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Ultradent Corporate Profile 

Ultradent Corporate Profile

 

 
 
Tags:  affordable dentures  dentistry  affordable cosmetic dentistry  affordable dentistry 
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Published:  January 26, 2012
 
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Slide 1: Ultradent Corporate Profile By Thomas Giacobbi, DDS, FAGD Editorial Director, Dentaltown Magazine Ultradent founder and CEO, Dr. Dan E. Fischer, stands before a crowd of almost 150 dentists at Ultradent’s Esthetic Elite Congress, which are hosted a few times a year to provide practical continuing education and practice enhancement. Dr. Fischer looks out into the crowd with a familiar smile. He starts off his lecture with a few simple words about patients. In a very impassioned way, he says, “They light up our lives.” Almost at once, the crowd members nod their head in recognition. They understand the passion behind these words. For those who’ve met Dr. Fischer and been on the receiving end of an unexpected hug or pat on the back, they already understand that his passion extends beyond the dental chair. This passion exemplifies Dr. Fischer’s life, his quarter century in dental practice and the business he’s worked hard to build. 24 dentaltown.com April 2006
Slide 2: DT: Ultradent Products, Inc. has evolved into a global products manufacturer. Can you share the Ultradent story? Dr. Fischer: In school, I discovered that the greatest challenge for quality impressions was to adequately control bleeding and retract issues. The materials we had at the time were simply not adequate. As a result, I set up a lab in the basement of my home. After working on patients during the day, I would go to my lab at night and test different chemistries to stop bleeding – usually drawing blood on myself! My first endeavor was a hemostatic solution called Astringedent®. I soon learned that the delivery was critical to this technology, so the development of the syringe delivery system, the DentoInfusor, soon followed. My initial plan wasn’t to start a dental company. However, I soon learned that the only logical way to get this technology to dentists was through a quality dental company. In order to do this, I needed the support of my family to make the process possible. Most people don’t know that Ultradent started as a family company. The first manufacturing lot was processed on our kitchen table. It wasn’t long before we became FDA compliant with the appropriate facility, good manufacturing practices, etc. Ultradent grew rapidly in the 1980s, and now manufactures and packages more than 500 materials, devices and instruments. We are driven by the need to enrich the quality of life and improve human oral care. To meet that goal, Ultradent has become a global company, with distribution in more than 100 countries and subsidiaries in Germany, Italy and Brazil. This global perspective is an integral component of Ultradent’s vision. We also sponsor continuing education seminars and training, often inviting dentist, lecturer and student groups from all over to our facility for training on Ultradent’s latest products and techniques. In order to stay engaged with such professionals, I still maintain a part-time dental practice. In fact, I don’t think I would be as effective without the opportunity to continue connecting with my patients. DT: What does “minimally invasive” dentistry mean to you? Dr. Fischer: Over the years, I’ve learned the value of preserving and/or enhancing the natural dentition. We know that trauma to a tooth is additive. The more we cut a tooth, the more we weaken the tooth. If we continue to cut the tooth in the same manner over multiple years, we increase the probability that the vitality of the tooth will be lost. I define “minimally invasive” dentistry as; first, maximizing preventive dentistry; and second, relative to operative dentistry, facilitating treatment in ways that preserves as much of the patient’s original dentin and enamel as reasonably possible. With respect to the latter, it is important to be cognizant about alternatives in conventional dentistry such as maximizing the value of high-strength adhesives and quality composite materials. We must place a great emphasis on technologies that prevent and/or cure the infectious disease of caries. However, if we managed to find a cure for caries today, we’d still need more dentists! Changes in technology and lifestyles have enabled humans to live longer lives. The majority of our aging population, including baby boomers, will not be content with solutions such as dentures. I always say that teeth are like tires; they’re only good for so many miles before the treads wear out and the sidewalls fail. With the drive for esthetics and quality-of-life, particularly with regard to “smiles,” we have real challenges ahead of us to keep up with the pace. This requires us to rethink how we treat our patients. Our solutions must keep conservation of hard and soft tissues in mind. The new “minimally invasive, patient-centered” paradigm will require us to use new technologies to reach more people in varying socio-economic groups, providing affordable dentistry. We must invent and develop ways to deliver these exciting technologies to humans around the globe. Dentistry that incorporates a global vision should not only be affordable to patients, it also should provide dentists with a healthy income. Indirect procedures may require expensive laboratory fees or equipment such as a CEREC-type machines. For example, the owner of a CEREC may be required to generate a specific amount of restorations to pay for his or her equipment. In the specific case where the indirect is constructed by the laboratory, there is always a need to arrange a second appointment complete with a second injection, provisional removal, etc. We must consider other alterContinued on page 22 natives to be fair to ourselves and our patients! Adhesive systems and composite resins have continued to improve over the years. Studies have shown that these resins can wear as well as or close to natural enamel. These improvements can save us a great deal of time, but we must learn to appropriately prepare the substrate (dentin and enamel). This requires paying attention to all the potential contaminants, the use of quality, non-compromising adhesives (which seldom take longer to apply than compromising “quick” adhesives) and using care to place a quality, esthetic composite. Adhesive composite reconstructions often rival and in some cases exceed indirect restorations. The larger restorations are different than what we would typically call a “filling.” I feel the term “adhesive composite reconstruction” (ACR) is a much more accurate description. Continued on page 26 dentaltown.com April 2006 25
