An Interview with Keating Dental Arts
INSIDE DENTISTRY (ID): What do you see as the most significant changes in the oral healthcare arena over the past 5 to 10 years?
Shaun Keating (SK): The widespread acceptance and popularization of CAD/CAM-designed and milled restorations has aided us immensely in our ability to manufacture restorations that exhibit remarkably accurate and consistently tight tolerances for fit and finish at speeds that are unmatched. Of course, CAD/CAM opens the door to new products and materials such as a full range of zirconia restorations, milled titanium overdenture bars, and milled custom abutments. In the last 3 years, the technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. We are glad that we have made the investment in these technologies that are now an integral part of our daily operations.
ID: How, internally and in the broader marketplace, has your company responded to these changes?
SK: Within Keating Dental Arts, we saw an advantage in being early adopters of CAD/CAM technology. I see CAD/CAM as a way to help our team of Certified Dental Technicians (CDTs) be more efficient and productive. We trained our technicians on the newest hardware and software to help take our work to new levels of efficiency and accuracy. We saw positive results almost immediately. Our clients responded to our introduction of these new high-quality products, like our Keating Dental Zirconia (KDZ) line of restorations, and demand soared. Doctors really saw the value of an ultra-precise, metal-free, flat-rate restoration, and we have continued making it better every day.
ID: What do you see as your biggest responsibility to the marketplace, and why does your choice rank as your top priority?
SK: I feel our most important role is that of being a top-quality healthcare provider that our customers can depend on day in and day out. Ultimately though, our responsibility is helping our dentist-clients meet their patients’ needs and exceed their expectations. Each of our clients rely on us to be an integral part of their team, to work together in providing the best possible oral healthcare for their patients. That has always been a very predominant thought in my mind. Our collective duty as dental technicians is to improve the quality of a person’s life. It is the reason I started this laboratory and I do not see us ever losing sight of that fact or letting other priorities outweigh it.
ID: What product categories do you feel are most in need of innovation based on what is currently available?
SK: Digital impressions and shade taking. The earlier in the process that we can digitize the data, the better. Once digitized, the patient’s file will be more accurate and transferable than an analog impression, which provides for higher-quality outcomes. With a digital impression, the clinician gets immediate, real-time feedback on their preparation and clearance for the restoration they are prescribing for their patient. The digital file can also be uploaded to facilitate communication on treatment planning with colleagues and to expedite completion of the patient’s restoration. I believe that intraoral scanning will eliminate the need for dental models on many types of restorative cases long before many of us expect. The clinician will scan the patient for impression and shade. Once uploaded to their laboratory, an esthetic, well-fitting, monolithic crown or bridge will be fabricated and returned to their office—all without the need for a physical model.
ID: What do you think is the best approach to research, development, and delivery of needed advancements?
SK: Before we do anything, we listen to our customers, which is exactly what we did when we began development on our KDZ Bruxer. We actively listened to and understood what mattered to our doctors. What we heard was a desire for full-contour zirconia that actually looked like a natural tooth. If we had not taken the time to listen to feedback and really take it to heart, we would not have been able to bring an incredibly strong, esthetic zirconia product like the KDZ Bruxer to market and see the kind of success that we have had. Once we listened critically to what our customers wanted, making the KDZ Bruxer was the next natural step for us.
ID: How is your company helping to resolve the challenges facing dentistry and oral healthcare today?
SK: One of the biggest challenges we face in providing high-quality healthcare is effective communication. Improving its efficacy, in fact, is something that we dedicate a significant portion of our efforts to each day. We have an expert team of Technical Advisors at the laboratory whose role is to be a resource for our dentist/clients and to facilitate the communication between our customers and CDTs. We put a lot of emphasis on building meaningful relationships with every doctor and their office staff, which increases the communication quality in the process. We use every tool at our disposal, like digital photography and video, to convey things like shade and other subtleties clearly. When we are all on the same page, meeting expectations becomes easy and exceeding them becomes routine. Our philosophy is that better communication means fewer avoidable mistakes and superior patient care.