The Group Dentistry Now Show: The Voice of the DSO Industry – Episode 7

Our podcast series brings you dental support and emerging dental group practice analysis, conversation, trends, news and events. Listen to leaders in the DSO and emerging dental group space talk about their challenges, successes, and the future of group dentistry.

In this episode, Luke LaLiberté, Membership Director at the Association of Dental Support Organizations explains the benefits of being a member of the ADSO for both Industry Partners and DSOs. Luke also talks about their Partnering for Growth meeting and their annual Summit. Luke explains what the ADSO does and how it benefits the entire DSO community.

Register for the ADSO’s Partnering for Growth Meeting which will be held September 25 – 27, 2019 in Orlando. Use code ‘GDN’ to save $100. This event is open to all DSOs and emerging dental groups even if you are not members of the ADSO. Register HERE.

Debora Bridges, Special Markets Manager of Paradise Dental Technologies (PDT), also joins the show. Deb explains why hygienists, assistants and dentists love PDT’s innovative products. Deb also talks about how PDT has expanded their product offerings to include an endo, perio and a surgical line. To find out more about Paradise Dental Technologies special DSO pricing and packages email  Debora.Bridges@pdtdental.com.

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FULL TRANSCRIPT:

I’d like to welcome everybody to the Group Dentistry Now Show. Happy to have you here today. I’m really happy to have our next guest who represents a company, an organization, that I think a lot of people know but they might not know exactly what they do and all the benefits that they have. So Luke LaLiberté, welcome to the Group Dentistry Now Show. Appreciate you being here today.

Luke:
Yeah, definitely. Thanks for having me.

Bill:
Sure. So Luke is a director of membership at the ADSO, that’s the Association of Dental Support Organizations, and Luke has been in a membership role for other organizations for most of his career. And, Luke initially started out in a Customer Service Support role at a national non-profit when he moved to Washington DC, which is of course is where the ADSO is headquartered. Luke was promoted into a data management role and then looks like you were in, let’s see, membership marketing and communications and then you transitioned over to the ADSO. So, Luke is going to talk about membership at the ADSO, going to talk about some of the meetings that the ADSO has, and all the lovely benefits. So, again, welcome to the show.

Luke:
Yeah. No, and again, thank you for having me. I’m happy to be here.

Bill:
Great.

Luke:
It’s nice to be able to… A lot of what I do, I end up having to send emails or send social messages so it’s nice to be able to talk and not have a character limit on the message I’m trying to deliver.

Bill:
Yeah, I know it is. You’ve got a lot of moving parts, a lot of different types of memberships, you have different meetings, different benefits so hopefully we can help give you the forum to explain that.

Luke:
Nice.

Bill:
So let’s start out with a little bit about who the ADSO is. I think a lot of our audience, again, knows something about the ADSO. Maybe from attending probably the summit would be the meeting or the event you’re known best for. But let’s talk about the member benefits, the ADSO as an organization and then we can talk a little bit more about the different events that you have.

Luke:
Sure. Yeah. So it’s kind of all wrapped up in the name. We are the Association for Dental Support Organizations. So DSOs, they’re the companies that we’re trying to support. One of the main ways that we do that, is like you mentioned, we have our events that’s our opportunity to provide education to DSOs at varying levels. But we also do a lot of advocacy support for our members. So I think especially with some of our larger members, our national members, that’s where they’re seeing a lot of the benefits of membership with us is we can help be the single face of this entire industry, this entire sector and support. All of them holistically provide the kind of voice that they need to continue to practice and support their dental offices. So that’s a big one. Our events of the other piece, our events are of course open to non-members as well but our members get a nice discount. And then, because we are an association, our DSOs their CEOs make up our board. So they actually meet three times a year, they get to talk about exactly what we can do to help them the best and it’s a good networking opportunity for them also.

Bill:
That’s great. I mean if you haven’t attended an ADSO event, they are pretty spectacular. And you mentioned networking which I almost forget about, but probably one of the most important things, kind of the who’s who of DSO Industry for sure. So tell us a little about your role. We know you’re the membership director, so what do you do on a day to day basis to help out emerging groups and industry partners and large DSOs.

