"We strive to go BEYOND"

Search Dental Tribune

Erania Brackett is head of sustainability and senior vice president of orthodontic and aligner solutions and customer experience at Dentsply Sirona. (Image: Dentsply Sirona)

Caring for the environment requires more than providing sustainable products and dentists are looking to manufacturers for leadership in ethical, inclusive, and equitable business development. Earlier this year, Erania Brackett took over the role of head of sustainability at Dentsply Sirona. She spoke with Dental Tribune International on the sidelines of DS World 2023 in Las Vegas about the company’s efforts to go beyond expectations when it comes to sustainable development. Brackett is also senior vice president of orthodontic and aligner solutions and customer experience and she spoke about new developments concerning SureSmile Aligners and about the company’s key takeaways from DS World.

Mrs Brackett, dentists are interested in the predictability of SureSmile aligner treatment. What can you tell us about this? Are there any new developments concerning the system?
Indeed, predictability is the most important consideration for dentists when selecting a clear aligner system. As no refinements are required in three out of four SureSmile cases, the refinement rate is a huge advantage. A shorter treatment means less chair time for the patient, as well as greater confidence in the process and a better treatment experience. Consequently, the availability of consultation time at the practice is increased.

Not only do clear aligners provide a fantastic opportunity for practice growth, but they are also a gateway to other restorative and cosmetic treatments, helping to increase practice revenue and profitability.

We have implemented several strategies to support and attract customers to our solution by emphasising its simplicity and ease of use. Dentists receive support and training to help them get started in their practice and to continue to do more cases. Our team consists of field sales experts, clinical implementation specialists and customer care specialists, and they partner with the dentists at every step.

The addition of two new solutions to the SureSmile aligner system helps dentists to offer an excellent treatment experience. SureSmile VPro is a high-frequency vibration device that patients can use at home to help aligners fit properly. Used for just 5 minutes a day, it may help reduce patient discomfort. Once the aligner treatment is complete, SureSmile retainers protect patients’ investment in their smile.

The system also offers more training and greater resources via SureSmileU and the DS Academy. SureSmileU is our online training resource, offering self-paced learning that is accessible at any time, from anywhere. The interactive content supports case submission and features videos with tips and tricks concerning patient interactions. Our dentists will be supported and guided throughout the entire process so that they can advance with confidence. 

We all need to work together in order to make dentistry more sustainable.

We understand that a new clear aligner product is being launched at this year’s DS World. What do our international readers need to know about it?
Yes, the new product is our SureSmile Simulator. Imagine showing your patients their new smiles before they start treatment. With the new SureSmile Simulator, clinicians will be able to do just that, allowing the patient’s possible future smile to speak for itself. The SureSmile Simulator, powered by DS Core and a Primescan intraoral scanner, enables dental professionals to transform treatment conversations by showing patients potential aesthetic benefits and helping them make informed and timely decisions. Prior to treatment planning, the SureSmile Simulator assists dental professionals in evaluating each case. By measuring initial models and generating estimated treatment duration and complexity from the post-simulation results, clinicians can enter the planning phase with greater insight.

What are you doing to increase the sustainability of your products?
Manufacturers must take proactive steps within their own companies and through innovative new solutions or services to make dentistry more sustainable. We are committed to advancing these efforts. On the product side, this is a significant challenge due to the hygiene and safety requirements for medical devices. However, one notable example is Primescan, which creates digital dental models and eliminates the need for impression materials. This reduces freight and saves paper since all scan data can be directly transmitted digitally to the dental laboratory for further use.

We have also started identifying ways to minimise our environmental footprint by improving and reducing packaging materials used to transport our products between our manufacturing sites and points of sale. This includes using more sustainable and recyclable packaging options, switching to commonly recycled plastics and removing plastics difficult to recycle, where possible.

We all need to work together in order to make dentistry more sustainable and we will continue to make progress in this area.

Erania Brackett spoke with Dental Tribune International on the sidelines of DS World 2023 in Las Vegas, where Dentsply Sirona launched the SureSmile Simulator and important updates in DS Core’s communication canvas. (Image: Dentsply Sirona)

Dentsply Sirona’s sustainability strategy, BEYOND, aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In line with Goal 5, what is the company doing to make dental education more inclusive and equitable?
Our BEYOND strategy aligns with the UN SDGs because we can be part of the collaborative action to create a more prosperous, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient world. Goal 5—to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls—is a key priority for us as we strive to go BEYOND not only in driving internal change but also in having an impact on the entire world of dentistry.

To start with, as a company, we made the commitment to achieve gender parity and gender pay parity by 2025. I am happy and proud to share that we have achieved gender pay parity in the US and are working diligently with our human resource (HR) and managerial teams to close the small remaining international gap for professional managerial levels by 2025. In support of this goal, we have launched a job catalogue which is intended to drive pay consistency, and we will continue to educate our managers and HR teams on the importance of proactively addressing potential pay parity gaps for new hires, promotions and new job opportunities across all levels within the organisation. I am pleased to share that, at the end of 2022, 43.5% of our total workforce was female.

