For more than a year, he has led the world’s largest dental corporation: Donald “Don” Casey is CEO of Dentsply Sirona. At his first International Dental Show in Cologne in March, he gave an interview with Dr. Aneta Pecanov-Schröder for Quintessence News – with Insights into the company, the philosophy behind “Inspired by your needs“, trends and experiences in the dental market.
It is now the International Dental Show 2019 and the dental world is meeting in Cologne. At IDS 2017 the merger of Dentsply and Sirona was still fresh, the new company presented itself to the public for the first time. How important is this year’s IDS for Dentsply Sirona?
Don Casey: There is no distinction between “this is Sirona“ and “this is Dentsply“ – this is one company. If we’re thinking about products like Primescan and SureSmile Aligners we’re completely integrated.
I don’t come from either legacy. So I view the company as Dentsply Sirona. I believe it is a company that has immense potential to transform dentistry. And with that mindset it is my job to figure out how can we have our products work together in seamless workflows. So I believe that the promise of Dentsply Sirona is to be a complete company – not a collection of parts. We want to give dental professionals real added value with digital technologies that can be easily integrated and are an intelligent improvement in their routine workflows.
“Inspired by your needs” – Dentsply Sirona presents and sees itself as a solution provider for dentists and dental technicians. What can dentists and dental technicians expect?
Casey: … and dental hygienists – they are all our customers. As the world’s largest manufacturer of dental solutions, Dentsply Sirona has been inspired by the needs of customers and will provide innovative answers to the current issues in dentistry with investments of more than 150 million US-Dollar a year in research and development. Our goal is to offer dental professionals the products and workflows that support them in their practice and lab routine. They need to be certain that products and their application are clinically safe at all times and require little effort.
First you can always expect high quality products. That is a commitment that we always make. How do we put solutions together? I’ll give you two examples of how we think about solutions.
One example of this is Azento: It is the solution for single-tooth replacement that provides dentists everything they need for an implant treatment, including a proposed surgical and prosthetic plan, as well as all the components and instruments needed for the case, a DS implant and a custom healing abutment. It could not be simpler. It’s one company, one set of questions for the dentist and it works seamlessly. We are the best company to provide a single tooth replacement in a seamless and easy workflow.
The second example is Primescan and our SureSmile Aligners. Primescan today is purely integrated with our SureSmile Solution. And we believe that we have the most comprehensive root to crown treatment protocol.
SureSmile Aligners, for instance, are a clear aligner solution that now also provides general practitioners with the opportunity to offer patients more treatment options and different price models with one versatile platform. Start with a digital impression, take a 2D image, upload patient photos, approve the treatment plan, and have aligners produced ‒ done. An interactive diagnostic tool registers the digital treatment plan to the patient photo to ensure an ideal smile design – a fully digital production.
Primescan is one of your highlights. What are the benefits of Primescan?
Casey: In the press conference at the IDS the simplicity and speed of use were demonstrated in a full-arch scan that took less than one minute. I cannot program my iphone – but I can train you to do a scan with Primescan in about 40 seconds. So after two or three sessions you can be able to scan the entire upper and lower jaw including buccal bite less than a minute.
As the system is open, the scan data can be used in many ways, such as to produce restorations with Cerec directly in the practice or have them made by the preferred lab – or for the fully digital production of SureSmile aligners for straightening teeth.
The scan can be carried out very easily, especially quickly, and is now even more accurate ‒ as proven in a recent study.
“One dentist has got 1.000 jobs. I think this will help the thousand jobs.“
In Germany only 15 up to 20 percent of the dentists in practice are using “digital impressions”. What do you think is the reason for this low coverage?
Casey: That is not on them, that is on me: We have done a bad job in educating them about what the potential is. It is habit, our recent survey shows: “I am very comfortable with doing physical impressions.” That is the main reason.
Why should a general dental practitioner want to get into digital impressions? I give you three reasons: First is the absolute convenience of interacting, from dental practice to lab. Your ability to communicate easily and quickly with your lab changes entirely. What took a week, can take a day now.
The second – and it is a great example in Germany – we do have actually a fair number of dentists that have to be ‘everything’. They have able to do some ortho, some endo, some implants – they have to do a variety of things. If they got to see in the beginning what the restoration or the implant will look like in the end, they would be more confident in creating it. So I think that changes things.
And then the third – Primescan is a best way to do chairside dentistry. One dentist has got 1.000 jobs. I think this will help the thousand jobs.
What can be the solution to “encourage“ the dentists to switch? Do you try to reach the students?
Casey: We are pushing very hard to reach the students. Students understand these advantages in three seconds, they figure it out because they are very used to digital.
Even though digitalization in the dental practice and laboratory continues to be one of the main trends, the DS product portfolio covers the entire spectrum – from consumables, filling materials and implants, to materials and high-tech equipment. In which way does Surefil one set new standards for fillings?
Casey: Dentsply Sirona landed a real coup with the development of Surefil one, an innovative filling concept for the posterior teeth region. It is a quantum leap in filling treatment.
Surefil one is a self-adhesive, robust restoration material that combines the simplicity of a glass ionomer with the stability of a conventional composite and also has good esthetic properties. Dentists can treat a cavity in just one layer, without adhesives or retentive preparation. This technology is indicated especially when there are clinical, time- or financial factors that limit the definitive restoration of a tooth by using a composite.
Back to “Inspired by your needs“: here at IDS Dentsply Sirona is presenting technologies and workflows that are coordinated precisely to dental professionals’ needs and will raise dental treatment to a new level of quality. Familiar workflows will be simplified, patient communication will be improved, and the clinical and economic success of practices and laboratories will thus be ensured. In dental labs, the challenge is to further optimize the digital infrastructure and to develop materials that satisfy the very highest requirements in terms of both esthetics and handling.
What does this mean for cooperation with the resellers and with customers, dentists and dental technicians?
Casey: At the dealer day at IDS, you could hear the buzz around us – we’ve really got the dealers excited. We spent a lot of time with the dealers, we had a lot of meetings with them to talk about how we could bring in new game changing technology and how we can support them. Dealers are great partners and very important for us.
“Regarding megatrends, digital and esthetics are the two biggest things that we want to drive further.“
Which role does the customer service play in your company?
Casey: It depends if you order directly from us or from a dealer. There is a direct or indirect support. But anyway you can always expect a best-in-class customer service.
If you are, for example, in the US or France you have a local technical customers‘ support. I actually in the US sit with our technical service people – that is where my office is. I love it, because I listen to them what they are talking about. These people are wizards, they are simultaneously solving problems. If there is something that the US customer service can’t solve, they will transfer the request to Bensheim. There we have what we call our supertechnical help –the best of the best, the superexperts who also support our dealers if they encounter physical problems. We can provide customer service locally in most countries, but we have a backup in Bensheim as well. There we have a big customer service team for equipment and consumables.
You yourself are not from the dental field. After a good year at Dentsply Sirona and your first impressions of IDS – what is special about this market for you? From your perspective, what are the dental megatrends?
Casey: Dentistry is different than other medical device industries. Dentists are practitioners but at the same time they are small business (wo)man and actually have to do the business themselves.
Regarding megatrends, digital and esthetics are the two biggest things that we want to drive further.
Zur deutschen Fassung: „‚Inspired by your needs‘ ist für uns viel mehr als nur ein Motto“
Ender A, Zimmermann M, Mehl A: Accuracy of complete- and partial-arch impressions of actual intraoral scanning systems in vitro, Int J Comp Dent 2019; 22(1):11-19, March 2019