The 'trifecta' driving dental evolution: Q&A with Dr. Lorin Berland

A combination of digital technology, the aging population and an increased demand for cosmetics is encouraging changes in patient care, according to one dentist leader. 

Lorin Berland, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Dr. B Dental Solutions, which manufactures care products for dental appliances. He recently spoke with Becker's about trends in dentistry and how the industry is evolving.

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What technologies/innovations are coming into the industry that will improve efficiency and quality of care?

Lorin Berland: The whole digital revolution across the board has just changed the landscape. I've never seen so many technological innovations in dentistry. It started with X-rays 25 years ago and it's all restorative now. It's just streamlining everything. The only problem I think I see with the digital technology is I'm afraid, especially with full arch treatment, that they're neglecting the basics for speed and efficiency. I still think that if you're doing full arch implant bridges, it's good to plan it out with a denture. You have to think about tongue space, arch form, even airway space. That's the only reservation I see with digital. Beyond that, it's just revolutionized dentistry. There'll always be impressions and stuff like that, but digital has just changed the whole arena. 

Q: How do you see your company and the industry evolving in the next three to five years?

LB: We see massive growth ahead for Dr. B Dental Solutions. There are more than 41 million Americans with dentures and more every day. Denture wearers are getting younger and living longer. In addition, there are over 90 million Americans with removable dental appliances. The need for aligners, guards and airway devices is skyrocketing. Demand for implant-retained dentures and fixed implant bridges is escalating. Big Pharma has neglected these people. We have not. The competition only offers stale antiquated products — denture adhesives and cleaners. We have created a full line of solutions to care for dentures, implants and dental appliances, and more importantly, the people who wear them.  We have the only denture care system to earn multiple ADA Seals of Acceptance. People love our products and sales are exploding.

Dentistry follows the bell curve of the population and of course the bell curve has been the baby boomer. When I got started, everything was preventive. Then, it moved into cosmetics as the baby boomers wanted cosmetics. It started with tooth colored fillings, then it went on to veneers and bonding. Implants are becoming very big because people are losing their teeth right now. That's the sequel of getting old and genetics and diet and education and trauma. Now, you see such an emphasis for arch implant bridges and dentures. When I started working on these products 25 years ago, they're doing twice as many dentures a year in America as they were doing 25 years ago.

When I started doing this, everybody goes, "Dentures are going to be obsolete." And I said, "I don't think so." Now, what's driving a lot of this [is] social media. It would be hard to get a job or date with jacked up teeth. Now you can't even use your phone with jacked up teeth. It's driving it. So when people would be missing a couple teeth or something and you replace them with implants, it's like, "Okay, but now I've got different colored teeth," or whatever. They want everything to look great. Again, dentures were the original cosmetic dentistry. The other thing that I think that's changing dentistry besides digital technology is the aging population and social media. People having teeth removed and implants placed and spending $50,000, that would've been unheard of. But nowadays the people are older, they have more money and they want to look good. So I would say that's the trifecta changing dentistry: digital technology, aging of America and the craving for cosmetics.

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