Podcast: Bob Tremblay on dental practice trends

Hello and welcome to Ascent Dental Radio. A program dedicated to the balance between the clinical aspect of health care and the business of health care. And now here is your host, Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Kevin: Good afternoon. You’re listening to Ascent Dental Solutions Radio. This podcast is brought to you by Mr. Doug Foresta. His company is Stand Out and Be Heard and without his expertise in podcasting and production, I would not be able to bring this podcast to you. The podcasts are made for business in general, but dentistry specifically. In this particular podcast, we’re fortunate and lucky to have Mr. Bob Tremblay, who’s been associated with the dental profession for over 35 years.

So often, we as dentists sometimes underestimate the knowledge and information that’s right at our finger tips. Mr. Tremblay has been involved as a growth specialist for Patterson Dental Supply, as I said, for over 35 years. He serves well over 100 dental offices and in my opinion, he’s an expert in the field of dentistry.

His expertise can make your practice grow, make your life better, and most importantly, provide the assets and information to provide the highest level of care and satisfaction to our patient base.

Bob has been featured in full-page articles of Proof, the industries trade magazine. He’s received numerous corporate and national awards for sales and sales training and has consistently been the growth driver of awards and has been in the top ten percent of his specialty with over 1,000 different colleagues for the last 15 years. I consider Mr. Tremblay an expert in the field of dental supplies, dental growth and the general business of dentistry and we’re fortunate to have him take time from his busy schedule to speak to us on a variety of topics that I believe can help your practice and provide some knowledge and insight that sometimes we often forget.

Mr. Tremblay, thank you so much for joining us. I can’t tell you what a privilege it is to speak to you this afternoon. Bob, what can you tell us about the dental profession today as you see it? Since you see hundreds of dental offices, what do you see as some of the trends in dentistry today?

Bob: I think dentistry today is probably the dentistry we’ve seen in quite some time. I think that dentistry is changing very, very rapidly with different procedures and easability of doing the procedures in the dental industry.

Kevin: Bob, sometimes what I found is that the materials, the techniques, change so rapidly. And as a practicing dentist for 35 years, sometimes I get set in my ways, I don’t want to change. I think what I’m doing and what I’m using is the best technique and best procedure.

But with your expertise, you’re able to come into an office, evaluate the supplies, the materials and techniques and you can really add insight to the dental profession because not only do you know these materials and their advantages and potential disadvantages, but you’re seeing them used in hundreds of practices. How do you go about the training and the education of a dental office? What does Patterson have to offer that sets your company apart from the other supply companies?

Bob: First of all, thank you. There is over 84,000 items in the dental industry of what doctors used. And like you say, you’ve used them for years and you become comfortable with what’s going on and what that product does for you. But the evolution of the changing products and what they can do and the strength of certain products, that changes quite frequently. I pride myself in learning and taking numerous classes all the time on the certain products.

But there’s a lot of products that have a lot of similarities and there’s a lot of dentists that enjoy that manufacturer of products or what it does and how it handles. Each office is different of products and I will always provide information on certain products and give them the tools and give them my understanding of what that product does and how it would work in their hands and what the final result is.

But the items out there, each doctor is different and each doctor looks at things different and handles things different.

So I certainly give them the tools to utilize, but it really depends on what they want to use at the end of the day and there are a lot of products out there that can accomplish the same thing. Because it’s comfortable in their hands and they’re using it, I won’t have them changing it unless I know that there’s another product out there that is just far better than what they’re using.

Kevin: Bob, sometimes when I open my closet, I believe I actually have all 84,000 items. I know that’s an exaggeration, but many times I find dentists fall into different categories. There are those dentists who don’t want to try anything, and then there’s that group of dentists who are willing to try almost anything.

And what I found a great asset of Patterson Dental is many times they’ll bring into the office a lunch and learn and allow the dentist and the team members to try different materials, work with those materials before we actually make the investment and time and finances to implement that into their practice. That’s something that I think is not only unique, but very special about Patterson. And what I found working with an excellent sales representative such as yourself, you allow those lunch and learns. Is that correct?

Bob: That is correct and that’s a great topic and something to talk about. That’s one of the things that separates us from the Catalogs and the Uniques out there. There are so many lectures that doctors go to that they tell you that this is a better product and why. So the doctor would go on the internet and try it out and they’ll have a very expensive kit on their hands that they don’t like the handling of it or something like that.

One of the things that gives us the advantage or the value of coming into your office is we have these lunch and learns. Even though the lectures will say that this best, it may not be, like I spoke earlier, it may not be their type of product that they like to use.

So what does that do? That does what many offices that sits in the storage shelf and it’s never used and it becomes outdated. But it’s very important to have the value of somebody like myself to come in to explain the product, for them to utilize the product and try it out even in hand.

And we certainly — I know I do and Patterson stands by this — we give you 100 percent guarantee. So if you use it and it’s not what you want or it’s not what you thought it would be, we certainly take it back and give you a full credit if it’s in a kit’s form. Because it’s something that we can’t guarantee that you like and it’s important that you utilize what you have.

Kevin: If I could just make an inside comment, my personal opinion is sometimes we as dentists we’ll only give something a try once or twice and then that’s it, we’ve given up on it. And like most things in this world, sometimes it takes a little additional training, some patience, to make sure that these products are used properly, not only by us, but the dental team that supports it.

If you were to comment on the restorative part of dentistry, which is still a large portion in dental health care. I noticed a phenomenal company like VOCO has the ceramic composite restorations. How are those products being represented and is the dental community and the patient base receptive to them and are you getting good to excellent feedback on the products such as those?

