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Coming to America: 10 Years in the Making
To many American dentists, implant manufacturer Osstem, Inc, is not yet a household name. You may have noticed Osstem’s large, distinctive red, white, and black booth at major dental meetings this past year and assumed it is a new company. That, however, would have been a false assumption.
The fact is that the South Korea-based company was formed more than a decade ago. In that relatively short corporate life span, Osstem has grown to be the #1 dental implant company in Asia, and one of the top five worldwide. Osstem officially entered the US market in 2006 and is determined to earn the respect and trust of the American dentist, just as it has earned the respect and trust of clinicians in local markets throughout the world.
During its first year in the United States, the company established its American headquarters in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and opened three regional sales offices in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York. In 2007, Osstem created five additional branches in Washington, DC, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, and San Francisco. Osstem’s headquarters will also be building an adjoining state-of-the-art manufacturing facility with the goal that, within 3 years, all Osstem implant products sold in the USA will be “Made in the USA.”
THE INNOVATOR AS EDUCATOR
Despite strong competition and cultural differences, the secret of the company’s global success can be attributed to product innovation, superior quality, and—perhaps most importantly—an almost religious dedication to providing the most comprehensive clinician education in the industry.
Officially named after the famous Apsun Dental Implant Research & Education Center in Seoul, South Korea, the AIC Education Program is world-renowned as providing the most comprehensive, hands-on implant training available. The company has educated more than 5,000 dentists at AIC facilities across the globe, and is continuing its mission stateside. Beginning this year, AIC facilities will be constructed within close proximity of each regional sales office to make it convenient and cost-effective for clinicians served by each region to obtain the comprehensive, hands-on implant training they require. Each AIC facility will offer year-round implant courses at two different levels. The basic implant course will teach dentists to identify implant cases, develop treatment plans, and place and restore basic implants from start to finish. The advanced implant course is focused on bone grafting and sinus lift procedures.
OSSTEM MEETING USA 2007
The annual Osstem Meeting is a popular event that began in Korea in 2004, but is now held in several locations throughout the world each year, including India, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Malaysia. In 2007, more than 15,000 dental professionals across the globe attended Osstem Meetings, which include highly informative lectures and panel discussions from some of the industry’s top implant experts.
The theme of the first Osstem Meeting held in the United States this past November was “The New Definition of Reliability in Dentistry Today.” In an effort to develop the most captivating curriculum to support the central theme, Osstem polled key opinion leaders and research companies to develop a list of relevant topics affecting dentists today. The company invited five internationally known speakers to join its academic team and present a full day of dynamic lectures and debates. Between panel sessions, attendees visited a variety of informative product kiosks featuring Osstem’s innovative and reliable implant products. Leading dental manufacturers, such as Hu-Friedy and KaVo, who partner with Osstem to provide complete implant solutions, had products on display and information available for participants.
Osstem Meeting USA 2007 officially opened with an address by US Managing Director Seungwoo Song, who emphasized that Osstem’s success is based on reliability, superior implant education, and in establishing a personal relationship with its customers. According to Mr. Song, “Our sales team is dedicated to each and every dentist who they work with, offering them the most personalized and efficient services possible.”
Five Dynamic Lecturers
The meeting featured five of the international dental community’s leading implant experts: Dr. Arnold Weisgold, Dr. Peter Hunt, Dr. Hessam Nowzari, Dr. David Han, and Dr. Yong-Seok Cho.
Dr. Weisgold’s topic, “Esthetic and Gingival Considerations for the Anterior Implant Restoration,” focused on the unique features that impact the esthetic and gingival management of the interior implant restoration. He moderated an interactive discussion on how the periodontal biotype is as much a factor in a successful implant outcome as the actual fixture po-sition. Part of the discussion dealt with the controversy about how to determine when it is best to retain a tooth with endodontic therapy, or when it is more ap-propriate to extract it and replace it with an implant.
“The Environment for Implantology” by Dr. Hunt examined how no implant can function successfully without being fully incorporated into the surrounding region. During this lecture, he explained how to create a comprehensive site rehabilitation plan to ensure positive implant outcomes—even in what appear to be hopeless-looking cases. He stressed what he described as “the critical need for implants to be provided in the right place and the right time.”
The esthetic outcome of multiple anterior adjacent implants presents a major challenge. How to successfully address this challenge was the topic of the lecture “Multiple Edentulous Sites in the Maxillary Anterior: A Clinical Evaluation.” During this session, Dr. Nowzari evaluated the relationship between peri-implant cellular variables, such as inflammatory, hemopoietic, and immunomodulatory properties, and how they can contribute to bone and papillae loss. He also explained how the composition and design of dental implants can be contributing factors to immune response and bone loss when a bacterial infection cannot be readily identified.
In “Practical Applications of Immediate Loading,” Dr. Han helped dentists weigh the pros and cons of incorporating immediate implant loading procedures into their practices. In fact, before considering immediate loading, Dr. Han suggested that dentists ask themselves who really benefits from the procedure—the patient or the clinician? He also asked them to consider whether the benefit of a shorter treatment plan outweighs the clinical and financial risks of complications. If it is decided that immediate loading is the best course of action, Dr. Han also highlighted the many critical aspects and advanced techniques that need to be considered to ensure positive patient outcomes.
Although the maxillary sinus graft technique was introduced more than 30 years ago, it remains a challenge for many of today’s general practitioners. In his lecture, “Easy and Fine Sinus Graft Technique,” Dr. Cho, director of Apsun Dental Clinic, explained how his own trial-and-error experiences during hundreds of procedures led him to develop a highly successful sinus graft protocol. Dr. Cho freely shared his insights and secrets for performing easier, faster, cost-effective, and predictable sinus graft surgery, which were well received by novices and experienced clinicians alike.
IMPLANTING IN AMERICA
Already an international leader in implant products, Osstem is investing heavily in the United States to help American dentists meet the growing demand for implants and achieve successful patient outcomes.
Many other companies try to merely push their products into a new market. Osstem has succeeded by taking a different approach. Despite any initial cultural or language differences within the international dental marketplace, Osstem appears to have struck a universal chord by backing its innovative and reliable implant products with the highest level of localized service, support, and education.