An industry perspective on the oral healthcare arena.
Dr. William R. Price, Founder
Question No. 1
Inside Dentistry (ID): Over the next decade, it is estimated that Americans will spend an estimated $40 billion on new or replacement dentures. What role is your technology playing in this rapidly changing field of dentistry?
Dr. William Price (WP): Simply put, Altadonics’ role is to enable dentists to better serve denture patients in less dentist time. Dentistry has made tremendous positive strides in the past decade. However, through personal experience I can tell you that some aspects of dentistry, namely removable prosthetics, have been slower to catch on to this trend. When we began clinical research on the Assurance™ Denture in 1999, the standard in denture technology was still largely based on a technique that was patented in 1870 by Goodyear. Today as we go to market with our patented technique, we find that the same time-consuming, 1870s technique remains as the accepted paradigm.
Question No. 2
ID: What differentiates the Altadonics Assurance Denture technique from the 1870 Goodyear denture-making process?
WP: It’s the Assurance Denture mold kit that produces an exact mold of a patient’s old comfortable denture which is then used to make a new denture now or at any time in the future. The secret to making a great denture is first understanding that it’s the patient’s proprioception that makes the denture comfortable. If the patient isn’t comfortable it doesn’t matter what teeth or material you use, they aren’t going to wear it. The age-old process destroys the stone mold thus losing all of the important proprioception landmarks that should go into making future dentures comfortable. Altadonics patented the Assurance Denture as a medium that re-creates this vital "comfort information" now and in the future. As one of the dentists who participated in our clinical research noted, "once you get the denture comfortable, why would you want to risk losing that information?"
Question No. 3
ID: What would you say is the biggest value Altadonics offers to dentists who use the Assurance Denture services?
WP: Happy denture patients in less time. We enable this by making the denture process "easy." As one of my old professors in dental school once said, "The key ingredient in making something easy is to take the hard out of it." We took this saying to heart and approached the design phase of the Altadonics process with one goal: To make the dentist’s experience with Altadonics and the Assurance Denture simple and easy.
Question No. 4
ID: What were the key ingredients to accomplishing your goal of an easy denture process?
WP: We spent a tremendous amount of time observing dentists using the old process and asking them what makes the old way so tough. The list was long. From new impressions, new borders, and new bite rims to new tooth placement, new facial and lingual contours, and so on. We concluded that all of these undertakings were not only challenging but required an investment of the most precious asset of a dentist’s practice—the dentist’s time. We designed the Assurance Denture process so that anyone in the office can pour the mold; special rooms and costly equipment are not needed. Quite often in dentistry you have to make a tremendous financial investment upfront. Additionally, you then have to dedicate valuable time toward understanding the process and figuring out how to integrate it into your office flow. Factor all of these things in and the payoff of a new technique is often months if not years away. Now, with the Assurance Denture, the molding kit is all that dentists need to advance their removable prosthetics into the 21st century. The compo-nents are pre-measured and arrive at the office in the kit. Once the mold is created it leaves in the same box; no expensive or bulky machines are necessary. All new accounts are provided with an easy-to-follow 4-minute DVD showing how to mix and pour the molding material. We knew that we had accomplished our goal when the camera crew that shot the video was able to create a mold.
Question No. 5
ID: Along the same line, what do patients have to say about the value of the Altadonics Assurance Denture Service?
WP: Without a doubt, "fewer office visits" and "a comfortable fit" are the most common values we hear about. Once the mold is made and shipped back to us for making a new denture, and safe storage, we are capable of providing that patient with a comfortable replacement denture for the rest of their life. With our mold, dentists can have our laboratory create a simple copy, a new denture with new teeth and healthier acrylic, and even reline without destroying the patient’s vital "comfort information." Because we capture and store the comfort of the old denture in our mold, the dentist can provide these services to their patients in 80% less clinical time, saving the patient multiple trips to the office.
Question No. 6
ID: What does Altadonics Corporation see as some of the largest challenges facing the denture marketplace over the next 20 years?
WP: In a word, complacency. Old paradigms are easy to repeat and difficult to change. Given the tremendous strides our profession has made in advancing oral healthcare in the United States, we were surprised to see a large and growing population of denture wearers. Both government and independent academic studies suggest that as many as 2 million new den-ture wearers enter the denture marketplace each year. Additionally, 50 million people currently wear some type of removable oral prosthesis in the United States. Most existing prostheses are more than 15 years old and in serious need of replacement. Despite these surprising facts we are finding that fewer dentists are offering removable services and that dental schools have cut back on the removable requirements for graduation. This is a challenge we intend to help overcome by making the denture making process easier on the patient, and more predictable and profitable for the dentist.
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|Dr. William R. Price |