An Interview with Richard Miranda
Richard Miranda, President, Global Prosthetic Solutions and Laboratory Group for Henry Schein, Inc., discusses the evolving roles of the various players in dentistry.
Inside Dental Technology: What are the most compelling trends you are observing in the dental laboratory industry, and what new developments do you anticipate in the near future?
Richard Miranda: The most compelling trend is the digitization of the restorative process along with advances in material technology, which continue to impact the field of dentistry. The rapid adoption of digital technologies in the laboratory industry has been driven by the evolution of user-friendly end-to-end digital solutions that streamline communication among dental team members and digitize the workflow in the laboratory. Today, that transformative adoption curve is happening on the clinical side as dentists find themselves at the threshold of adopting the digitization of the restorative process. The biggest trend for the dental laboratory in the near future will be to participate in and take advantage of the digital process and then figure out how to compete in that new digitized world.
IDT: What are the most important actions that dental laboratories need to take in order to remain viable through the next decade?
RM: As increased numbers of dental practices integrate digital solutions, it is important that laboratory owners and managers partner with their dentists and work together to leverage solutions that benefit the patient and improve workflow. Every day, Zahn Dental, the laboratory supply business of Henry Schein, is working with laboratory customers to help them navigate and thrive in a new digital environment.
Ultimately, the digital workflow will benefit the dentist and the patient, as well as ensure that the laboratory is an integral part of that restorative process. The goal on all sides of the dental spectrum is to deliver better, faster, more efficient restorations. Laboratories are key players in that workflow relationship because they are relied on to ensure that digital technology meets the promise of those benefits for the dentist and the patient.
If technologies integrated into the practice can promise delivery of a better patient experience and reliable final product, it should be the mission of laboratories, as it is for Henry Schein and Zahn Dental, to ensure that these digital technologies live up to that promise.
IDT: What specific types of technology will help the dental laboratory collaborate more effectively with the rest of the dental team on cases?
RM: All the digital solutions on the market, from printing devices, intraoral scanners, and milling to practice management systems and cone beam 3D imaging, can greatly enhance the practice/laboratory workflow, collaborative relationships, and patient experience. While these technologies work very well as individual units, it’s the interoperability between products and practice management software that connects all things digital in a practice or laboratory.
Henry Schein is working with our technology suppliers, and with our own team to fulfill our mission to ensure that all these different pieces of technology work together seamlessly.
IDT: As the dental laboratory industry evolves, how are suppliers, manufacturers, and other resources adapting to meet their changing needs?
RM: To help navigate these changes, industry leaders are helping practices and laboratories understand how digital solutions can work best for their individual needs. For example, we created Henry Schein ConnectDental to help customers explore open-architecture solutions that can enhance the patient experience, deliver predictable, quality dentistry, and improve efficiency and productivity.
Whether customers are just beginning their journey into digital dentistry, or expanding on existing digital solutions, we serve as our customers’ trusted advisor, assessing individual practice or laboratory needs so that tailored solutions can be identified for the benefit of successfully integrating new technologies into a patient-centric workflow. In addition to helping identify and integrate digital solutions for our customers, it’s equally important that we provide the critical support, services, and education needed for successful implementation.
IDT: As a leading global distributor of supplies and equipment to the dental laboratory industry, are there market niches in the Henry Schein portfolio that you believe need further broadening or emerging niches in the market that Henry Schein intends to explore?
RM: As reflected in our mission statement, we will continue to explore products and solutions that fulfill the needs of our customers and help them operate a better business so they can focus on delivering quality patient care.