From Pain to Prevention – Why This Shift Matters to Me
As a child growing up in Eastern Europe, I didn’t go to the dentist unless something was wrong. I was born in Ukraine, and my family immigrated to the United States 30 years ago. Years later, we still never wanted to go – because seeing a dentist simply meant pain. As an adult, I learned this was the case for many people no matter where they grew up.
We live in a very different world today. Yet, we still face a great challenge because old views are slow to change: many people don’t realize that good oral health is essential to good overall health. Instead, they see it the same way that our health and insurance systems were built – as something separate. And these systems, which are meant to help people, perpetuate that dated and flawed view. All too often, the result is that people don’t get the care they need and deserve.
“The day is surely coming, and perhaps within the lifetime of you young men before me, when we will be engaged in practicing preventive, rather than reparative, dentistry.”
If that quote sounds both visionary and archaic to you, it should. Dr. G.V. Black, one of the founders of modern dentistry, said this to his students back in 1896. Now, a full 123 years later, the day he envisioned is long overdue.
Change must happen now.
I came to DentaQuest to be part of that change. It’s a place where I knew I could make a difference. Here, I am inspired by colleagues who have the courage and willingness to do things differently, who see things from a different perspective, who have the vision to reimagine our world. We experiment and take smart risks, and importantly, we employ a collaborative and evidence-based approach to needed transformation. We are becoming faster and more agile each day.
Our innovation efforts currently focus on three strategic opportunities:
- Making communities healthier by bringing better care to more people in each community
- Medical and dental integration guided by better data, predictive analytics, and insights
- Consumer-directed oral health, to educate and empower consumers, redefine access to care, and prioritize prevention
Of course, these opportunities are not without their challenges. But we’ve already shown success. Here are a few examples:
- We are beginning to tap the power of predictive analytics to yield better insights.
- Novel technologies allow us to identify early stage cavities even before they can be picked up on an X-ray.
- New preventive treatments, like Curodont Repair Fluoride Plus, are enabling us to target early stage tooth decay without a drill, remineralizing enamel, and rebuilding healthy tooth structure from the inside out.
- We also have the advantage of unparalleled human capital: successful clinical programs of our own that we are continually improving, plus a network of trusted relationships with legislators, regulators, providers, scientists, academics, and consumers.
As I look across our industry, I am reminded of the lessons of my childhood and why old views must change. Oral health is intimately tied to overall health. It’s intimately tied to self-worth. It’s even intimately tied to our economy. And there are vast inequities that are finally within our power to address.
So, let’s do this – let’s help curb the pain. At DentaQuest, we seek partners with a perspective on improving oral health – particularly in the areas of community care, medical-dental integration, and consumer empowerment. Partnerships mean broader collaboration and more help to achieve health equity.
Together, we can shift the industry away from pain and toward prevention and we will achieve better oral health for all.