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Fun, Collaborative Education at exocad Insights

Posted on Friday, October 14, 2022

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez visited the Meliá hotel in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, during the first week of October, but it was the conference at the adjacent Palma Congress Center that drew the largest crowds of the day: exocad Insights 2022.

In its first year in the resort town after two previous events in Darmstadt, Germany, the two-day educational event featured more than 700 attendees from over 45 countries, along with 53 exhibitors. “It is really a very international event,” exocad CEO Tillmann Steinbrecher said. “This is something I am very happy about. That was the idea.” The event featured noncommercial lectures—some even focusing more on analog dentistry than digital—interspersed with information about exocad and its partners. “We want the community to see the full range of possibilities that digital technology provides in dentistry,” Steinbrecher said. “The audience consisted of people who were already tech-savvy and use digital technology, but we wanted to put them in position to make the most of it—to fit the different pieces together and create workflows that are efficient and consistent. This is really something that our open-architecture platform enables: combining different technologies from different vendors in a seamless way that ultimately provides the best possible opportunity both in the laboratory and in the clinic.”

Exocad used the meeting to introduce its new DentalCAD Rijeka 3.1, with 45 new features and more than 85 improvements. There was also a sneak preview of the yet-to-be-released exoplan Rijeka. “Our main focus has been on productivity,” Steinbrecher said. “When we talk to laboratories and clinicians, one of the challenges that they are facing is finding and retaining qualified staff, so anything that helps technicians and dentists to be more efficient and to do more with the staff they have is something that is of importance to us.” Integrations also were announced with iTero™ intraoral camera and NIRI images as well as with Ivoclar’s Ivotion™ Denture System—among other new capabilities within the software. “As a newcomer to exocad, I find it really exciting because there is as much as you want to use or as little as you want to use,” said Lori Trost, DMD, of Red Bud, Illinois. “The nuances allow you to really create an accurate, transformational product for your patient. It helps make you a better dentist, and at the end of the day, that’s why we are all here.” Various other companies discussed their new or existing integrations with exocad as well. "In a world of information overload, it is a refresing perspective to attend a product-centric event to see how industry partners specifically integrate their products with the focal product," said Inside Dental Technology Editorial Advisory Board member Chris Brown, BSEE, owner of Michigan-based Aclivi Consulting. "Additionally, Insights always provides great opportunities to chat with and hear perspectives from other high-level users from around the world. It is a truly unique and wonderful program to attend."

The main stage featured six lectures—three by technicians, two by dentists, and one by a dentist-technician team. Dentists and technicians walked side-by-side on the exhibit floor, chatted with each other during breaks, and learned together in the main-stage and breakout sessions. “I saw more dental technicians here alongside the dentists than at other shows recently, which gets me excited,” said Sean Han, CDT, CEO of Master’s Arch in Phoenix, Arizona. Trost, who lectured on the main stage about digital dentures, agreed that the laboratory presence was noticeable. “I find the joint education to be very motivating because I believe that we need to have an amazing relationship with our laboratory partners in order to deliver great care to our patients,” Trost said. “There has never been a better time to be in dentistry. This level of digital collaboration has allowed laboratories to help dentists more in delivering incredible products—better, longer-lasting restorations with more efficient workflows. Being here with so many great minds, teasing out great information, and learning so many pearls of wisdom is really fun.”

Exocad Chief Commercial Officer Novica Savic said the collaborative nature of the event was no accident. “It is all about collaboration,” Savic said. “Let’s collaborate and let’s move together.” Savic added that one of his team’s objectives this year was to vary the content of the education beyond just showing cases. For example, renowned technician Sascha Hein, MDT, presented on the intricacies of color in general and how it impacts shade matching. “It is nice to see fantastic cases, but for two full days, it can get boring,” Savic said. “We wanted a different approach. We asked every speaker to share their path. How did you manage to become digital? What were the barriers? How did you overcome them?”

Savic set the tone for the entire meeting during his introductory remarks when he humorously stripped off his dress shirt to reveal a new t-shirt that the company is selling for charity. “I love the idea that we can laugh,” Trost said. “The opening video was so motivating. I was smiling the entire time because it spurs those on who may be sitting on the fence about joining the party; they should join the party because there are a lot of good guests. I talked to some amazing people here who just see a path, and they want to work together for the common good of delivering better products to patients.” Indeed, Savic noted that the goal of the event was simple. “We have one vision: to push digital dentistry to the next steps,” Savic said.

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