Luke:
Yeah. We are a small but powerful staff at ADSO. So I am the membership director and that has led to wearing many hats as you can imagine. I get my hands into just anything that would affect their membership, which is everything.

Bill:
Including video podcasts.

Luke:
Including doing an interview podcast like this. So, I definitely support our kind of events staff leading up to Summit and leading up to Partner for Growth which is our other event. So, helping to plan the agenda a little bit, identify speakers. We source our speakers from our members. So being the membership director, I do a lot of outreach around that. We know we want to have such and such topic at our event. Who do we already have a relationship with that can talk on it. I do all of the member onboarding for our new members definitely. And then beyond kind of sourcing, talking to a little bit of kind of exhibiting. I do go to some events to talk about ADSO and introduce us to people who maybe don’t know us that well yet or want to know more about us. So other than that, it’s a largely supportive role because I deal with our members. I could get pulled into creating new benefits or event planning or whatever they need me for. So I get around a little bit at this organization. It’s kind of the nice thing with a small staff, you get to know everybody really well.

Bill:
So if anybody ever reaches out to the ADSO for any membership information or membership support, most likely that will be you that they’ll be speaking to or emailing?

Luke:
Yeah. It will almost certainly be me. It depends on what number they found first on our website but it usually gets routed to me eventually.

Bill:
That sounds good. So you’re a good person to know.

Luke:
Yeah. I like to think so.

Bill:
Let’s talk a little bit in more detail about benefits. So we will start out with the vendors, or the industry partners. Tell us a little bit about why somebody should become should look at membership as an industry partner, somebody that’s not a DSO or an emerging group.

Luke:
Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve talked a lot about our DSO members, but we do have our industry partner program which is to kind of simplify it, is basically our membership offering for vendors. Anyone who provides any sort of service or products to DSOs or dental offices. And, ADSO is trying to be the bridge between those two audiences. We want to help our industry partners gain more visibility with our DSO members and we want to help our DSO members match up with the industry partners who provide the services or products that they need, that they’re looking for. The benefits of the industry partner membership are designed with that in mind. So access to our events is one of them. It’s member locked so nobody who’s not an active industry partner of ours is going to be sponsoring or attending our events. But besides those two events per year, there’s a host of other kind of ongoing benefits. Our industry partners provide content for our newsletter. We list their events alongside ours on our website. That’s actually something new that we started doing. Our events have started to get more full.

Bill:
That’s great.

Luke:
Yeah. We’re trying to showcase what they have to offer and then we’re trying to match them as intentionally as we can with the DSOs that need them and are looking for them. And you asked about pricing also, the industry partner program is $6,000 annually but you gave me another beautiful opportunity to talk about something new that we’re doing. We’ve recently started to prorate that which is something that I was pushing for a little bit as soon as I got in. I don’t think there is really any resistance. I just don’t think anyone had thought about it was had the membership seat here. So I was talking to industry partners who wanted to sign up in the middle of the year. They’d already missed summit, which is our larger event and there’s not as much ROI for that. And that’s totally fair, that’s fine.

Luke:
I want our members on the industry partner and DSO sides to have longterm relationships with us. I want those relationships to be valuable to them. So I don’t want them to come in at a time when it’s not going to give them what they’re actually looking for. So by prorating that, it really helps a lot. They’re not paying full price for something where they’re not getting all the benefits that they were looking for and we prorate that monthly. So first year joining, if you’re a new industry member, you’re not going to have to pay full price to join halfway through or three quarters through the year. We’re now prorating that program.

Bill:
That’s great. That’s news to me so it makes a lot of sense. I know that questions come up a couple times people that have reached out to me about ADSO, “Should I join now or should I join next year?” And now really it’s not an issue. If there is something, they want to join now, they’re not going to have to pay for the full year and they missed the summit.

Luke:
Yeah, definitely.

Bill:
So, let talk a little bit about, that’s industry partners and certainly they can reach out to you for more information. What about DSOs and emerging groups? So, lets talk about that side. What are some of the member benefits there? Maybe we should split it up so you’ve got some of the larger DSOs, a lot of them are probably already members. What are you doing for them and then what’s in it for the emerging groups, the smaller groups? Because I think there’s some perception out there that the ADSO is perfect. The large, large DSOs and I’ve got three locations, so why should I become a member if it’s not for me. So maybe we should talk a little bit about that and you probably hear that from time to time.

