Ronald A. Bulard, DDS, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Product Manager—Implants
QUESTION NO. 1
Inside Dentistry (ID): The dental industry and the oral healthcare arena have been changing rapidly within the past 5 to 10 years. What do you see as the most significant of those changes?
Ronald A. Bulard (RB): Acceptance of the efficacy of denture-stabilization techniques as opposed to pastes and gels, general dentists realizing that they are perfectly capable of placing implants, and offering patients an attractive smile at reasonable prices are all significant changes. Also, immediate-loading implants have changed that aspect of dentistry. I believe that this movement will continue to grow because of the use of three-dimensional (3-D) imaging in the dental industry. Three-dimensional imaging has revolutionized the way dentists diagnose and treatment plan, and the innovation of 3-D implant software has enabled dentists from all disciplines to approach implant dentistry with confidence and precision.
QUESTION NO. 2
ID: In what ways—both internally and in dealing with the broader oral healthcare marketplace—has your company responded to these changes?
RB: Recognizing that conventional implants are rapidly becoming a commodity product, we created ENDURE, a price/quality implant that is an industry leader. IMTEC also is the world leader in mini-dental implants, garnering over 65% of the global market. Noting that the specialist implant market is relatively static, IMTEC expanded the market to general dentists, and as a result, our company enjoys 30% annual growth. We have also monitored the worldwide need for better-valued, higher-quality dental products, and have aggressively met that demand. We strive to be proactive and to have a rapid response to marketplace needs, domestic and foreign. It is possible for a company to offer innovative, top-quality products at an affordable price, and IMTEC is doing exactly that with the MDI® and ENDURE implant systems.
IMTEC’s recent merge with HYTEC, Inc (Los Alamos, NM), has positioned the company not only to participate in the 3-D imaging and software market, but to be a leader in that field. Dentists worldwide can expect IMTEC to be their source for implant empowerment as we will not only offer our 3-D CT scanner, ILUMA, but also the 3-D treatment-planning software they need to create surgical guides, custom prosthetics, virtual models, and many other tools that will bring their implant practice to the world of digital dentistry.
QUESTION NO. 3
ID: What do you see as your biggest responsibility to the marketplace, and why does your choice rank as your #1 priority?
RB: To meet clinician needs with a variety of price/quality products in a timely manner is our top priority. Dentists are business-oriented as a rule, and are always searching for good values. Offering high value in product and service is our highest calling. Training is a must and we address that need.
Implants are an investment on the part of the practitioner and the patient. Both want the best value for the money they invest in the treatment, and with IMTEC, they can always count on finding that value. Dentists also value solutions that are simple to administer, and though implants can be complicated, IMTEC has found ways to simplify surgical and prosthetic protocols. For example, when we ask our customers what they value most about our implant systems, the majority point to its simplicity of use.
QUESTION NO. 4
ID: What product categories—whether preventive, restorative, operative, auxiliary, diagnostic, etc—do you feel are most in need of innovation based on what’s currently available?
RB: Vendors of dental specialty products must recognize that for most patients, time is a precious commodity. The ability to deliver timely products and services with a minimum interruption in the patient’s daily life is a must. Patients in the United States will readily pay for good values that are delivered in a timely fashion. Asking patients to enroll in a long-haul treatment program will usually result in a rejection. People all over the world desire an attractive smile, so cosmetic dentistry will continue to grow and innovate.
QUESTION NO. 5
ID: What do you see as the best approach to the research, development, testing, and ultimate delivery to the market of such needed advancements?
RB: Clinical research and testing, while costly and time-consuming, is a critical requirement for new products. Dentists are demanding consumers, and they want studies and data before they will invest in a new offering. Companies who do not devote adequate resources to research and development, while simultaneously maintaining a well-organized, redundant quality system, will experience a lot of prob-lems. It is easy for a company to take the “me too” approach to product development. At IMTEC we recognize the positive innovations in the field, but we also believe it is important to expand upon those innovations, not just duplicate them. Clinical research, while costly and time-con-suming, is key. Using clinical research and referencing customer feedback has been essential in making the MDI implant system the leading mini-implant system worldwide.
QUESTION NO. 6
ID: There are many challenges facing dentistry and oral healthcare today. How is your company helping to resolve them?
RB: Dentists today confront issues that their predecessors never dreamed of 10 to 20 years ago. A successful dentist must be a good entrepreneur, be up-to-date on tax and finance issues, and actively engage in risk-management and human-resource matters. Recently graduated dentists are ill-prepared for a lot of the things that they will confront, so they really need to delve into postgraduate training. IMTEC is at the forefront of that offering.
|IMTEC's headquarters in Ardmore, OK.|
|Ronald A. Bulard, DDS |
Chairman of the Board of Directors
and Product Manager—Implants