagnoses. This is not a diagnostic device. It’s really a screening device to identify abnormal oral pathologies and that includes oral cancer. Many times it is difficult for dentists to make good clinical decisions because they do not have the right information. The Identafi system helps identify biochemical and morphological changes in the cells of the mouth, throat, tongue and tonsils, often not visible to the naked eye.   04 How important is it for practices to get involved with screening for oral cancer? It’s critically important. One person dies from oral cancer every hour…oral cancer screening is similar to strides made to battle cervical cancer. Traditionally people who were susceptible were mostly smokers and drinkers. But now because of HPV, primarily 16 and 18, a huge population is susceptible to oral cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all patients older than 17 be screened annually now. If caught early the survival rate for oral cancer is nearly 90%.   05 Does this change the role of the dentist and hygienist?
Yes, as the physician of the mouth, dental professionals are on the front line of detection and have expanding roles in addressing patients’ overall health.     06 How does the technology work?
The test is simple, painless and takes less than three minutes to use. It’s similar in appearance to a mouth mirror. It features a three-wavelength optical illumination technology that enables users to detect possibly cancerous lesions not visible by the naked eye.   07  What sets this technology apart from other oral cancer detection systems?
That green amber light (third wavelength) is intended to fluoresce the blood vessel. When you have true abnormalities, potentially oral cancer, you have a defused or dilated vascularization. The difference between our product and the other products on the market is this three-wavelength technology.   08  So using the Identafi gives you all the answers in terms of oral cancer detection?
The device does not make a diagnosis but it gives the clinician additional information in which to make a sound treatment plan.   09  Is this technology economical for the practice and to patients?
Dental offices typically charge the patient or insurance company about $30, or in some cases the dental professional offers it as added value to the annual exam. If dentists do charge for it, they should recover their investment of the unit in about six to eight weeks. There is a disposable cost of a few dollars per patient.   10 What is the company doing to create awareness of this acquisition and the importance of screenings?
We are actively putting together a robust marketing campaign that will include education for both dental professionals and their patients. Our goal is to assist the dental professionals in educating their patients about oral cancer. We will make all our resources available on identafi.net.