Max Milz, Dentsply Sirona Group VP, Connected Technology Solutions talks about how digital dentistry and connected technologies benefit dental practices and dental patients. [7 Minutes]
My name is Max Milz, and I'm responsible for connected technology solutions at Dentsply Sirona. So basically all the equipment plus the cloud software.
Yeah, I think it's if you look at different technologies, in particular CAD/CAM, what it really did is it expanded the workflows that dentists have directly under their control in the practice, and thereby also being able to deliver better patient care, right. Because single visit dentistry wasn't possible before the invention of chairside CAD/CAM, and that's really been something that changed the way the industry works. Now, that's not just about CAD/CAM, but it's also about CBCT, right? Dentsply Sirona was the first company to introduce cone beam tomography to dental, and bringing all these different technologies together, is really where the value lies for practitioners and for the patients.
What I hear most when I talk to customers is not actually something about digital, but about the issues that they face in their practice. And typically, people face two things. They want to grow their practice, or they want to increase their efficiency, because the costs are increasing. Then when you listen to them, they don't tell you, "Give me this technology," what they're telling you, "I have issues with my staff. I don't have enough staff. This is taking too much time. I have to keep spending more money on it. My PCs get outdated. My patients don't go for the treatment plans that I propose."
So it's really all about issues that happen in the everyday dental practice. And what digital technology should do is simplify the life of a dental practitioner, in cooperation with their partners, whether they're specialists or labs. And if we look at digital technology, we're really on the cusp of making it all simpler, right? I mean, typically, when people think about digital stuff, they look at something like this, like an iPhone, right. And everybody's like happy to use it. You know intuitively how it works. That's what digital dentures will be like. It's really about simplifying, bringing things together, and making sure that you don't have to be an expert. Because people don't go into dentistry because they want to play around with technology. They go into the industry, because they want to take care of oral health problems. So technology needs to move to the back. And that's our focus, simplifying it, expanding access, and making it easier to integrate all the different pieces that have to play together.
I think digital is fundamentally about achieving more with less. So that can be on the one side, integrating additional dental procedures in your practice that allow you to make more revenue, or increasing the conversion that you have on patient cases, thereby also increasing revenue. On the other hand, helping you save costs. And the most expensive thing that you have in dental practice is the time of the doctors and of their staff. So anything that helps you save time is a real moneymaker for a dental practice. And I think that's the way we encourage just to look at their practice, right? What are the costs? What are the benefits they are getting out of it? And how can they increase that efficiency for them. And there's never a wrong time to get into digital dentistry or to expand the amount of digital dentistry, because everything that we see is a relatively fast payback. And after you have invested in and you've changed your workflow, you're not only more profitable, but you typically also achieve better outcomes for your patients.
First of all, cloud technology is not new, right? We all use it every day. If you save images on your phone, that goes into the cloud, if you listen to your Spotify, that comes out of the cloud, if you're sending an email that goes through the cloud, so cloud technology is already there. Now what's new, is that more and more, you can make procedures and software and in the future eventually also hardware more accessible from anywhere, right. Traditionally, in dentistry, you would have a machine attached to a computer and a software on that computer. And at some point, the PC ages or the software needs upgrades. And you can only use it in that spot in that practice. Now what cloud computing allows is to basically decouple the machine, the computing and the procedure. So that means nowadays, you can scan in one room, the image goes into the cloud, you can trigger the opening off your design software from any of the screens as long as it has a web browser wherever you're at home, or wherever you're in the practice. You can view it on any device, whether it's an iPad, or whether it's a PC or if it's a big TV screen. And then you can trigger the manufacturing of that, whether you do it in your practice or whether your lab does it for you. So it's really about giving you more flexibility of how you work and giving you more options of how you use different workflows in your practice.
The first piece that I would always start with is actually lean in, right. Be curious about it, and also take courses, try things out. Because digital sounds very scary if you don't feel like you're a very digital person. But a lot of it is actually fairly easy. But it's really about getting your hands dirty and trying it out. The second thing is I would always start with, what's the focus of my practice today? What am I really doing? What's the biggest procedure or the focus that I'm working on? Am I restorative doctor? Do I focus on prevention, and so forth? And then figure out how can digital technology help me in what I'm already good at, because then you don't have the dual learning curve of learning a new procedure that you might not be confident in, and bringing in new technology that you're not gonna be confident in. Start with what you're comfortable with and figure out how you can use more digital technology to do that better, faster, more efficiently, and increasingly, also involve your entire practice. What we see is that if you want to have a digital practice, that means not only yourself, needs to be able to use it but also your hygienist, your assistants. It's a transformation, right. And that's not just true for dental practices. That's also true for large companies like Dentsply Sirona. It's a journey where everybody needs to get involved and go stepwise. Start with the processes that you're really good at, make those better, and then branch out as you get more and more confident.
Thank you. I think the main wish for me is it's really about leaning in, and ensuring interoperability because wherever the industry likes it or not, dentists like to combine things from different OEMs. And it should be our job to make sure that workflows are interoperable, because only through that, can we empower our customers together.