Slide 3: Ultradent Corporate Profile Continued from page 25 The clinician is providing much more of a service than just “filling a tistry. For a small repair, it is rare that anesthesia will be required. The hole.” procedure will typically only last a few minutes. As a result, repairability One may argue that a large, ACR can take a substantial amount often enables us to provide treatments at a lower cost to more of time when done correctly. I would say that an emphasis on keep- patients, providing us with the ability to reach lower income groups ing it practical can enable us to facilitate quality and esthetic care that and maintain profitability. The gorgeous part is that this type of denis affordable and can be achieved in less time. I also would suggest tistry is often what we’d prefer for ourselves, our families and our taking a closer look at the economic logic behind practicality. With a friends even if they could afford the high ticket solutions! As dentists, little practice, a dentist can reconstruct one to two proximal surfaces we are driven to protect our own enamel and dentin. We understand and one to two cusps in about 30-45 minutes. This estimate includes that the more we cut a tooth, the more we weaken the tooth and time for placement of one to two dentin cause its eventual loss in vitality. What could shades and an enamel shade. If using only one possibly be better than being able to provide a shade, we need to reconstruct in layers. Using consistent message to all patients, regardless of two to three different shades doesn’t take any economical status with the same level of longer. This type of restoration may cost the esthetics? For the long-lasting success in a cappatient $200 to $350 dollars compared to an italist society, there are two critical foundaindirect restoration which could range tions. First, we must be darn honest with a sinbetween $600 to $850 dollars. In making a gle clear and consistent message; and second, comparison, there are other costs that need to we must listen to the needs of those we serve. be considered such as the time required to These two requirements set the stage for a make an impression, fabricate a provisional, third very important foundation: establishing cement the provisional, clean up the excess quality caring relationships with our cement, etc. In the case of the laboratory propatient/customers. cedure, the patient will need to be rescheduled It is important to realize that “permanent” is for another appointment adding to the a falsehood in dentistry! We’ve called “definipatient’s inconvenience. The second appointtive” restorations “permanent” for years, but in ment will add to the overall cost by requiring a reality everything is temporary. In dentistry as in second injection, removal of the provisional, life, we’re simply buying time. With every age scouring the preparation, cleaning and fitting group, particularly with our aging population, the prosthesis complete with adjustments, poladhesive repairability enables us to “keep the ishing the restoration where it’s been adjusted tread on the tires” in caring ways to “restore the externally, isolating the tissues and again considewalls” with minimal invasive care. It also trolling the bleeding, etc. Occasionally, the lab enables our patients to remain dentate when the will have to add to the restoration or repair it alternative would be the complete loss of dentiprior to cementation. Next, the prosthesis will tion and replacement with dentures. be cemented and the excess cement will be Repairability is a virtual mandate for our aging removed. What is the cost of another operatory patients who are fragile in their overall health. setup complete with cleanup, disinfection, More invasive procedures have the potential to etc.? What is the laboratory cost or equivalent cause more harm in the systemic sense. CEREC cost? This is why it’s important to calculate net income. At the end of the day, profDT: How has technology influenced your itability must account for time, materials, overpractice? head, taxes, etc. And, at the end of the day, it is Dr. Fischer: The type of dentistry I the “net” not “gross” income that is important. practice today is substantially different than ACRs facilitate another modern requirethe type of dentistry I practiced as a young Dr. Fischer with Ultradent employee, Rosario ment in gorgeous ways, namely repairability. dentist in the 1970s. For example, when placFajardo. Repairability brings a rich new ethical meaning gold foils, I would spend multiple hours ing to dentistry. It should be our first choice in terms of options. on every restoration meticulously working through each step using Why? Repairability is a very important contributor to the “minimally anywhere from 20 to 30 different instruments per restoration. In my invasive” need. We’ve lived and practiced “total replacement den- early days, my goal was to practice as much full-mouth reconstruction tistry” for too long. Our tendency has been to replace an entire as possible. The ability to prepare 28 teeth in a day and cement 28 restoration every time we encounter a problem. This contributes to crowns in one to two weeks was the pinnacle of dentistry for me! the cumulative trauma of a tooth. With resins, we have the ability to Moving back to Salt Lake City, Utah caused quite a stir because my preserve the entire “old” composite that is still bonded to old dentin patient base changed to include large families, which presented speand/or enamel. New technologies and repairability together provide cial requirements. I also discovered that there weren’t a lot of people economic and caring “patient-centered” directions for operative den- who could afford full-mouth reconstruction. It wasn’t uncommon to Continued on page 28 26 dentaltown.com April 2006