In addition to our internal gender pay parity goal, we are a member of the cross-sector Paradigm for Parity initiative and have renewed our commitment as a signatory, maintaining our accountability for creating a working environment that supports the equitable advancement of all women.

Our largest employee resources group, DS Women, champions gender equality and has more than 1,000 members around the world. DS Women supports the development of female employees through allyship, mentorship, talent development and resource sharing and is a vocal advocate for gender pay parity.

Going BEYOND in our efforts to empower women across the industry, we proactively engage with female experts and speakers and remain vocal about increasing the representation of women throughout the industry. Our global women speaker development programme, called First to 50, ensures that more women in dentistry are represented through speaking opportunities. The programme provides structured training to enable female key opinion leaders to develop their speaking and presentation skills. Many of the graduates of this programme have spoken at industry-leading events, including DS World. We strive to achieve gender parity on the main stage at every major Dentsply Sirona event and we have achieved this here in Las Vegas.

In addition, our ongoing Women in DSO partnership and the Smart Integration Award offer female dentists the possibility to influence the future of dentistry, including through their own innovations.

Could you name one of the UN SDGs that you feel particularly passionate about?
I am passionate about our commitment to SDG Goal 3, which relates to good health and well-being. This goal is closely connected to our company mission and values. This year, we have made significant strides in advancing this goal.

We have actively engaged in philanthropic community initiatives, for example by channelling more than US$1 million in cash and in-kind donations in support of our signature charitable partnership with Smile Train—the largest cleft organisation in the world. These initiatives play a pivotal role in supporting the delivery of essential oral health care, particularly in underserved communities.

Our partnership with Smile Train is a crucial part of our community initiative and is driven by the shared ambition to further provision of safe, high-quality and expert cleft care. Since the beginning of our partnership in 2021, we have provided vital dental surgeries for over 2,700 children with clefts.

One of the additional community initiatives we are supporting is Project 32. As part of this partnership, we are making a significant impact by providing essential endodontic treatment to those in need. This initiative aligns with our mission to enhance oral health on a broader scale.

Our joint advocacy initiative, the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe, is a testament to our commitment to addressing oral health inequalities and challenges and seeks to improve oral health outcomes and promote greater awareness of oral health issues across Europe.

World Oral Health Day activities have been a key part of our efforts to raise awareness about the importance of oral health on a global scale. These initiatives empower individuals and communities to prioritise oral health as an integral component of overall well-being.

Ultimately, our core mission is to provide oral healthcare through our products and services. We remain steadfast in our commitment to achieving Goal 3 by advancing access to quality oral health care, promoting awareness and fostering a healthier, safer world for all.

We have already achieved our initial targets to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emission intensity by ≥ 15%. 

Dentsply Sirona said in 2021 that it aimed to reduce combined Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2025. How is the company progressing on this goal?
A healthy planet is fundamental to our future, and at Dentsply Sirona, we are focused on reducing our environmental footprint.

Since the launch of BEYOND in 2021, we have installed solar panels at several sites, including our largest production site, in Bensheim in Germany, and have conducted energy and waste audits across several sites globally to identify opportunities to reduce our on-site energy consumption and waste production. We have also implemented processes and initiatives that reduce our water intake and improve our water withdrawal and are increasingly using and developing digital tools and solutions—such as DS Core—to become a more sustainable business.

As a result, we have already achieved our initial targets to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emission intensity by ≥ 15% against a 2019 baseline ahead of the original 2025 time frame. In 2022, we decreased our total greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 5%! We are now working to set our next near-term goals for 2030, in support of our 2050 net zero goal.

Lastly, what would you say are the most important take-home messages from DS World 2023 regarding new developments in Dentsply Sirona’s portfolio and services?
The theme of DS World this year is “The future of care”, so we have announced the addition of several new products and solutions to our highly integrated product portfolio.

In addition to our SureSmile Simulator, which I mentioned before, we have made important updates in DS Core’s communication canvas and in its ordering and viewing functionalities. These updates will allow, among other things, annotations—both freehand drawing and text—on 2D radiographs and 2D media and 2D CBCT slices, both freehand drawing and text. This supports file sharing with patients that complies with EU and US data protection regulations, improves chat functionality for better accessibility from mobile devices and provides the capability of viewing even more data formats such as STL and PLY, making DS Core a powerful communication and collaboration tool for users of third-party scanners.

DS World, the “Ultimate experience in digital dentistry”,  also featured a new educational experience for participants: showcasing how DS Core supercharges a dental practice. From diagnosis and treatment planning to helping patients better understand their options, the DS Core showcase experience tangibly showed how DS connected technology solutions give dental practices the power to do more.

To post a reply please login or register