Eric K. Brandt, Board Chairman
Donald M. Casey, Jr., CEO
Nick Alexos, Exec. VP and CFO
Keith Ebling, Exec. VP, General Counsel, and Secretary
Maureen MacInnis, Sr. VP and Chief Human Resources Officer
NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 16,100
GLOBAL HEADQUARTERS: York, Pa.
Their behavior was off.
Clearly, something was amiss with the two adult lions rescued from illegal captivity in Abu Dhabi, the capital and second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates. Wildlife conservationists were fairly certain the pair’s odd conduct was physical rather than emotional in nature—i.e., not related to depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any other psychological condition.
The animals’ behavior, actually, was more emblematic of a nasty toothache (restlessness, irritability, trouble eating and sleeping). In fact, all signs pointed to a root canal.
“They were suffering from severe pain and root canal surgery was the only solution,” Rone’l Barcellos, manager of the Abu Dhabi Wildlife Center, told Gulf News last winter. The Centre teamed with the Sharjah Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife and Dentsply Sirona Inc. to relieve the lions’ suffering.
South African veterinary surgeon Dr. Gerhard Steenkamp voluntarily performed the root canal procedures in early February 2017 using custom-made stainless steel files from Dentsply Sirona. The dental equipment giant developed a sequence of READYSTEEL Senseus Hedstroems from ISO 030 to ISO 180 to allow Steenkamp to easily and quickly remove damaged pulp tissue from the lions’ damaged teeth. The files from ISO 030 to ISO 140 increased in increments of 10, and then by 20 up to ISO 180. The active part per file was 60 mm, and total length (sans handle) reached 150 mm.
Steenkamp saved the male lion’s fractured tooth, but could only save one of the female’s two broken teeth.
“Finding files of suitable sizes and active working lengths for dental procedures on larger animals is a difficult task,” said Camille d’Halluin, senior product manager at Dentsply Sirona Endodontics. “Although the core focus of Dentsply Sirona Endodontics is on human patients, we are proud to lend our support and global reach to Dr. Steenkamp’s efforts. With the production of hundreds of custom-made endodontic files and the donation of a X-Smart iQ and ProTaper Gold files, we hope to enable Dr. Steenkamp to continue his good deeds worldwide.”
The lions’ uplifting tale infused some much-needed joy last year into an otherwise bleak chapter of Dentsply Sirona history. The challenges were plentiful and perceivably pivotal in 2017 as the company contended with lingering fallout from its $14.5 billion merger with Sirona Dental Systems the previous year: a $1 billion second-quarter loss; an executive management shakeup; and a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into accounting practices.
Yet the year was not a total washout—net sales rose 6.6 percent to $3.9 billion and gross profit swelled 9.4 percent to $2.2 billion. Revenue in both of the company’s operating segments went up, as did proceeds in all three geographic regions.
Technologies & Equipment sales jumped 8.8 percent to $2.16 billion, while Consumables revenue rose 5.8 percent to $1.8 billion. U.S. sales climbed 4.6 percent to $1.36 billion, and European revenue mushroomed 10.8 percent to $1.57 billion. Rest of World sales, meanwhile, increased 6.1 percent to $1 billion.
“Fiscal 2017 was a challenging but ultimately positive year for the organization,” newly minted CEO Donald Casey told investors in Dentsply Sirona’s 2017 annual report. “We did not meet our initial financial guidance. The transition [to expand distribution of our equipment business in North America], coupled with integration challenges, hindered the company’s ability to execute. As the year closed, however, we began to turn the page on how we can focus on growing our portfolio of products and services.”
Casey vowed to recapture Dentsply Sirona’s profit-making potential through a three-pillar plan comprised of improving sales force efficacy, accelerating the pace of innovation, and increasing market share in developing regions (Asia, Latin America, the Middle East).
“One of the most important lessons from 2017 is our need to refocus on our fundamentals,” Casey wrote in the annual report. “We are in a very attractive market with a great portfolio of brands and products...We have the opportunity to transform dentistry by delivering products and solutions that enable better, safer, and faster care. If we provide our customers with unique dental solutions, we should be able to grow faster than the market and create significant shareholder value.”
Dentsply Sirona tested that theory last year with the introduction of several new products, including the Orthophos SL X-ray device and Cavitron built-in ultrasonic scaler with the Intego line of Treatment Centers (for removing stubborn calculus).
The Orthophos SL provides high definition and standard dose modes as well as a 3D I-X with low dose mode to best suit patients’ needs. The machine provides indication-based diagnostics using CBCT images in the same dose range as two-dimensional images, according to the company.
In a nod to its digitally-savvy clientele, Dentsply tweaked its decades-old CEREC CAD/CAM system last year to allow the export of scan data in STL format. The update enables dentists to use CEREC Omnicam scans seamlessly when collaborating with dental labs or other clinical planning software.
Dentsply Sirona also bolstered its product offerings (and future earnings prospects) through two acquisitions and an academic partnership. The latter occurred at the start of 2017 and involved the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dentsply Sirona agreed to provide SmartLite Focus L.E.D. curing lights to incoming students through 2021 and work with Penn Dental Medicine faculty to fine-tune and develop a Class II Solutions message using various products, including: SmartLite Focus lights, Palodent Plus Sectional Matrix System, Prime & Bond Elect Universal Adhesive, SureFil SDR flow+ Bulk Fill Flowable, TPH Spectra HV, and LV Universal Composite and Enhance Finishing System.
Two months after announcing the partnership, the company purchased RTD (Recherches Techniques Dentaires), a French provider of endodontic posts, and in September, acquired gutta-percha material science from Healthdent Technology International. Previously, Healthdent supplied Dentsply Sirona with gutta-percha master cones for the ProTaper Gold and WaveOne Gold file systems worldwide, as well as the ProTaper Next and TRUshape file systems in North America. The formation is trademarked as Conform Fit.
Healthdent’s patented gutta-percha formulation is designed to enable the high-precision injection molding of gutta-percha master cones that are compatible with the shapes created by multi-tapered file systems. The formulation also is designed to provide a lower melt temperature and ideal flow characteristics that provide better performance of the gutta-percha in warm obturation techniques. “Healthdent’s gutta-percha material technologies are an ideal addition to the Dentsply Sirona Endodontics portfolio and perfectly complement its range of nickel-titanium root canal preparation file systems,” Bill Newell, senior vice president of chairside consumables and endodontics at Dentsply Sirona, said when the acquisition was disclosed.
Newell was one of the survivors of a management shakeup that occurred less than a week after the Healthdent deal was announced and eventually resulted in the departure of five top Dentsply Sirona leaders, including former CEO Jeffrey T. Solovin. Casey joined the company in February 2018 from Cardinal Health, where he was CEO of that firm’s Medical segment.