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An Interview with Heraeus Dental
P. Christopher Holden, President
Inside Dentistry (ID): What do you see as the most significant changes in the oral healthcare arena over the past 5 to 10 years?
P. Christopher Holden (PCH): Above all else, the intelligence of the consumer and the preference for the type and kind of care he or she wishes to have is most astonishing—and this occurrence clearly is not just a fad, it appears to be well rooted and will change the way care is delivered. Additionally, treatment methods are beginning to merge more closely than ever before due to an overlap of technology, as evidenced with so called “digital dentistry.”
ID: How, internally and in the broader marketplace, has your company responded to these changes?
PCH: The patient is a manager, partner, and influencer in her/his own healthcare decisions. We seek to understand what, why, and how patients seek to be treated. Important in all of this is to fuse the desires of the patient with the treatment requirements as set forth from the professional’s point of view—our effort to support this evolving phenomenon through our clinical technologies, our communication efforts, and professional training events—has become a clear focus for Heraeus Dental.
ID: What do you see as your biggest responsibility to the marketplace, and why does your choice rank as your top priority?
PCH: Without doubt, our first priority is to provide both professionals and patients alike with safe and efficacious technologies and materials that enable dentists to educate their patients. Heraeus empowers dental professionals to provide patients with the most natural-looking restorations while respecting a healthy and conservative approach to clinical dentistry. We then strive to provide easier, faster, and more affordable technologies so that more people may have access to care.
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?
PCH: We see the need for better preventive and diagnostic technologies for the North American market along with a firm need for greater access to care. While a number of current technologies are more than adequate for their role, we know that new technologies are necessary in the fields of bio screening and cancer detection. We hope to play a role in these areas, as they still are not fully part of the routine tasks associated with dental healthcare.
ID: What do you think is the best approach to research, development, and ultimate delivery of needed advancements?
PCH: Dental is small when compared with healthcare in general. The more advanced screening methods and technologies have been centered in the healthcare sector—with this comes a great deal of financial resource—be it private as well as from the government. We need to collaborate more with research institutions, the National Institutes of Health, as well as with individuals in order to discover, test, and develop the most appropriate technologies. Heraeus products are used globally, in a multitude of health-related treatments and that is only possible through assessing needs, testing, collaboration with industry thought leaders, and having end users and patient feedback built into the design of our offerings. It is only through this collective process that an exchange of information can be discussed and acted upon to ensure that new products are developed to ultimately meet the needs of our customers.
Also, the average dentist needs to be more aware of what is happening. I speak with a large number of customers. Rightly so, most are focused on the health of their practices. And yet, for new, cutting-edge technologies to be embraced, we need a knowledgeable profession as it pertains to these advancements.
ID: How is your company helping to resolve the challenges facing dentistry and oral healthcare today?
PCH: Our obvious place is to provide new technologies, to train against the newest clinical techniques, and to highlight the most current standards of care, among other things. However, we believe we have an obligation to do more. At a time when a lot of people are worried about themselves, their families, and what they are going to get out of life, we believe more importance needs to be placed on giving back to society and, in particular, to those in greatest need.
As a result of seeing ourselves with having a greater purpose than just making dental products, we have chosen to generously give resources (time, money, and energy) to two primary charities: Heraeus Dental is a proud underwriter of the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation (NCOHF). We also donate a percentage of sales of Venus White (our tooth whitening line) to the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
There are more than 20 million children in this country who do not have real access to oral healthcare. The NCOHF is dedicated to eradicating childhood dental disease. Each year, the Foundation reaches millions of children every year to defeat this third-world disease in a first-world nation.
With nearly 80% of our industry comprised of women, breast cancer is one of the most important issues facing our industry. We believe we have a calling to continue sounding the bell of awareness while providing resources at the point of attack to stop this deadly killer. We invite all who are interested to join our efforts. Please contact us at (800) 431-1785 to learn more.