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Q&A: The Future of Endodontics with John Ferone

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At a dental trade show earlier this year, I had the great opportunity to interview John Ferone, Senior Director, Global Endodontic Category Management for Henry Schein Dental. John is responsible for product and commercial development of the endodontic product category, in partnership with Henry Schein’s Global Dental leadership team. John joined Henry Schein in 2010 as a National Endodontics Sales Manager. He was formerly Head of Sales at Guidance Edodontics, based in Albuquerque, NM.

The following Q&A appears in the July issue of Dental Product Shopper on page 74.

Q: How is the Henry Schein product line evolving to meet the growing trend of regenerative endodontics?

A: As regenerative endodontics continues to be a hot topic in dentistry, Henry Schein is exploring opportunities with our partners to help clinicians realize this dream one day.  Predictable regenerative procedures could be the next big breakthrough that changes the field of endodontics, and we are closely monitoring this trend. 

Q: How are you targeting general practitioners vs. specialists?  

A: Over the years, Henry Schein Dental has expanded the depth of its product portfolio in the specialty space.  More specialty products are now available, including equipment, consumables, and software that help customers operate a better business while delivering high-quality patient care.  

When I entered the industry in the 1990s, endodontics was not something that a lot of GPs offered as a mainstream service. GPs often referred patients to the endodontic specialist, especially more difficult cases. With technology, such as digital radiography, nickel titanium files, and proven obturation techniques, industry estimates are that 85% or more of GPs do some form of endodontic therapy. GPs may handle easy cases and still refer some of the more difficult ones to specialists, but the reality is that the dental specialist is seeing more complex cases as a whole. The GP is doing the easier cases because technology has allowed them to do that.

Given these changes, we are targeting GPs differently than specialists to help meet their unique needs. It’s not just about the technology, but what the technology can do for the individual practice.

Q: What technological changes do you see coming in the future?

A: Prior to advances in technology for the specialists, it often took 2, 3, or 4 appointments for endodontists to complete traditional root canal therapy. The advent of engine-driven files, which we offer, makes these procedures quicker, resulting in less hand fatigue, and ultimately more efficiency. Heat-treated alloys have also made files more durable and flexible.

Q: How do you see the growth in implants affecting endodontics?

While many GPs, periodontists, oral maxillofacial surgeons and prosthodontists are also placing implants, endodontists are placing more implants than ever before.  Provided the longer-term prognosis of the tooth is reasonably good, which is often the case, it makes more sense for an endodontist to treat the tooth and for the patient to retain their natural dentition.  In cases where the prognosis is more challenging, clinicians, including some endodontists, may opt for placing a dental implant.

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