Luke:
Yeah, absolutely. I’ve got them on the phone. I’ve heard that a lot exhibiting, also, where people will swing around the table and they’ll say, “Oh, yeah. ADSO, I’ve heard about you. I might join some day.” And say “Well, why not now?” It’s like, “Oh, I only have five offices.” Yeah, all right. So we have benefits for organizations at that level and actually … So our industry partner, that’s a flat fee program. Our DSO membership is a tiered program based on the size of the organization coming in because we really are trying to make it accessible as possible. We do have a good number of members in each of our tiers. I think that because of the amount of advocacy that we do, where we’re trying to be the face and represent the interest of the DSO sector. We do have that kind of reputation of being for the large national DSOs because they’re the ones that re going to care more about what’s going on in one state versus the another state if they are operating in both. Versus an emerging DSO, which maybe doesn’t have that problem.

Luke:
So recognizing that, we’ve got our tiered program first of all. Largely, the biggest benefit we probably provide to emerging members right now is our events and networking. And by the way, even at emerging level, your CEO is on our board. So that kind of enhance access, you’re not just able to come to our events but you’re coming to our board meetings also. In our lower tiers is a non-voting opportunity but you’re still coming to the board, you’re coming to the board dinner. You’re talking to leaders in the sector and learning from them. So that’s a big opportunity for you. But, we have just recently get to talk about a bunch of new stuff on this podcast, it’s great. This is a really good time for this interview. We’ve had an education tab, kind of a members only informational resource on our website for the longest time. And now that I’m here, I get to pay a bit more attention to that and put a bit more in there. It has up to this point, largely been kind of an archive of recorded sessions or panels from our events. Now, we just started adding a whole compliance piece to it. So now we’re adding a bunch of OSHA and HIPPA stuff in there which is-

Bill:
Oh, wow.

Luke:
… really useful because that’s such … Compliance stuff is so important to get right and it can be kind of hard to know exactly what piece you need at what time. There is a lot of regulations as well, there should be, but just getting a whole list of that thrown at you at once, isn’t always super helpful. So in the compliance edition that we’re doing right now with the OSHA and HIPAA, and soon we’re going to be adding more to it. We’re providing links to the necessarily regulations where you can find more information. And we’re trying to streamline it so that if you’re an emerging DSO, you’re starting to grow as an organization, you’re supporting more and more offices and you can’t be there in person all the time and you want to be sure everybody’s on top of things and everyone’s doing it right.

Luke:
Now you can go to our site, you’re a member, you can access this education tab and you can say, okay, here’s the question I have and I’ve been scrolling through pages of texts but I need to know the answer to this one thing. We’re trying to make that easier. So by compiling that information, by linking to information and of course once we’re in a place where we’re happy with compliance, we can start hitting new topics also. So building out that chunk is offering kind of year-round support education. You don’t have to be a member to come to our events. So the member ROI is going to be access to our board and then it’s going to be access to education beyond just through our website year-round.

Bill:
That’s great. So a lot of new things going on from a member benefit perspective. Let’s shift over to your events and you have one that’s coming up relatively quickly in Orlando, Florida, that’s Partnering For Growth. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about that event and how that’s geared more towards the emerging groups?

Luke:
So we’ve talked about Summit a little bit or at least you’ve mentioned Summit is our larger events. So it’s the one that people are more likely to know or I’ve heard the name of. Partnering For Growth is a smaller event and it is more targeted towards the emerging DSOs. The education that’s going to be there is a lot more intentionally geared towards us scaling up an organization and talking about potential pitfalls, best practices. So things to keep aware as you grow so you can get it right the first time and you don’t get up to a certain level where you have a bunch of offices and you want to go back and tinker your business model. You did it right the first time. So Partnering For Growth is targeted as emerging DSOs. It is a smaller event but that actually allows for … So this year, one thing that we’re doing new with we’re Partnering For Growth, we’re doing all panels. So there’s going to be a panels on various topics are being picked out to be useful and actionable for emerging DSOs.

