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Interview: “We have been, are and will continue to be endo”

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"Irrigitation has remained relatively underestimated". In an interesting conversation, VDW's Arjan De Roy provides insights into modern endodontics. (Photograph: Dental Tribune International)
Marc Chalupsky, DTI

By Marc Chalupsky, DTI

Mon. 10. April 2017

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Every dentist wants to perform safe and efficient endodontic treatment to preserve patients’ teeth for as long as possible, but how can root canal therapy be easily integrated into general everyday practice? With almost 150 years of experience in endodontics, VDW provides an impressive range of coordinated solutions. Dental Tribune Online had the pleasure of interviewing Arjan De Roy, Commercial Development Director of VDW regarding the company’s endodontic focus, its new products at IDS 2017, and VDW’s future position within the Dentsply Sirona family.

VDW will soon be celebrating its 150th anniversary. How does this impressive achievement feel?
It feels great. You know, VDW was established in 1869, in the same year as the postcard was introduced in Europe. Imagine a world today without postcards; imagine a world today without endodontics. In contrast to postcards, endodontics is more up to date than ever. Patient awareness of the importance of retaining one’s own teeth is increasing. At the same time, we have seen a growth in treatment options to preserve them.

While we have indeed seen a larger variety in endodontic treatments, general dentists have still not integrated endodontic treatment into their daily practice routine.
We know the hurdles and insecurities of the old endodontic days. In general, dentists are trained at universities and there perform a certain number of endodontic treatments successfully, but they do not feel confident enough to do so later on in their offices. Our solutions always seek to make treatment as safe, efficient and predictable as possible. If one considers the greatest cost factor in the dental practice, it is the time spent in the chair. Dentists want to treat as many patients as possible. Our solutions save time in endodontic care. Our one-file system for preparation, irrigation activation solution, reliable gutta-percha obturation and post-endodontic products are all designed for one reason: success in endodontic treatment. If the dentist’s success rate goes up and his or her confidence increases, he or she will attract more patients, whom he or she can then treat in less time. With successful endodontic treatment, dentists contribute to patients’ overall health. What is even better: they build up a reputation as successful dentists. Dentists who save a root canal usually earn their patients’ confidence. We have seen this over and over again.

Some dentists may not know that VDW was acquired by DENTSPLY in the late 1990s. Today, Dentsply Sirona is the largest dental company worldwide with a considerable portfolio in endodontics.
It is not a secret that VDW belongs to Dentsply Sirona. At the same time, we are separate to Dentsply Sirona. We have our roots in Germany and we have been focused on endodontics for almost 150 years. I know about the rumours about the company being integrated, but we conducted a thorough analysis over the past year that recognised that VDW is a well-known brand. We asked our customers a simple question: what do you associate with VDW? The finding: VDW offers a strong brand experience for all of them. Our products have exceeded their expectations. Our vision of easy and efficient endodontic treatment will remain as much a part of the VDW brand as our location in Munich. We have been, are and will continue to be endo.

So, we will not see VDW being integrated into any of the Dentsply Sirona communications? There will not be a joint endodontics booth in the near future?
We will continue to be VDW, the established endodontics brand from Munich. We will have our own VDW booth and position ourselves independently at every trade fair we attend. I cannot emphasise this enough. The VDW team is committed to working every day for the benefit of our customers and this requires clarity on the future direction—for our customers and our team. In the past, we managed to clearly distinguish VDW from Dentsply Sirona, and this will continue in the years to come; we will not advertise VDW as part of Dentsply Sirona. We will continue doing what we are best at: offering innovations for endodontics from Munich to the world. In markets in which both Dentsply Sirona and VDW can benefit from each other, we will certainly use the opportunity to ensure our customers receive the perfect solution of products and support.

Which are some of the main markets in which VDW wishes to pursue growth?
Naturally, we have a strong position here in Europe, so this is the market in which we want to expand first. The western and northern European countries have huge potential for growth. Within the Asia-Pacific region, we hold a strong position in China. In Latin America, we are continuously improving our market position. This region is also a prime example of our partnership with Dentsply Sirona. We use its infrastructure, such as the logistics and product registration processes, to offer our solutions. This is another illustration of our commitment to serving our customers with ease and efficiency.

