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Fred Berk, Vice President and Principal of Pulpdent Corporation
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?
Fred Berk (FB): We are seeing technological advances, a growing awareness of the connection between oral health and general health, and an increasing emphasis on public health. We expect that oral healthcare will become available to greater numbers of people, and eventually insurance carriers will support this as a way to reduce related long-term healthcare costs. But there are not enough dentists to provide care to the underserved, so there is pressure to expand the procedures performed by dental auxiliaries.
We are also seeing many large public companies pulling back during the economic downturn and making decisions based on share value and quarterly profits. Innovation is coming from those smaller manufacturers who are not burdened by bureaucracy or leveraged financing, and who can make decisions quickly.
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?
FB: Pulpdent, at its core, is an R&D and manufacturing company. We are science- driven, and innovation and product development are our strengths. We have been successful in marketing our products worldwide under the Pulpdent brand, and we manufacture private brand items for several dozen companies. We are currently expanding our office, R&D, and manufacturing facilities to accommodate our growth.
We are also anticipating the much-needed emphasis on public health with initiatives that support this sector’s requirements for quality products at competitive prices. As prime manufacturers we have a price advantage, and we can deliver on time. Pulpdent is a lean and efficient organization, and we are well-positioned to meet the challenges of a changing market.
Question NO. 3
ID: What do you see as your biggest responsibility to the marketplace, and why does your choice rank as your No. 1 priority?
FB: Pulpdent has been a family owned and operated business since 1947. We grew up in dentistry, and our father’s dental office was our playground. Our employees are from all over the world and most have been with us for a long time. This is consistent with our core values and gives us a unique perspective that permeates our business and our thinking at every level.
Our biggest responsibility is to provide for the public health and welfare with exceptional products, courteous service, and technical know-how, and our No. 1 priority is to do what is right for our customers and staff.
The culture at Pulpdent is one of respect, tolerance, integrity, quality, and service. We carry this culture with us from the factory to the marketplace. We are dealing with customers in 90 countries with diverse cultural backgrounds. Our challenge is always to find those people with similar values. We gather like-minded people from around the world, we establish relationships based on trust, and we work together for the long-term.
We embrace our civic responsibility to contribute a measure of good to society. We have done well with this philosophy and approach to life and business.
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?
FB: In the area of prevention what is most needed is education. I was in Sweden for the FDI meeting in October 2008 where I learned that 80% of children are caries-free. The reason is that parents are educated about oral health and how to take care of their young children. We have to better educate the public.
Every child should have access to pit-and-fissure sealants, which have been shown to prevent caries. Embrace WetBond Pit and Fissure Sealant bonds to the moist tooth, eliminating the primary cause of sealant failure. Wet bonding is a tremendous advantage because it allows for placement on newly erupted teeth, which are most at risk and difficult if not impossible to isolate from moisture. A 6-year clinical study shows unsurpassed results for retention and caries prevention with Embrace. We have solved the pit-and-fissure caries problem; now we just need to apply what we know.
Innovation in restorative materials will address antimicrobial properties and dimensional stability. Investment in equipment and digital technology may slow down due to the unfavorable economic climate. Research suggests that there is information in the bacteria in the mouth that can be interpreted and used for diagnostic purposes, so we should expect innovation in diagnostics related to diseases such as cancer, diabetes, etc.
Question NO. 5
ID: There are many challenges facing dentistry and oral healthcare today. How is your company helping to resolve them?
FB: The dental profession and the industry that supports it are capable of providing exceptional care. But if it is true that only about half of Americans receive regular dental care, then we have to figure out how to deliver care to the other half.
We have always had a special interest in public health and the oral health of children in particular. Pulpdent promotes public health by giving away enough pit-and-fissure sealants every year to seal tens of thousands of teeth. These donations go to organizations that provide for underprivileged and underserved children throughout America.
Pulpdent sponsors the Harold Berk Award, which is given each year by Special Care Dentistry and the Academy of Dentistry for Persons with Disabilities to an individual who has shown outstanding leadership in the field of special care. These special needs patients are the forgotten ones, many of whom must be treated under general anesthesia.
Ultimately, we are committed to helping people lead happier, more productive lives. This is our upbringing, and we bring it to our business every day.
|The Pulpdent team.||The Pulpdent manufacturing machine for Flecta disposable mirrors.|
|Fred Berk |
Vice President and Principal,