Luke:
Then each of those panelists is going to get their own individual breakout sessions. So the audience from there, the big audience from our panel is going to break into three chunks, more manageable chunks and then have a breakout with one of the speakers. We want to create the opportunity for people who are coming to this to voice the actual specific questions that they as an individual have about their individual business. And Partnering For Growth allows for that because we have a smaller crowd with a more targeted educational offering. Some of it is a great event. Obviously I’m biased but it’s also huge. So you’re going to get a little bit of everything, you can make the most out of it. Partnering For Growth, we are kind of designing it in mind that we want to give people opportunity to get their individual voice. So not just attending a session, but there’s going to be Q and A. There’s going to be breakouts. It’s going to be small groups and small teams are going to be able to talk directly to the speakers. At least that’s the hope.

Bill:
Yeah. I’ve been to both before I was at PFG before and the summit and I think it’s a great way to describe it. As you know, bigger isn’t always better. I think the summit is wonderful, but it’s almost, the audience, it’s a little bit different. The nice thing of PFG is you really do have the opportunity to ask a lot of questions. I love the networking opportunities, much smaller, more intimate. If there’s somebody there that you know is going to be there, you’re going to get a chance to talk to them and ask them questions. The other thing is you have a nice mix of people there. So you have large groups that are on the panel, people that represent large groups and they’ve been successful and so you can kind of talk to them. Then there’s emerging groups that are on the panels as well.

Bill:
So I think it’s a really good mix. So if you’re a smaller group or an emerging DSO, you can really pick and choose who you want to talk to and know that they’ve been there before. They’re either experiencing the same issues right now that you are or they’ve already experienced it and you can glean some of that information, that knowledge that they’ve already gained.

Luke:
Yeah, absolutely. That’s one of the biggest resources we have to tap into as an association is the collective wisdom of our members. And having them at different parts of the scale, different places on their growth cycle, it means that we can try and match people who need that education with people who’ve already been there. Even just recently, one of the panels that we have at Partnering For Growth is called Growth Stories. So some of our mid levels successful DSO members who’ve been growing very well, very effectively, and they’re going to talk about how and how they’ve done it. So you can come and we’re not hiding the secret sauce, we really do want to be supportive of the DSO industry. So yeah, you can come and you can find the actual answer to that question, at least according to the three panels that we put together and they all seem to be doing fairly well right now, so there might be something there.

Bill:
Yeah. Well, I’m certainly looking forward to it and learning a lot there at the event at Partnering For Growth. You talked a little bit about the annual summit and some of the differences. The next summit is coming up next year in Washington DC, not too far away from where you are right now.

Luke:
Yeah, that’s true. So yeah, it’s going to be in a national harbor, so basically DC and I’m really looking forward to it. I went to our last Summit in San Diego and it was a great time. That was my first Summit. Though I’ve been told that Summit is continuing to grow every year and I’ve been down the membership guy. We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback, saying that Summit continues to get better year after year after year. So I’m really looking forward to Summit 2020. I think we’ve got something there and I’m looking forward to making even better event than 2019.

Bill:
Yeah. Totally agree. The Summit was great in San Diego and I’ve been to some years past and it does get bigger and better every year, but I’m certainly, PFG Partnering For Growth is coming up very, very shortly. So we’ll have information at the end of this podcast where you can go to sign up for it, find out more and of course we’ll also have Luke’s contact information as well. So couple more things, so any other changes besides like … For PFG panels, is that really the big change where you’re kind of focused more on panel discussions?

Luke:
Yes. So that’s probably the most obvious change, at least from the perspective of anyone who’s come to Partnering For Growth in the past. But this year is the first year that we’ve partnered with DEO, the Dental Entrepreneur Organization and they’re great. They do a ton of events. They’re dedicated to building the leaders of tomorrow. If I could borrow kind of a bit of a cliched phrase, but they really do it. And partnering with them is part of our very intentional move on our part, ADSO’s part to support these emerging sector of the industry who maybe need it a little bit more than our larger members who kind of made it already. But who also think that those larger members are our main membership, the focus of all of our efforts and they don’t have a voice at this table until they’ve grown to a certain size. Partnering with DEO has given us the confidence to set an ambitious attendee goal this year. So we are trying to grow Partnering For Growth a little bit. I know we’ve been talking a lot about how great it is to have a little bit more of an intimate meeting with a lot of people at the same level of development. But we are trying to reach more DSOs that maybe don’t know us as well.

