Group Dentistry Now recently interviewed Dave Casper, CEO of DenMat Holdings, LLC. to find out what DenMat is doing to assist clinicians, DSOs and their local community during the COVID-19 crisis.
GDN: Why did DenMat decide to switch its focus to manufacture infection control products?
Dave Casper: Like every other dental manufacturer and lab, DenMat has been impacted by this crisis. The shortage of hand sanitizer has been very well covered in the media, and once the FDA provided updated guidance on the manufacture of sanitizer, we knew we could convert part of our production facility in order to make it. The hand sanitizer has been extremely well received, and the same customers started asking about surface disinfectants as well. This too is something where DenMat has all of the ingredients, so it made sense to add this to the product line.
Dave Casper: The hand sanitizer is 80% alcohol and far exceeds the minimum requirement to be effective against the virus. It was originally introduced in small 3.6-ounce bottles for individual sale. We immediately started receiving inquiries from institutional buyers who were asking for different sizes and packaging. So as of today, we have 5 different sizes, up to a gallon container. We have also made this product available directly to consumers on our www.rotadent.com/BuyNow website, where it’s available in a 3-pack. Our surface cleanser contains an industrial surfactant along with 1.5% bleach, so it’s very effective and is available in a pack of two 32-ounce spray bottles.
GDN: How difficult was it to ramp up manufacturing?
Dave Casper: Not difficult at all. We have been making very similar products for years and are familiar with all the ingredients for each product. Compounding, mixing and bottle filling is something that DenMat does every day.
GDN: Is DenMat donating infection control products to the community and first responders?
Dave Casper: Our first batch of hand sanitizer went to employees and to our local first responders. We have made and continue to make donations to police and fire departments, healthcare providers and local hospitality workers. Our priority is to make sure we have a healthy company for all of our employees, and making sure our community is healthy seemed like the place to start.
GDN: What does the supply chain look like?
Dave Casper: Fortunately, DenMat has been using all the necessary ingredients for both products for many years. The alcohol is an ingredient that we use in our lab for our 3D model printing department. We use thousands of kilos of hydrogen peroxide in our Perio Restore hygiene product as well as our tooth whitening gels. Both are extremely high-volume product lines for us, and we are fortunate to have an excellent relationship with the suppliers for everything we need on an ongoing basis.
GDN: How has COVID-19 impacted your core business?
Dave Casper: The American Dental Association directive issued in late March effectively shut down all dental practices except for emergency procedures. This, in turn, has postponed the demand for much of the DenMat portfolio of products, as well as our laboratory. So much of our business is focused on preventive care as well as primary restorative procedures, so we expect a full recovery just as soon as everyone can go back to the dentist!
GDN: What can DSOs and dental practices do now to prepare for post-COVID-19 dentistry?
Dave Casper: I think we are all waiting to see what, if any, additional requirements will be required for dentists to start seeing non-emergency patients again. Operatory set-up, PPE requirements, it’s all still an unknown. All practices should be looking at things like procedure scheduling and timing. They should also be thinking about how to prioritize what we expect to be surging demand for dental care in the second half of the year.
GDN: What type of educational resources does DenMat provide to help keep dental teams engaged and informed during this crisis?
Dave Casper: One of the core strengths of our business has been education. In 2019, we held over 70 hand-on courses throughout the United States. This year we had even more planned! Even though the ability to hold these courses is on-hold, we have pivoted to online courses with frequent webinars, and next month we will be holding online, hands-on courses as well. This means we will ship the hands-on materials to the participant ahead of time and the work can still be evaluated by the instructor via webcam.
GDN: What is the outlook for DenMat and the industry?
Dave Casper: It’s trying times for everyone. We’ve had several hundred employees affected by this. We’re shut down to just essential operations so we are looking forward to when this is over and we can get all of our employees back to work. We are optimistic that dental practices and the industry will come back online soon.
Once that happens, we believe there will be pent-up demand for hygiene and restorative procedures and even esthetic procedures. However, we are realistic that the demand is dependent on the environment and how governing bodies will bring the industry back online. Either way, DenMat is prepared to service the industry as we have since 1974. We have a robust, innovative, and proven portfolio of hygiene and restorative products and our new infection control line will service the current environment. Our lab services are all conducted in the USA so we will be ready to meet laboratory demand as patients begin to see their dentists again.
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