Welcome back to another episode of T-Bone speaks.
I’m Dr.Tarun Agarwal and thank you for taking an opportunity to listen to our podcast and taking time out of your life and your schedule to do so. I hope we bring exceptional value to you.
And today we have a question I don’t know if it’s exactly that question but more of a philosophy and thoughts on something that’s very near and dear to me.
The question comes in and here’s the email that was sent in:
Tarun, love you podcast -thank you very much- thanks for doing them -it’s my pleasure- my question pertaining to the relationship we have with dental suppliers dental reps. In its simplest form, my question would be: Can we believe our reps? And is it worth the additional cost some supplies to have an exclusive relationship with one dealer? In a broader sense my question relates to adding new materials and supplies to my office, we are bombarded daily with emails telling the latest and greatest composite, cements, mobile blocks, instruments, implants and et cetera. I want to provide the best I can for my patients and that’s not realistic to try all new things myself. I rely on CRA, I rely on CEREC doctors, CE and alike. But then at the end of the day, everyone has an opinion, who is right? Is there a right answer when it comes to consumables? Do you know what to use? How do you know what to use in your office? How much you rely on reps? And do you believe your reps clearly have a financial interest in you buying their products? To give information on what you would put on another human being.
It’s a great question and I think it’s something that we all struggle with on a daily basis. So I don’t really know how to answer this. You know, I can just give you my thoughts. Number one, personally I don’t believe in any type of exclusive relationship, except when it comes to marriage. I think that’s probably the area where you should probably be very exclusive and be careful with what you do there. But exclusives relationship, see what happens when you become exclusive? And by when I say exclusive, blinded exclusive, where you become mentally set on one thing and one place and information, you don’t hear every side of it. Your are getting only biased information. And at the end of the day, I firmly believe the buyer beware and you as the dentist, as professional, as the buyer of these products you should know what you buy. Now, I would also say and argue why in the world would we need to change composites and some meds and all these things so often? You know, composites are becoming that much better in the last 3-4 years? Or has handling change and it is about price? is about certain material characteristics, like slump and flow and things like that that make the difference. Personally I haven’t seen a significant increase in material quality in the past three, four, five years. Certainly you have some new materials coming that can make an impact. But I haven’t see a bonding agent that suddenly is the greatest thing. That makes what I’ve been using the last 5-8 years obsolete. So do we really need to be bombarded? allow ourselves be bombarded so much by all of these marketing and sales tactics? Now, can you believe our reps? You know, that really depends on the rep that you have. I have a wonderful rep, in fact he is the co-host of my show, but I believe everything he says? Of course not. You know, why would I believe everything he says? There are many things that he knows a lot more about, but there’s many things he doesn’t know a lot more about. A lot of the times reps get their information on the manufacturer reps, and they simply regard to that information. Very few times are the reps, who eventually touched and field and handle the material. Now, more than likely your rep has never worked in the mouth, but the hopefully they work for typodont. They have done some testing, they can come with information on what’s possible and how these materials are better. But too often not, that’s not what they’re doing. So buyer, beware. So, in a flip side of that, do you rely on dentist? Are the dentist more? And logical thinking is sure, you should rely on another dentist, the dentist works in the mouth and now they know what they are doing. But just as you believe that your rep has a financial interest in the product that he or she is selling, I can promise you as a speaker and educated myself, we are biased as well. Too often many of the speakers don’t disclose their financial interests, they don’t disclose who’s paying them, they don’t disclose that the materials they’re using, they are using because they get them for free in the practice. Now, to me that’s not how you can that’s not a person that is totally trustworthy. For example I’m biased toward to a product. I am a trainer, I am speaker, I’m not paid to use the product, but I train for them, I speak for them and they pay me money to do those things. So, I always try to disclose that. That being said, I do not accept anything for free in my practice. I don’t even let allow reps to buy us lunch because I think that hinders my decision making process. Same with specialist when the specialists come to visit me. I don’t allow them to buy me lunch because I don’t want to feel beholden or obligated to send them something. So, you need to really know who you’re listening to and what the financial interests are on that person that you’re listening to. So, there is no right answer. The right answer is you need to trust yourself, trust the materials of reputable companies and that’s why I’m a big believer and using reputable companies. One of the reputable companies, you know, the GC America’s, you know, the dentsply of the world. These are reputable companies. Now, do they make mistakes? of course they do. Do they sometimes have products that aren’t as good as they thought they were going to be? Of course they do. But generally speaking working with products from these companies are going to get you where you need to go. You’re going to have back in, you are going to have a good product that you can rely on, good product that you can feel safe and using. There are very good smaller companies out there, companies like KETTENBACH for impression materials, Companies like APEX dental who makes some very nice bonding agents and resins as well. Lot of these companies, they make good products, butat the end of the day, my preference is to stay with the big boys because I know that they have a history of producing good products, they have support and they have learning opportunities. Before I make a change, I very rarely make a change simply based on whatever a rep bring in to my office and tells me, I like to touch and feel it, I like to try that out on a typodont, I like to try it out on the mixing pad, like to try it out on something before I take it to the mouth. I’m always a skeptical person. I would be skeptical of the reps I would skeptical the manufacturer reps, I’d be skeptical of the dentist that you listen is speaking to you. You know that the end of the day you have to make the decision on what’s best for you. Ignorance is not a defense. So hopefully this makes sense you know I would love to do a talk with chuck on what you should be doing for your practice. You know, one part of this question was about having exclusive relationships with dealers and ultimately this boils down to Patterson and shine. You know, is it worth paying more to have that relationship? And ultimately I find that relationship is worth more but if my rep is not bringing value to me, then what is the point of that relationship? You know, everything is so important on value. You know, what is that rep are doing to you? It is simply about making things easy for you? Then it might be worth a little bit more. it’s that rep is actually growing your practice and how does a rep grows your practice? Are they bringing CE to your area? Are they bringing study clubs to your area? Are there participating in your education? Are they going with you the education? Are they encouraging you to take education? or they bring that education to your area? So these are things that I look for in whether or not I have a good rep, and whether or not that rep and the company that they represent is worth the premium that you’re paying for that.
So hopefully this makes sense, I don’t really feel like I answered any of the questions, but just gave some thoughts on this constant issue that we all struggle with, that we all wonder, can that be this? It’s just like golf equipment. How can it be a new driver every year that gives me another 15 yards of distance I should be hitting 500 yards by now but I simply am not.
So again, a lot of this is marketing sizzle and buyer beware make sure it fits you make sure that your practice. Just because you’re using something that’s four, five, six, seven years old doesn’t mean that there’s something better. Doesn’t mean that it’s bad. If you’re getting good results with it, it’s working very well for you then you need to have a compelling reason to make a change.
Thank you and I look forward to your questions in the future.
Enjoy The Show?
- Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes, Stitcher or RSS.
- Leave us a review in iTunes
- Join the conversation by leaving a comment below!