Luke:
So we’re tapping into DEO’s network for that and I think they’re helping us a lot with the event planning as well as kind of a combination of brains on ours and theirs, teams that came up with the idea of doing all panels this year, followed by breakout sessions to give the sort watch people are experts in a certain topic discuss something and then actually be able to go and talk to them about it yourself. So the partnership is new, the panel is new and those are kind of the main things that we’re excited about, but they’re going to have a big presence there. Darin Acopan is going to be a moderator. He’s executive vice president and CEO for our events as … Well, you Bill Neumann if you’re too shy to plug yourself, I’ll mention that. We’re all going to be very happy to have you there as a moderator for our panelists.

Bill:
It’s going be a lot of fun. And also, so what are the other things as well. So for Partnering For Growth, we talk about the emerging groups, DSO, you don’t have to be an ADSO, DSO or emerging group member to attend. Am I right? Did I get that right?

Luke:
You absolutely got that right. Yeah, so that’s another myth which would be good to dispel. Obviously our members, because they’re members, are going to get a membership discount as part of being a member of ADSO, but you do not have to be a member to attend. If you are a DSO, you can come to Summit and you can come to Partner For Growth. You don’t have to join, you don’t have to be a part of the club. Like I said, we really do want to try and support as many different leaders in this industry as we possibly can. So we would love to have you there.

Bill:
So that’s a big deal. So just remember, if you’re not a member of the ADSO, you still can attend Partner and I encourage you to be in there, Partnering For Growth. And if you’re an ADSO member, DSO, you do get a discount. If you’re a member, you do get a discount. And if you are a Group Dentistry Now, video podcast watcher or reader, we also have a discount on the website. So at the end of this podcast we will post all that information. Then how can they contact you?

Luke:
My email is LLaLiberte@theadso.org.

Bill:
We’ll post it.

Luke:
… end of the podcast.

Bill:
Yeah, that sounds good. Well, Luke Laliberte, it’s been really a pleasure to have you on the show and thanks for telling us about some of the new things that you have going on, explaining to people, including myself, some of the things that ADSO does that I wasn’t aware of. But I hope to see a lot of you at Partnering For Growth Meeting that is coming up in Orlando in September. So there’s not a lot of time. Thanks for being on the show and everybody, thanks for watching.

Bill:
We’re really excited to actually have somebody in our studio, normally we’re talking to them across the Internet, but Deb has been gracious enough to come to our studios here. And Deb is the special markets manager, Deb Bridges with Paradise Dental Technologies, PDT. Deb is a dental industry veteran. She has been in the industry for 40 years. Deb started out as an EFTA, which is an Expanded Function Dental Assistant. And she was passing the instruments in a four-handed 16 operatory practice, certainly a big group, for sure. And that led to experience and an amazing career on the manufacturer side for the most part. She has spent the last 10 years in special markets and a lot of that time has been focused in even more so now in the DSO emerging group space. So Deb, welcome to the Group Dentistry Now Show.

Debora:
Thanks bill. Thanks for having PDT and thanks for just inviting us to be here. So we appreciate the opportunity.

Bill:
It’s great to have you and really talk a lot about hygiene side. Not completely, not all hygiene, but your focus as a company is hygiene. And talk a little bit about your products and how they influence DSOs and emerging groups. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about PDT, Paradise Dental Technologies, the company.

Debora:
So Paradise Dental Technologies was founded by Linda Miller, who’s still active president, founder, CEO of Paradise Dental Technologies, PDT. One of the things that she has been focused on throughout her career is she’s a metallurgist by background. So she formulated these instruments, out of Missoula, Montana. After being a founding partner were a major instrument company and decided that they didn’t want to do things to change the way the grip was on an instrument, the lay of the tip in the handle to the tooth surface. So she created Paradise Dental Technologies and 19 years ago this began. So that’s how it all began for us.

Bill:
Okay. That’s super interesting. It’s all 100% made the instruments in the US right?