Slide 4: Ultradent Corporate Profile Continued from page 26 place multiple quadrants of amalgam on a daily basis with a virtual procedure performed near the gingiva or subgingival should be per“copalite amalgam, copalite amalgam”-type production line. I often felt formed without controlling sulcular fluid. Ultradent’s hemostatic agents combined with cord and/or the Dento-Infusor became part of like an assembly line worker! Technology allowed me to find innovative ways to make old prac- my routine for controlling sulcular fluid. Ultradent is often referred to as the “syringe company.” It’s really tices more efficient. More specifically, I found that I could treat mulhard to beat the convenience of a syringe with tiple quadrants at the same time with directspecialty applicator tips for quickly and syringe delivery. While it was still important to dependably placing the right material in just address quadrants at the same time, the opporthe right spot and in just the right quantity. tunity to practice tooth preservation and We also benefit from “syringe hydraulics,” esthetic development caused me to finish my which enables us to deliver against pressure day with a sense of pride. This discovery when needed. With the speed at which we’re changed the way I practiced dentistry by leaps required to work today, it’s great that we don’t and bounds. It definitely prompted my effort have to open containers on our trays and counin researching and developing new ways to ters that are prone to spilling. Instead of going provide convenient delivery systems. back and forth between the dappen dish and In the early ‘90s, tooth bleaching became Ultradent’s first invention, Astringedent, the preparation, we can stay in the oral cavity an integral part of my practice and obviously a hemostatic solution. with a syringe-tip delivery. I found that using and important product family for Ultradent. syringe delivery saved me a great deal of time. The invention of comfortable bleaching trays As the demand for syringe-delivered prodheld in place by a sticky, viscous, long-lasting ucts grew, Ultradent developed an in-house bleaching gel (Opalescence®) made bleaching comfortable and affordable to the masses. This injection molding facility. Over the years, this invention has become the “golden standard” has allowed us to produce a variety of plastic today. In addition to raising esthetic awareness, materials and devices. These materials range the invention enabled dentists alike to change from syringe tips to all-purpose stacking conpeople’s lives with an affordable treatment. The tainers and medical kit covers. We even prodesire to have whiter teeth brought patients duce materials and devices for other companies. into the office who otherwise wouldn’t have scheduled an appointment. Having them in DT: We’ve heard a great deal about the the dental chair enabled us to reach out, edunon-profit organization sponsored by Opalescence, the “gold standard” in traycate and treat patients for other oral health Ultradent called Smiles for Diversity. Can delivered whitening. issues. It was definitely a win-win situation. you tell us more about this program? Dr. Fischer: At Ultradent, we strive to DT: Ultradent pioneered another segment improve the quality of life and health of indiin the industry being one of the first comviduals in our community. We contribute panies to manufacture syringe-packaged financially through charitable programs and by materials. Can you tell us more about this? donating dental products to humanitarian Dr. Fischer: The first area of significant efforts on an international level. Smiles for research for me was related to the subject of Diversity is a progressive outreach program controlling bleeding and tissue displacement, committed to countering challenging probor what is called “tissue management.” This lems such as intolerance and hate crimes. The research was driven by my love for full-mouth program promotes diversity and fosters multireconstruction. For every type of restoration, cultural awareness. Most recently, we’ve been the most critical issue is the gingival margin. Poor tissue management, actively involved in helping young men and women who’ve been especially when making impressions, is the major reason for inade- expelled from a cult-like polygamous community along the quate impressions. This has a direct translation to other issues, such Arizona/Utah border. as poor fitting crowns. Discovering the ability of ferric ion, first in Astringedent and now Conclusion More than just a syringe company, Ultradent is guided by a leader in ViscoStat®, used with the Dento-Infusor® to predictably obtain profound hemostasis dramatically changed the way I practice den- with a vision for minimally invasive dentistry and patient centered tistry. Using these tools, I was able to save a significant amount of treatment. The company continues to innovate with new products, time with each procedure and the quality of my impressions was vir- and if you should ever be in Utah, call ahead for a visit. “At tually without fault. At the same time, I embraced adhesive dentistry Ultradent, we’re excited about the future of our company and our and discovered that having quality control of not only bleeding but ability to make a difference,” says Dr. Fischer, “Thank you for taking also sulcular fluid was paramount. Because sulcular fluid is clear, we the time to get to know us better. If you’re ever near our facility, please often ignore it because it isn’t as readily seen as blood. No adhesive stop by. If you come around lunchtime, lunch is on us!” 28 dentaltown.com April 2006

   
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