Glide path management has been a much-discussed topic among dental professionals. With R-PILOT, VDW has integrated reciprocating motion into glide path preparation instruments. Can R-PILOT only be used with RECIPROC?

R-PILOT is completely separate from RECIPROC, but it provides reciprocating motion. RECIPROC remains a one-file system. If one looks at the whole market, over 90 per cent of root canal preparations are still done with glide path management. With all the uncertainties that occur when using hand files and rotary instruments for glide path management, we wanted to offer reciprocating motion in this regard. In fact, we are the first company to provide this kind of product. The dentist can then continue the preparation with his or her preferred file system. Personally, I would recommend using RECIPROC then to do so.


RECIPROC direct is the first contra-angle handpiece with reciprocating motion. Where does the handpiece fit within your product portfolio?

Reciprocating motion has been a great success for VDW. It comes as no surprise to us that we have seen an increasing number of competitors joining this revolution, often at lower costs. VDW wanted to ensure that reciprocating motion would be accessible to more dentists. The VDW.CONNECT Drive and VDW.GOLD RECIPROC remain the best solutions for reciprocating motion, but for those dentists hesitant to make the initial investment, we recommend starting with RECIPROC direct. It allows for easy, yet efficient, familiarisation with all the benefits of reciprocating motion.

RECIPROC has been a true success story in endodontics. With RECIPROC blue, VDW went one step further: the latest generation of the single-file system is particularly flexible owing to a new production process. What can we expect your next steps to be?
We have been very happy with the improvement in quality of our RECIPROC systems. We are certainly working on new RECIPROC products—in our pursuit of innovation and improvement. This is what VDW is known for and this is what we promise our customers: continuous innovation in endodontics. A great example is RECIPROC blue, a very flexible single-file system for an even wider range of canals. In addition, the result is a significantly reduced risk of fracture due to cyclic fatigue and greater safety for the dentist and patient. With RECIPROC blue now having been on the market for seven months, many dentists have sent us their patient cases, especially in very curved canals.

At the same time, we need to bring security and confidence to the treatment so that it becomes well established. We have RECIPROC lovers, but this file system also remains new to many dentists. Its new cutting ability and efficiency are unfamiliar to some dentists at first. Our solution is education, and we educate our customers throughout the world.

Proper irrigation and disinfection improve the likelihood of successful endodontic treatment. That is why you introduced EDDY, a new irrigation activation system, two years ago.
Yes, the major reason for introducing EDDY was that irrigation has remained relatively underestimated. There is still the belief that when the dentist places some liquid solution into the canal, it will do the rest itself. This can be compared to washing the dishes at home: one does not put the dishes into the sink filled with water, wait for an hour and then put the dishes back into the cupboard. The most probable cause of failure of endodontic treatment is insufficient irrigation and disinfection. The best way to achieve proper irrigation is time in combination with the right instrument. Ultrasonic activation is still accepted as an effective way to activate an irrigant. Recently, independent studies have shown that EDDY is just as effective—and in some cases even more effective—but also safer owing to its polyamide tip. We did not even know of some of these studies and were certainly happy about their great, although not surprising, results. The adoption rate of EDDY is growing—and we have never lost a customer who has tried it.

We have spoken a great deal about how much VDW cares about dental professionals. In the end, it is also the patient who has to agree to the treatment, and root canal therapy is not popular among patients.
Many patients are scared of the treatment, but they do not have to be. I would encourage dentists to explain the procedure to their patients. I like our four steps in this respect: preparation, irrigation, obturation and post-endodontic treatment. Of course, the dentist does need to drill, but the patient will not feel the instrument gliding down. The root canal is then rinsed to ensure it is clean. Gutta-percha, designed in the same shape the drill has created, is used to fill the space and close the canal. Finally, root canal posts are used to secure the post-endodontic restauration for a long-lasting result. These four simple steps rebuild the patient’s tooth. After that, the bad days are over and the patient will have a healthy tooth, probably for the rest of his or her life. If dentists explain the treatment in this manner, many of their patients will look forward to endodontic treatment. Afterwards, they will be pleased that their dentists saved their teeth through root canal therapy, allowing the patients to keep their natural smiles, and be able to report that their dentists’ confidence in performing the procedure was evident.

Thank you very much for the interview.

Editorial note: VDW has updated its website, www.vdw-dental.com, with new information about its products, education and events.

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