Bob: Yes, and VOCO does have a new ceramic-based resin composite and it seems to be really taking off quite well. There’s a lot of manufacturers out there, that name brand product: the 3Ms, the Dental Supply Cox of the world, that have that name or that brand, if you will, so doctors will utilize theirs before. VOCO is from Germany and they’ve really stepped up and have really come up with some great products. They’ve really come a long way with their resins and their ceramic resins and other products along the way.

But there’s many, many manufacturers; Ivoclar has some great ceramic products as well, but it really depends on how the doctors like it to feel. As Gordon Christensen says, there’s three things you really look at when you do; how it handles and what the end result is and obviously, the cost. We want to look at those three things. And if those three things work in a dental office, it’s worth utilizing.

Kevin: Bob, if you were to comment on the actual instrumentation. I know through personal experience Patterson has an excellent association with Hu-Friedy and the cassettes and the instrumentation that goes along with that. I’ve just been blown away by the incredible hands-on service to prepare these kits. These kits can sometimes have 20, 30 instruments in it and the organization and the implementation which is just phenomenal. That association with Hu-Friedy, how long has that been going on for?

Bob: That’s really a great statement there. Hu-Friedy is one of the finest instrument manufacturers in all of dentistry. You look at their dollars and so many people are so short-sighted looking at instruments because it’s very price difference from one instrument manufacturer to another. And it’s definitely a quality product and you can have instruments that are a very weak metal versus a strong metal. Plus the Hu-Friedy company really prides themselves in an organization of IMS cassettes. It’s not just instruments being put into a cassette, it’s a very well-built cassette, very organize-driven to make your job more efficient and better organized.

And that’s what helps the dental offices get better and grow, is the organization of their protocol and procedures and what they do. And Hu-Friedy certainly adds to that with their IMS cassettes. Their instruments are far better than any other instrument I know and I’ve dealt with. They’re constantly designing new instruments for different procedures. They never stop. They’ve really taken the time and every single…

Kevin: I can tell you when I had an instrument fractured, and in almost all cases, it’s because I was using that instrument improperly, I took it beyond what it should have been done, I’ve never had an issue with Hu-Friedy replacing that instrument free of charge.

But for those listening who may be just beginning their career or thinking about improving their overall practice, the ability to organize your cassettes for orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, restorative, whether that be amalgams or composites, the whole gamut of the cassette organization and the instruments in those cassettes I cannot emphasize how incredibly effective and efficient it can be when you allow a company like Patterson and Hu-Friedy to set this up for your office. And again, that over the top service and care will pay you back in dividends.

I’d like to change topics and brag a little bit that I had the fortunate time to go to a Sirona meeting in the Connecticut area recently. I know the relationship with Patterson and Sirona is quite strong and I was just amazed at the new technology. And for someone who, I believe, keeps up-to-date and usually has the latest and greatest, what can you tell me about their 3D imaging that really stands out with Sirona?

Bob: I just want to say, Kevin, you’re absolutely right. Sirona is, yet again, another German company that Patterson is really connected to and has really worked well with. They have not only CAD/CAM, but their latest CT scan that really helps them and dentistry and actually has changed dentistry from where it was even two or three years ago where it is today.

Dentistry is changing and the technology that is out there. Sirona provides some huge high-end technology from CAD/CAM to CT scans to take better care of the patients, easier, faster, less trauma. With their 3D scans, it allows you to do implants without flaps. It gives you the tools that you need to pretty much do everything in the dental office that wasn’t able to be done two years ago.

Kevin: What particularly for me took me back at that wonderful weekend was the integration of CEREC with Galileo; the ability to have this technology, whether it’d be the intraoral cameras, that whole integration of the technology so that it’s user friendly. As an early CEREC user, I remember some of trials and tribulations, not only with the hardware, but the software.

And sure enough, a company like Patterson and Sirona team up and they understand some of the disadvantages that new technology can present and they proceed with research, technology and it’s just amazing how everything is married together today. Can you give us an example of what you see in the near future, what’s on the agenda that Patterson has that makes your company continue to stand apart from other companies?

Bob: I think that Sirona will always be a major part of what we do and what we have seen. You had mentioned the CAD/CAM and the capability of how they marry each other into the CT scan. And it really keeps everything into the general dental office where you can scan the mouth, do a CT scan that will allow you to do a surgical guide by milling it with the CEREC to place the implants.

Kevin: I can tell you, Mr. Tremblay, that I’ve been a practicing dentist for the last 35 years and in my opinion, like most businesses, most businesses revolve around relationships, what I call the BLT. You want to deal with people you believe in, you like and you trust.

And for the listeners out here, I cannot emphasize the importance of creating that relationship with your sales representative who’s actually a part of your team. Use them, use their knowledge, use their information, their technology and it may be one of the best relationships you’ll foster in your professional dental career. I’m so happy that you were able to take time and I can’t tell you enough how much I have been appreciative of your expertise and your company’s backing and just your ability to teach our team members and our office how to get better. Mr. Tremblay, thank you so much.

Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve been listening to Ascent-Dental-Solutions. It’s a company that focuses for dentists on dentists. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s podcast. I want to give a shout out again to Stand Out and Be Heard, Mr. Doug Foresta, who’s produced over 40 of these podcasts for me over the last year and without his expertise, this couldn’t be done. Mr. Tremblay, thank you so much for your time and expertise and we’ll be talking soon.

Bob: Kevin, my pleasure. Thank you so much.