Debora:
So all of our hand instruments are all manufactured and sourced with US materials, all including the steel. So everything is assembled in our factory in Missoula, Montana and our surgical instruments are all German made. And we can get into why that’s important as we get into this.

Bill:
That’s great. Yeah, I’m sure it is. So tell me a little bit more about your focus and PDT’s focus in the DSO and the emerging group space. So tell me a little bit about that experience.

Debora:
So we’re well known with hygienists, no matter whether they work at a DSO or mom and pop practice for a Montana Jack which is how it began for us. Hygienists love it unless you’re living under a rock, you really know what PDT is. So one of the things that we take pride on now is that we are a one stop shop for all instrument needs in the practice. That being perio, surgical, endo, restorative, including our exam and our hygiene instruments of course. And we added to those instruments available to hygienist. So what makes it a great company is we are now at one stop shop. So we’re not just that hygiene company that people have come to know and respect and appreciate.

Bill:
Okay. So the focus initially was on hygiene products for hygienists, and probably still is a large majority of what you sell. So tell me a little bit about when you’re talking to DSO hygiene departments and the hygienist there, what are the challenges that you’re hearing from them?

Debora:
So it has to do with keeping hygienists and the practitioner, the dentist chairside, but doing an effective job so that it mitigates hand and wrist injuries, neck issues. Because if you’ve got to scrape hard to remove composite, if you have to do a restoration and you’re packing composite in the material sticks, just a couple of examples and you don’t have an effective way to easily do this with a hand instrument, which you can use a drill and a high speed handpiece or slow speed handpiece. What you’re really using hand instruments for the final prep touches, right? So no matter what you do, the cutting is bulk, but you’re always resorting to a hand instrument no matter where in the practice you sit on one side of the chair, what you do. So all of these instruments are designed to mitigate all of these issues that crop up from using a heavier steel instrument, if you will.

Bill:
Sure. Well that makes a lot of sense. So you mentioned the Montana Jacks, that’s what you’re known for and that instrument’s been around how many years?

Debora:
Around 18 or 19.

Bill:
Okay. So 18, 19 years. There’s been innovations at your company. Tell us about some of the new innovative products that you or Linda and the team there has created and then specifically the ones that work really well in the DSO or a dental group setting.

Debora:
Sure. So one of the things and one of the really exciting innovations that we’ve come up with is an implant maintenance system. So when you’re doing implant maintenance, you have choices in the industry and one is a plastic tip and the other is metal. Well, metal to metal doesn’t work and titanium coding doesn’t work because that coding eventually wears off. What Linda has done and the team in Missoula is taken titanium, an actual titanium, it’s full titanium, so it’s not a coding. So the entire tip is titanium base. So when you sharpen them with a dedicated stone, sharpening stone, you really aren’t wearing anything away. So there’s no scratching, nothing left behind. So when it comes in contact with the implant for your maintenance or the abutment, and I’ll get to that in a moment, that maintenance becomes risk-free basically from scratching and any of the other issues related to using alternative instruments or alternative methods debriting that implant.

Debora:
So when you do that, what makes it effective is that it eliminates some of the issues related to implant failures. And that is the increase of biofilm and how do you break that down, so these eliminate that or assist in helping break down that biofilm. The other thing that we introduced is pineyro arch kit, so pineyro instrument kit. The pineyro instrument kit, what makes that unbelievably different is that now you have these fixed arch implants. So basically you have dentures that can be removed, chairside by a dentist or a hygienist, but you have to remove these tiny screws. But generally even quadrant arches, you can remove them. But the screws are super tiny. And should they fall or get misplaced, you have to … they’re expensive as well.

Debora:
So this pineyro arch kit eliminates the need to remove these screws and allows the clinician too really debride this abutment and the surfaces of the attachment point for these dentures or the quadrant arches so that the screws don’t have to be removed. So it really speeds the process up for the hygiene appointment and the cleaning and the aftercare of these things, which to date has been a real rough point of contention for having to do these.

Bill:
So a lot of innovation around implant maintenance. What else besides implant maintenance, tell us a little bit more.

Debora:
So again, as I mentioned, we have a full line now of products, not just hygiene instruments. So we branched into endo, we have perio instruments, we have our surgical line. That surgical line out of Germany made out of German steel and manufacture the PDT manufacturing specs. So they’re all custom made for us to our specs as a company.

