Innovative products help dentists in a ‘worthy purpose,’ says Mark Clineff of Sybron
During a recent interview with Dental Tribune, Mark Clineff, general manager of SybronEndo, discussed the current state of the economy, how these challenging times are affecting dentists, and the important role that SybronEndo products play in helping dentists improve patient care.
Clineff has been general manager of SybronEndo since July 2007. Though relatively new to endodontics, he is no stranger to the dental industry. He started his career with Ormco, the orthodontic division of Sybron Dental Specialties, in 1975 as a sales representative calling on orthodontists in the Chicago area. Over the next 30-plus years, Clineff held numerous positions in sales and marketing with Ormco, the last being executive vice president of global sales.
Let’s start with the topic at the top of everyone’s mind these days: the economy. How is the current downturn affecting dentists?
A common challenge for endodontists and general dentists alike is reduced production in a downward economy. Many endodontists I speak with tell me they’re seeing fewer referrals from their traditional sources. Patients are putting off procedures as long as they possibly can, and with unemployment at near record levels many patients just don’t have the money or the insurance to afford necessary dental procedures. Attracting new business via promotional ideas and offering more services are two ways doctors are tackling this challenge.
General dentists will likely keep more endodontic procedures in-house during this downturn. Root canal therapy requires a high level of continuing education and technical skill. The challenges for the GP will be in diagnosis and when to refer to a specialist. A correct diagnosis, combined with the right choice of endodontic materials and techniques, will raise the probability of a healthy apical periodontium for the patient.
What are some of the other challenges faced today by endodontists and general dentists who perform root canal therapy?
The challenges for the endodontist and the GP are really quite different. The services endodontists offer will have to expand in the coming decade. This is due in large part to the use of implants as well as the improvement in endodontic materials and methods that now allow GPs to do more endo. Endodontists will have to stay on the cutting edge through continuing education and early adoption of new technologies to distinguish themselves from their peers. Those who take courses on sedation, implants, endodontic surgery and retreatment will rise to these new challenges. Those who adjust to this new reality will be the most desirable referral sources moving into the future.
How is SybronEndo addressing these challenges?
SybronEndo’s purpose is to assist the clinician in the preservation of natural dentition while eliminating patient pain. We are fortunate that our products can help the clinician save the natural tooth through endodontic treatment before considering replacement with an implant or extraction. Our tagline as an organization is “Safe files, superior fills.” If we can continue to develop breakthrough products, such as the extremely safe Twisted Files (TF) and superior filling methods like the Elements Obturation Unit (EOU), then we are on the right track. Our clinicians have a very worthy purpose, and we are fortunate to help them ensure higher endodontic success rates now and moving into the future. SybronEndo must remain committed to developing technology and products that drive patient and doctor satisfaction, increased efficiency and reduced patient discomfort. And we remain committed to providing hands-on courses around the country to enhance the understanding of endodontic treatment and the proper use of today’s new materials.
SybronEndo introduced its TF instruments in April 2008. What are you hearing from your clinician customers who have started using TF?
When clinicians talk, we listen. The message was clear that the customer wanted a rotary NiTi file that separated less than the competition, cut better and was more flexible. And after several years of research and development, our engineers created a file that delivers everything asked for. Pre-market demand for this file was the highest we have seen for any SybronEndo product in history. Once the files were available, demand far outstripped supply. Today TFs are our fastest-growing file system, and the potential for 2009 is even greater. In response to this high demand, we are increasing our production capabilities and will be introducing additional sizes in 2009. We have seen the bulk of these customers switching from competitive file systems. Many have told us that the TF is the strongest file they have ever used and that they are using considerably fewer files in the shaping process. You can’t go online to talk about endodontics without hearing some new convert raving about the TF.
The biggest hurdle has been that doctors have to learn a new technique that requires less pressure, fewer files and fewer separations. But once they get the feel of the TF, they become converts. We are proud to have introduced an ultra-premium file system that actually over-delivers on its promises. The TF is an innovation that will help define the future of endodontic shaping for years to come.
With all the excitement surrounding TF, where does that leave K3 files?
As I indicated earlier, a large number of our TF customers came on board from competitive file systems. That, combined with significant international demand for rotary files this year, was a key driver of double-digit growth for the K3 line. This bodes well for the K3 franchise, as many clinicians feel it is the most durable ground nickel titanium file on the market. K3 is a great alternative for those looking for value and safety.
What can you tell us about Real Seal One Bonded Obturation System featuring Reslion technology? How is this product going to make treatment easier for clinicians and outcomes better for patients?
On 1 August 2008, Pentron joined the Sybron Dental Specialties family. One of Pentron’s greatest assets is Resilon, a synthetic alternative to gutta-percha that has proven through clinical review and scientific investigation to be superior to gutta-percha. Since that time, SybronEndo launched Real Seal One Bonded Obturators (RS1), which is the next generation in carrier-based filling for the root canal. All the components of RS1 (made with Resilon)—sealer, filler and core—are resin-based materials and bond with each other to form a superior seal inside the patient’s tooth. This seal is important for the patient because it keeps bacteria from reinfecting the tooth. The end result is an RCT that can potentially last a lifetime! Clinicians like RS1 because it’s easy to use and increases the likelihood of patient satisfaction by reducing the chances of a failed root canal. Endodontic specialists like it because it’s easier to retreat than competitive products, and the dual radiopacity enables them to see the core/material interface on their diagnostic radiograph.
With all the growing excitement surrounding dental implants these days, what does that say about the future of endodontics? Is the market shrinking?
Both procedures have similar success rates over the long term. However, root canal therapy clearly requires less follow-up and gives the patient a result that can last a lifetime. Recent data suggest that implants have a higher percentage of postoperative complications.
While implants have their place and purpose, they cannot improve upon natural dentition. The cost for implants, both long-term and short-term, are significantly higher than traditional endodontic procedures. In today’s economic climate and for the near future, I believe that SybronEndo is in a great position for growth.
The aging US population is going to need more root canals as they grow older. So the market is not shrinking. It is healthy and growing.
What is SybronEndo doing to improve demand for endodontics in a world where implants are getting more and more popular?
As long as SybronEndo can create products that drive clinician satisfaction in three key areas—clinical satisfaction, increased efficiency, and reduced patient discomfort—we believe we will be a key player in developing and marketing innovations that improve success rates and increase demand for endodontics.
Is there anything you would like to add?
It is exciting to everyone at SybronEndo that our products help save natural dentition, alleviate pain and manage dental trauma. We believe our clinicians have a worthy purpose, and we feel very fortunate to be able to partner with them to fulfill this worthy endeavor. The culture and environment at SybronEndo is one of a young and growing specialty company dedicated to innovation with a winning attitude.
Thank you for this interview.