September 2009, Volume 30, Issue 7
Published by AEGIS Communications
The Karl Schumacher Dental Instrument Company Focuses on Quality and Craftsmanship
The Karl Schumacher Dental Instrument Company has been selling dental and surgical instruments internationally since 1947. Karl Schumacher died in 1989, leaving control of the operations to his grandchildren. President Claude Robert has been working for the company since 1978 and is proud that his sons represent the fourth generation in this family-owned business.
“We have always worked closely together with dentists both in the United States and Germany, where our instruments are manufactured, to research and develop new product lines,” Robert says.
Simply put, Schumacher’s corporate philosophy is about listening to the customer. “Ours is a very hands-on management style,” Robert explains. “The owners of Schumacher are often found working the convention booth and taking calls from and personally calling on customers. We hear their needs first hand.”
Schumacher always tests prototypes for new designs with practitioners, relying on their feedback. Finished designs are then tested by independent evaluators. In addition, the company works closely with several prominent lecturers in the areas of extraction, ridge augmentation, and soft-tissue repair.
“I feel that our whole philosophy—from the personnel managing the convention booth, to our print advertising, to the surgical videos on our Web site—is geared toward the enhancement of the practitioner’s understanding of the benefits of our philosophy and instrument designs rather than simply toward sales of the product,” Robert notes.
What makes Schumacher instruments unique? “That age-old factor—quality. The quality of the craftsmanship,” says Robert.
“As someone who has spent a lot of years making instruments and repairing many other brands, I can tell you that it’s hand craftsmanship that makes all the difference. It’s a really time-consuming process and requires the long-term training of a very skilled craftsman. I’ve known very few people who could correctly sharpen, say, a rongeur. It’s incredibly difficult.”
Many Karl Schumacher instruments are specifically designed for implant and tooth extraction procedures. Schumacher’s Apical Retention Forceps are ergonomically designed to reduce hand and finger fatigue, can withstand sterilization without dulling, and are guaranteed for life. The PerioTomes are double-ended cutting instruments with a knifelike blade that is titanium-nitride coated, which preserves the edge and provides some flexibility. The Proximators are very thin, sharp, single-ended cutting instruments.
“We have had great success with products particularly related to the preservation of extant bone,” Robert notes. “Schumacher was the first company to specifically develop a line of extraction instrumentation that preserved bone through the idea that the tooth ideally should escape its bony encasement occlusally in a straight path of egress. We designed the PerioTomes, Apical Retention Forceps, and Proximators with this philosophy in mind.”
The availability of bone to stabilize the implant is perhaps the greatest factor in the success of the treatment plan, according to Robert.
“Each quadrant of the mouth poses unique challenges; the proximity of the sinus in the upper posterior or the thinness of a resorbed ridge in the esthetic zone of either jaw are a couple of examples,” Robert says. The rapid advancement of imaging techniques and software, coupled with new and varied implant designs to meet placement challenges in less-than-ideal sites, has given the practitioner a whole new set of tools for implant dentistry.
Robert attributes the growth of implant dentistry to the wide variety of continuing education courses and other hands-on learning experiences available to dentists today.
“The fact is, many dentists completed their formal training during the infancy of implant dentistry. In addition to the clinical postgraduate courses now available, there are also numerous resources for developing case-acceptance skills. Many patients have long and trusting relationships with their primary dentist. The extent to which their dentist is able to see the treatment plan through all phases can be a huge trust factor. Plus, the dentist best understands the patient’s personal history and priorities, making him or her the ideal advocate for the patient’s personal needs and wants.”
The company is working on a range of hard- and soft-tissue instruments to meet the challenges of ridge and soft-tissue augmentation. Specifically, they’re developing an implant placement guide that simply demarcates ideal mesiobuccal as well as crestal-width placement. “We are also developing a unique, controlled-ridge splitting system for bone augmentation,” Robert says.
Karl Schumacher Dental Instruments
108 Lakeside Drive, Southampton, PA 18966
Phone: (800) 523-2427
Fax: (215) 322-7644