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A busy start to the new year

Feb. 1, 2008
The new year started out with a BANG for me!

The new year started out with a BANG for me! The second day of the year I was on a 7 a.m. flight to the west coast to learn about an exciting new product. Currently under review by FDA for marketing approval, clinical trials report this product reverses the numbness associated with dental anesthetics. This is exciting stuff! That is all I can tell you about it right now, but more will be coming later.

When I came home on Jan. 4, my wife told me that her bridge on the lower left was loose and she was having some pain in a wisdom tooth on the same side. So I spent most of the next day taking care of that situation with no dental assistant. As usual, the biggest problem was finding everything that I needed to place a post in the second bicuspid abutment, reprep the second molar, and do an occlusal filling on the wisdom tooth. Poor Sue was in the chair about three hours!

I was really thankful for the Isolite dryfield illuminator! I was able to isolate the field, keep it dry, keep Sue comfortable with the bite block, and keep the field well-lighted. If you don’t have one of the Isolite systems in your office, you need to call them at (800) 560-6066 or visit their Web site at for more information. I can tell you that you will love it. So will your assistants and hygienists. In fact, you will probably need more than one system.

On Monday, Jan. 7, I was on a plane again at 6 a.m., bound for a visit to A-dec with my boss, DE® Dental Group Vice President Lyle Hoyt and Regional Sales Representative Breven Clark. My main contact at A-dec has always been the company’s Southeast regional rep, Nick Steen. He and I are old friends, dating back to his days as a salesman for DentalEZ. He called in August to tell me that he was retiring at the end of February after 20 years. He thought it was important for me to get to Newberg, Ore., because of the many changes that have taken place there. It had been more than five years since I had visited the A-dec facility in Newberg.

The biggest change was that A-dec Founder and CEO Ken Austin had turned over the day-to-day operation of the company to new President Scott Parrish on Jan. 1, 2007. The wonderful people at A-dec rolled out the red carpet for us. Scott joined us for dinner on the first night we were there, and we all enjoyed our time with him.

We were greeted on Tuesday morning by Public Relations Manager Paula Vogel, Marketing Director Peggy Fisher, and Advertising Manager John Gendron, who were our hosts for our visit. We toured the huge manufacturing facility in the morning, ending up in the boardroom for lunch. Scott Parrish then presented a program on the new team management system that he is using to run this large, still family-owned, company. We spent the rest of the afternoon learning all about the strengths of the A-dec organization. I had an opportunity to speak to A-dec’s regional sales managers at the end of the day. That evening, we had another memorable dinner at a restaurant with an incredible view of the Portland area.

I am writing this on my flight back to St. Louis on Wednesday morning, Jan. 9, and reflecting on what I saw and heard. I came away with a new sense of what makes A-dec the selection of more than 50 percent of dentists who buy equipment. The attention to detail in the manufacturing process is really mind-boggling. A-dec has always had problems finding suppliers willing and able to provide components to its specifications. Frequently, the company’s solution was to manufacture its own components to ensure the company met its demanding specifications. The number of times chairs and delivery units are tested as they are built has to be seen to be believed! No wonder they are perceived by dentists as a high quality product.

But A-dec is also about people. Ken and Joan Austin built this company from scratch with a family atmosphere. Every employee in the plant was willing and able to answer my questions about the manufacturing process, and they were proud of their part in the making of A-dec’s quality products. The number one job of the company’s sales reps is to make certain that doctors are pleased with their purchases and that everything is working well. A-dec has a customer service system that provides information about all the products that the company has ever made. If you are in the market for new equipment, I would recommend you take a good look at the A-dec system, and ask them about the VIP tour of the Newberg facility.

And don’t forget to nominate your dental assistant for the Innovative Dental Assistant of the Year, presented by 3M ESPE. You know how valuable your chairside assistant is to your practice, and now you have the chance to let everyone know how valuable this key member of your team is! To nominate your dental assistant, log on to

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Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor – e-mail: [email protected]
Toll-free phone number: (866) 274-4500

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