Bill:
Do you find that providing quality hygiene instruments to hygienist makes them, gives them a better outlook on the type of hygiene that they provide? Does it give them, because I know one of the struggles that DSO seem to have a lot of times is employee retention. So trying to tie in the value of providing instruments that they want to use versus cheaper instruments. Have you heard any feedback from that perspective from a DSO?

Debora:
Well, the edge on our instruments stays sharper and can be maintained that way longer than any other competitive instrument two to seven times longer. Again, that seems like a big gap, but depending on the procedures you’re doing and what you’re actually running into in your oral cavity, that’s what leads to that discrepancy and that difference for [crosstalk 00:35:12] how long it lasts. But it does last longer. In addition, because of the US steel that we use in the tips of our instruments, it allows us, because US steel is less porous than is other metals that other manufacturers are using now and for the tips of their instrument allows it to maintain its strength. We can get it thinner and maintain that sharpness throughout the life of the instrument. And to your point why that’s important to a hygienist, is there’s less issues related to repetitive hand injuries and the more you have to scrape and the harder you have to scrape to do your job, the worse it is on your hands cumulative effects.

Bill:
Interesting. Okay. So just from a standpoint, there’s the patients standpoint, but then there’s also the [crosstalk 00:36:01], the clinician standpoint. Yeah, really good to know.

Debora:
Yeah. If you were to experience dull instruments versus sharpened instruments and the difference generally between PDT and others is as a patient, you would find it far more comfortable too.

Bill:
Okay. Good to know. So that’s certainly one of the talk about values that you provide using PDT instruments. So that’s one of the value behind that, using the instruments versus others. Tell me some other things. You’ve talked a little bit about ergonomics possible issues with that type of thing. What else?

Debora:
Some of the other things that we do is for DSO and I know a lot of companies have cut back on evaluation kits, we have not. We believe in order for someone to change what they’re used to using, they have to hold it, touch it, feel it, use it so that they get used to and see the difference. Because you can tell anybody anything, what it’s in the actual use and getting it into their practice and procedures that you fall in love with these.

Bill:
So if I’m a DSO that hasn’t used the PDT product before or maybe some of my hygienists have asked about it. So you talked about these evaluation kits. So you do offer those?

Debora:
We do.

Bill:
Okay. So that’s one way that a DSO can actually test or evaluate the different instruments and then based on that evaluation, they can become a customer. Besides the evaluation kits, which is a great idea and I have heard that a lot of people, organizations, manufacturers they have cut back on that. So besides that, what else do you offer DSO? From a DSO, besides an evaluation kit, what else, were you doing for them?

Debora:
So we offer a phenomenal customer care team as well in conjunction with myself and our global sales manager, Scott Borden. We offer phenomenal personal touch that others may only hope to achieve.

Bill:
That’s great.

Debora:
And we’re really proud of it. We call it our customer care team, so out of Missoula Montana, so they’re hands on. In addition, we’re introducing a sharpening program that will allow DSOs to have a way to maintain these instruments to factory like new condition. So on annual biannual basis, whatever we deem to be appropriate for their schedule.

Bill:
Okay, good. A lot of opportunities for DSOs to get, evaluate products have a totally different experience than what they’re used to now with their current hand instruments company. So besides that, listen, let’s talk a little bit about, we talked initially about the fact that products were US made. Then the steel is US steel, and then there’s the German side of it. So why is that important?

Debora:
Well, I think you have to go back to the beginning a little bit and maybe something I failed to mention is that Linda, in conjunction with developing these, didn’t do it in a vacuum. What she did was she went to physical therapist and orthopedist to say, “Hey, this is how people …” And she was people in those disciplines that work with folks in the dental industry. So why that was important is that’s what led to the creation of the instruments in the design that they are from the handle, the knurling on the handle, and that it goes down to where the shank enters the instrument handle, most stop short. So you lose your grip if you grip up on the instrument or down, depending on how you prefer to call it. But if you like to hold it close to where the tip enters the instrument handle.

