3 quotes give peek into what may come for dental industry

2020 05 20 17 31 5439 Crystal Ball Predict 400

There is no question that these are historic times for our society, as well as the dental industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected dental practices, as well as the manufacturers and dealers who help dental businesses churn along and the dental meetings where products are shown and education is gathered.

So, what's next? What's coming? What are the biggest things that could affect our industry this summer and beyond? Those are some of the questions we have been trying to answer here at DrBicuspid.com by listening to some of the experts in the field.

We have heard some interesting quotes and thoughts on what is happening and what could be to come for our industry. Below, I would like to share with you three that stood out to me, as well as offer a bit of my thoughts on the quotes and their context.

Kathleen O'Loughlin, DMD, executive director, ADA

"[The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)] has informed us that they are updating their guidance and hopefully the approval process won't take too long. It can take anywhere from a day to a few weeks, but they did tell us this week on a call that they have submitted their updated guidance, which will take into account the fact that practices in various states are opening, and are in various stages of opening."

Dr. O'Loughlin said this during a recent teleconference call the ADA had with the various dental publications that cover our industry. There has been a great deal of confusion about some of the wording from the CDC when it comes to dentistry and guidance on what should or shouldn't be happening, as well as how it should be happening, within a practice.

Hopefully, this updated verbiage from the CDC will put to rest some of that confusion. Dentists such as Andrew Bagley, DDS, (see his story of reopening his practice) have said one of the most arduous parts of kickstarting their business has been navigating the many layers of sometimes conflicting guidance and advice at the local, state, and national levels.

Here's hoping the words from CDC will be clear, concise, and helpful for all of you. Here is where you can find the updated CDC guidance, issued just before the Memorial Day weekend began.

Amir Aghdaei, president and CEO, Envista Holdings

"With regards to the portfolio rationalization, there are areas of the business that will be more impacted than others as we emerge from the existing crisis, particularly in capital-intensive areas like treatment units. For this reason, we have announced our intention to exit Pelton & Crane and are in the process of taking additional actions to reduce our exposure to capital equipment."

This quote is from an earnings conference call with Envista management. In December, Envista, the dental spinoff of Danaher, became a fully independent company with some impressive dental names under its portfolio, including KaVo Kerr and Nobel Biocare.

Rumors had been swirling for some time about the fate of Pelton & Crane, and this wording made it official as the company now faces a very uncertain future. The company made it official with a post on Friday.

Also interesting was the thought on Envista reducing exposure to capital equipment. With dentists facing reduced goals and income projections in the near-term future, this will likely equate into equipment purchases being postponed. Those decisions being put off will affect both the dealer and manufacturer sides of the equation.

Dirk Jeffs, president and CEO, Ultradent Products

"The crisis has given us the need and opportunity to rethink many things about our business. It causes us to think about what expenses we cut and may never need to bring back. Leveraging technology may help us in that regard. I don't know if we'll ever get back to the travel levels we were at precrisis. The crisis has also caused us to want to pay close attention to what might have shifted in terms of customer behaviors and expectations. We'll be watching that closely, things like how and where they seek education and what sales calls might look like in the future. How will our customers want to order products? We'll be keeping a close eye on that."

It's no surprise that dental businesses have been looking for ways to reduce costs in various areas during the crisis, as Jeffs calls it. It may also not be a surprise that those businesses won't be anxious to implement pre-COVID strategies quickly with dental practices just beginning the recovery phase.

Can a salesperson get the same kind of buy-in from a practice with a virtual lunch and learn as he or she could from an in-person one? Can dental businesses make up for any lost revenue from in-person trade shows being postponed or canceled? The answers to these two questions will likely pave the way for what industry business looks like in 2021 and how dealers and manufacturers will work with their customers moving forward.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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