Dental companies adapt to corona crisis

Online educational platforms and communication tools are helping dental companies to navigate the corona crisis. (Image: This Is Me/Shutterstock)
TextJeremy Booth, DTI

NEW YORK, U.S.: A series of investor updates from major dental companies shows us that digital tools are now more important than ever for education and in customer service environments.

Most dental offices around the world closed their doors throughout March, which is typically the most important month in the first quarter for leading dental laser manufacturer BIOLASE. But President and CEO Todd Norbe said that the crisis had forced the company to adjust its operations. It had moved toward online educational forums to showcase its products, and Norbe said that these had been extremely well attended.

Straumann said that it had utilized the lockdown to gain new customers and train existing ones through its online educational platform, the Straumann Campus. The group hosted 12 webinars in April through the platform, and at least another seven webinars were due to take place between mid-May and mid-June. So far, these online educational initiatives have generated more than 200,000 visits and, together with its offering of online symposia, have helped the company to gain more than 20,000 customer leads.

CEO of Envista, Amir Aghdaei, also explained that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic had caused the company to change its focus and adjust to new realities. The company has been utilizing CEO town hall-style forums, whereby all 12,000 Envista employees can share immediate strategies and actions, and discuss these with the company’s leadership. He added that a new, virtual approach to customer support, training and dental education had been well received: “The response from customers far exceeded our expectations. Last month, we held the Nobel Biocare Global Symposium virtually for the first time and had a record 12,000-plus clinicians registered to learn from their peers about innovative implant and workflow solutions and best practices to grow their patient base. In the first quarter, we substantially increased online training and education content and frequency and had more than 200,000 participants across our operating companies,” he explained.

Business leaders in the dental industry have not minced their words: Henry Schein CEO Stanley M. Bergman has called the COVID-19 crisis “one of the most trying moments in modern history for everyone.” And Straumann Group CEO Guillaume Daniellot commented that “Coronavirus has left its mark on the past months and we must be prepared to address the impact of the pandemic on disposable incomes and consumer confidence in the coming quarters.” Dentsply Sirona CEO Donald Casey said that the pandemic had changed the market for dental practitioners and their patients, but he added that the company was seeing early signs of a spike in demand.