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BISCO, Inc. Schaumburg, Illinois
Question no. 1
Inside Dentistry (ID): The dental industry and the oral healthcare arena have been changing rapidly within the past 5 to 10 years. What do you see as the most significant of those changes?
Byoung I. Suh (BS): The number of dental products—and the number of companies providing these products—has grown tremendously in the last decade. More recently, some of the larger companies have been acquiring select smaller companies, and I think this consolidation will continue. In any case, the marketplace has become much more competitive. The industry has also become more “consumerized,” especially in cosmetic dentistry. Dentists need to attract and cater to patients’ needs, and the same holds true for dental manufacturers and dentists. Within adhesion dentistry, the demand has been for simpler and easier-to-use products. Unfortunately, there are tradeoffs with some of these new products—they may be easier to use, but their performance may fall short of expectations or there may be limitations to where and when these products can be used. The challenge is balancing simplicity with performance.
Question no. 2
ID: In what ways—both internally and in dealing with the broader oral healthcare marketplace—has your company responded to these changes?
BS: Amid all the change within the marketplace, BISCO has remained true to its roots—we have remained focused on developing and providing the best dental adhesive and composite products to the market—and we have remained an independent, direct company here in the United States. That said, of course BISCO has had to adapt and change along the way. Providing a high level of technical support to customers (and sometimes our competitors’ customers) has always been a hallmark for BISCO. But the company is now spending a greater portion of its resources on other marketing and sales efforts in response to the increased competition within the industry. In addition, we are exploring the benefits of strategic partnerships with complementary companies within the industry. We have always endeavored to respond to our customers’ demands for simpler, easier-to-use products—without sacrificing performance. As a result, BISCO has been later to market with certain products; we had to make certain that these new products met our high standards before making them available to our customers.
Question no. 3
ID: What do you see as your biggest responsibility to the marketplace, and why does your choice rank as your #1 priority?
BS: We have certain company values at BISCO that guide us in everything that we do: the highest standards for our products, science-based innovation, integrity, respect for others, and promoting knowledge to benefit the industry. BISCO has always been known in the market as a top adhesive company, so we feel that our biggest responsibility to the marketplace is to provide, inform, and educate dentists on the best adhesive technology available. Dentists should be able to trust our products, and trust that the information we provide is scientifically sound, research-based, and reliable.
Question no. 4
ID: What product categories—whether preventive, restorative, operative, auxiliary, diagnostic, etc—do you feel are most in need of innovation based on what’s currently available?
BS: As an industry, we promote the importance of good dental health, and the best way to achieve this overall is certainly through preventive dentistry. However, there are many key factors in addition to innovation in preventive products—socioeconomic factors, insurance, etc—that ultimately influence the success of preventive dentistry. In the area of restorative dentistry, on the other hand, current product technologies, along with changing needs, are driving the need for new technologies. For example, with the increase in life expectancy coupled with the aging baby boomer population, there is a need for dental materials that can last much longer than before. The needs of older patients may give rise to a new set of “geriatric” restorative materials. These and other issues require the development of better, longer-lasting, and more versatile dental materials.
Question no. 5
ID: What do you see as the best approach to the research, development, testing, and ultimate delivery to the market of such needed advancements?
BS: The ideal restorative material would have properties very similar to the natural dentition. These properties would be the target in the long-term development of new, innovative dental materials. The field of bioengineering has much to offer in this regard. In fact, the ultimate restorative solution would be the regeneration of dental tissue. As researchers, we ought to extend beyond our fields of expertise—even outside the field of dentistry—for ideas, insights, and inspiration in research and development. Of course, collaboration and cooperation between the academic and commercial sectors are also important in getting the best ideas to market. At the same time, research needs to address the short-term problems and limitations of current materials and techniques available in the marketplace. As a dental products company, we are primarily engaged in short-term research and development. But as a company rooted in science, BISCO is also involved in pure research and long-term technology development. We believe that a balanced approach has kept us at the top of our game, and will allow us to provide innovative products and solutions to the dental industry well into the future.
Question no. 6
ID: There are many challenges facing dentistry and oral healthcare today. How is your company helping to resolve them?
BS: Our company’s mission is to promote excellence and continual progress in restorative dentistry for the benefit of dental practitioners and patients worldwide. But BISCO is a relatively small company within the industry and our best means of making an impact against the many challenges out there is to focus on our strengths. We spend a proportionately large part of our budget on research and development, as well as on education. As an innovator, part of our duty is education. The BISCO Institute was formed to educate dentists on the latest developments in product technology. Unlike many companies, we operate the Institute as a cost center, not a profit center. Why? As mentioned before, we believe it is our duty to promote knowledge to benefit the industry. Because products are constantly changing and improving, keeping up with the latest technology can be a challenge for busy practitioners. We believe that the industry as a whole is better served with proper information and education. Consistent with our focus on innovation and education, a large portion of our charitable contributions goes to universities around the world to further promote learning and research in the dental industry.
|BISCO’s headquarters are located in Schaumburg, IL.|
|Dr. Byoung I. Suh |