We don’t sell products, we sell innovative solutions
Why Russians are no longer afraid of the dentist
In terms of medical care in the USSR, dentistry was always the worst. You might even say that there was no such thing at all. Believe it or not, but back then dentists didn’t use any kind of anesthesia! Soviet people were so afraid of the dentist that they only went when there was no other option, preferring to suffer through pain for months. To get a simple filling, foreign diplomats, businessmen, and journalists who worked in the USSR went to the nearby Helsinki, in Finland. But these days are long gone now. “People are no longer afraid of the dentist,” Vice President and General Manager of Dentsply Sirona in Russia & CIS said during an hour-long interview with Capital Ideas, “In Russia, people are increasingly more likely to trust both dentists and dental equipment.” This may come a surprise, but today people from Europe and Asia come to Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Dental tourism is flourishing!
Dentsply Sirona is a world-famous US company, and a leading provider of dental products and technology that operates across 120 countries. Dentsply Sirona has been active in Russia since the 1990s. In fact, it’s more accurate to say that Dentsply Sirona returned to Russia in the 90s. Because the first time the company appeared in Russia was in the very beginning of the 20th century, but was forced to terminate their operations here after the Revolution in 1917. Now, the company is making up for lost time. It’s truly developing rapidly. “When I joined the company in 2011 as the Director of Business Development, the company’s headquarters in Moscow had 40 employees. Now, we have 224 people,” Mr. Levin says with pride.
The company’s Moscow headquarters is located on the sixth floor of the German Centre for Industry and Trade. The floor above houses a showroom with a total area of 200 square meters, along with three training centers. Once you enter the showroom, which resembles a showroom for expensive cars, you’ll be surprised and excited by all the featured technology and products made in the US, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and France. You’ll involuntarily catch yourself thinking how nice it must be for dentists to work with this equipment. But the company doesn’t just sell technology. “We don’t just sell individual products, we offer solutions. Our products help people quickly, safely, and effectively solve any dental problem. This is our main advantage over our competitors,” Kirill Levin says. According to some people, Dentsply Sirona treatment centers are even installed at private dachas owned by important state officials.
You can put a dental crown on a problem tooth in two to three weeks if you’re using traditional technology. Many people in Russia still do this. But if you have Dentsply Sirona’s unique technology, you can get a crown in just an hour and a half. This is possible thanks to a machine that first takes a digital snapshot of the oral cavity, then makes a model of the crown, and make it on the spot in just a few minutes. Of course, you have to know how to use this kind of equipment. The company provides training for doctors, and not just at our training centers. We hold over 700 different educational events in Russia and the CIS every year.
At the end of September, the company held the international congress Dentsply Sirona World CIS 2018 for the second time. It brought together 1,800 professionals working in dentistry, and over 7,000 people participated via live broadcasts. “There was truly a lot of interest in the forum,” Kirill Levin says, “You know, dentists are incredibly mobile, they are constantly looking for development opportunities, and innovations. That’s what this field of medical care is like. Because changes happen much faster here than anywhere else in healthcare. So dentists have to constantly learn and grow, otherwise they’ll be outdone by more advanced competitors.” According to Mr. Levin, over 111,000 dentists and over 40,000 dental technicians are currently working in Russia and the CIS. “That means that this geographic location opens up a lot of opportunities for us,” Kirill concludes.