Debora:
In addition, the width, the circumference of that handle was critical in the design. So everything played a factor but all of those factors came into play because of the input that was received from these physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons. And what that does is, as I said, it mitigates the high tendency, the propensity to have carpal tunnel wrist issues, neck and back issues. So chronic issues within the dental industry are kind of reduced if not, eliminated is a strong word, but definitely reduced by the usage of these instruments over repetitive period of time.

Bill:
That has a lot to do with how they’re made-

Debora:
Correct.

Bill:
… the materials that are used.

Debora:
It’s everything that went into the back room to develop these before they ever became, considered usable.

Bill:
And then that was Linda?

Debora:
Linda the team that she founded and worked with on the other disciplines in this industry or even out of the industry.

Bill:
That’s great. Very, very good information. So we touched on a lot of reasons why PDT, besides the US manufactured German manufacturing products, the quality, the research that went behind that are some of the newer innovative products, when we’re talking about implant maintenance, we’re talking about the perio side of things, the endo side of things, also restorative and surgical. So tell me some other, and of course, you and your team, your customer care team.

Debora:
Correct. I think what’s important is that within that DSO space, it’s no different than any other practice, by the way.  For them, it’s a price value relationship. So you have to have a price value relationship in the things that you create in this and are used in this space. It’s a volume thing as well. So you’re not dealing with one specific discipline generally within this DSO practice, you’re dealing with multi-disciplines. So that being said, we cover those disciplines no matter what it may be, be it singularly focused or multi-focused, for different procedures, different types. So what we are doing as … We have developed a pretty much, I call it the secret sauce, Linda secret sauce.

Debora:
So she’ll probably kill me for saying this, but she is the Colonel Sanders of the dental industry. So it’s a secret sauce, secret recipe she brings to PDT. So what we do that’s different and in that secret sauce, in her formulation is the heat treating process, the cryo process that she involves. It’s all proprietary, but she’s home this over these X number of years to be fabulous instruments that they are. So in that space we bring a premium quality dental brand at a really value price.

Bill:
That’s important.

Debora:
So you have a price value relationship now that’s been established and we can offer.

Bill:
That’s great. And you have a lot of loyal hygienists.

Debora:
We do.

Bill:
So that’s important as well. So as DSOs bring on new hygienists that in hygiene school or in another practice have used PDT products, they would, I’m sure be very, very happy to learn that DSO that they’re coming to work for has those PDT products.

Debora:
Absolutely. And when I went to school, there was a standalone program and now as you have hygienists getting into more expanded functions assistance through the procedures, if you will. So they’re becoming EFTAs. Now EFTA is associated more with hygiene schools than standalone programs. So the interesting part about that is now hygienists are getting into injections, well they have been for a while, but a couple of states still don’t allow it. But you’re getting into injections, you’re getting into alternative procedures that generally they were into cleaning and things like that. But they didn’t get into the expanded function part, they are now in a lot of areas, in a lot of states.

Bill:
Okay. Well, Deb I really appreciate your time today. So if one of the emerging groups that’s listening to us or watching us or an established DSO is interested in getting an evaluation kit, or finding out about the sharpening program or about the customer care team or they just want to meet you. How do they do it? What’s your email address?

Debora:
So my email is Debora, D-E-B-O-R-A. Yes, it’s a little different. Bridges, B-R-I-D-G-E-S, deborabridges@pdtdental.com. Really easy minus the spelling of the first name. Get past that, don’t add an H. We’re all good.

Bill:
We’ll post that as well. So you’ll see that an opportunity to contact Deb. We’ll have the email address listed at the end of this video podcast. And then that sounds good. So when you do a lot of the DSO shows and meetings-

Debora:
Yes, absolutely.

Bill:
… you attend a lot of those.

Debora:
And the next non DSO show, but a lot of DSOs attend this ADA meeting.

Bill:
That’ll be coming up very shortly. Well then, thanks again. I really appreciate your time.

Debora:
I appreciate you having us, so thank you so much.

Bill:
Always a pleasure.

Debora:
Thank you.

Bill:
Thanks everybody for listening to this episode of the Group Dentistry Now Show. Thanks again, Deb Bridges from Paradise Dental Technologies.

Debora:
Thank you, Bill.

 

 

 

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