Interview with Czechdent
Dr Pavel Smažík, Managing Director of Dentamed (Czech Republic), is committed to developing the Czech dental market as President of Czechdent, the Czech dental trade association, and is active in the European dental business as a board member of the Association of Dental Dealers in Europe (ADDE). In this interview, he discusses the upcoming meeting in Prague, the beauty of the Czech capital and the growing Czech dental market.*
Dental Tribune Online: Dr Smažík, why are you looking forward to the upcoming annual general assembly in Prague?
Dr Smažík: The 2016 annual general assembly will be held from 29 April to 1 May at the Grand Hotel Bohemia in Prague. This is one of the many benefits we enjoy as members of ADDE. The event gives us the opportunity to meet with fellow members, sponsors and distinguished guests. The European market is constantly changing owing to political regulations, new competition from other regions, and innovative products and technologies. We need to meet every year to remain aware of these changes and respond accordingly.
Besides the board meeting, statutory meetings and the festive dinners, we will have a very interesting conference on marketing in dentistry that will discuss three approaches to the topic. First, we will have a presentation on new ways of wellness marketing in dentistry, including the change in dentistry towards a prophylaxis and all-in-one approach. The second presentation will address finance and business intelligence for dental businesses to stay profitable. Finally, our afternoon session will cover the topic of modern communication in dentistry and be followed by a panel discussion.
All of this will take place in Prague and we are delighted to welcome everybody to our capital.
Prague has consistently been ranked a major city to visit in Europe. What will the main cultural highlights of the meeting be?
Prague is well known for its geographic location in the heart of Europe and offers many cultural and architectural highlights. Our congress hotel, the Grand Hotel Bohemia, is right in the centre of the Old Town. All major points of interest are within easy walking distance, including Old Town Square with the famous astronomical clock, the Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square and the Jewish quarter. We will be hosting the welcome dinner at the famous Art Deco Imperial Hotel’s Café Imperial and the farewell dinner at one of the best Prague restaurants. Visitors will be able to enjoy a breath-taking panoramic view of Prague while relaxing and connecting with other guests. The programme for accompanying persons consists of a guided tour through the city, including the lovely Palace Gardens, the art nouveau Municipal House and the Jewish quarter on Sunday. All our previous meetings have taken place in beautiful cities and I am sure that the meeting in Prague will be no exception.
Czech public and private clinics have made substantial investments in dental equipment in recent years, and the quality of oral health care in the country is relatively high. How would you assess the current state of dentistry in the Czech Republic?
The Czech dental industry has begun growing again in the last several years. For example, Czech dental businesses performed well at the PRAGODENT exhibition in 2014 and 2015. The Czechdent association has been a long-time partner of this international event. In order to maintain the high level of the exhibition and to be able to bring the newest products and information to visitors, Czechdent proposed holding PRAGODENT every two years, in the same year as the International Dental Show. This proposal received wide support among dental companies and other partners, and the management of PRAGODENT too was in favour of this. Unfortunately, the owner of Incheba expo decided to hold PRAGODENT each year. As all members of Czechdent and most of their suppliers decided not to attend PRAGODENT 2016, the unfortunate situation has arisen of the expo falling to a level from where it will be difficult to recover. However, this creates opportunities for dental exhibitions in the Czech Republic.
Czech consumers are increasingly realising the importance of good oral care. Toothbrush and toothpaste use in the country have increased to a level where the Czech market is, for some producers, one of best markets in the world. We expect this trend to continue, especially with regard to sophisticated oral care products. On the other side, we have also seen a tendency to use natural products and avoid those containing a great deal of chemicals.
The Czech Republic offers comprehensive and advanced dental care according to the latest EU standards. In 2015, the country had over 7,000 practising dentists for a population of 10.5 million inhabitants. The health care system offers public insurance plans and allows private contributions and payments. The public plans provide basic care, such as prophylaxis, check-ups and fillings, while advanced treatments, such as whitening and implants, are paid for privately. The average Czech citizen visits the dentist twice a year, and we have finally begun to see an increase in visits to the dental hygienist. In addition, we have seen new technologies and equipment being acquired by dental clinics all over the country. CAD/CAM systems and 3-D radiographic devices are now rising in importance, along with intra-oral cameras, lasers, new autoclaves, microscopes and digital radiographic sensors. Dental dealers are offering their customers a wide range of services in support of the sales of consumables and equipment.