How Dentsply Sirona celebrates the achievements of women in dentistry: An interview with Ms Susanne Schmidinger

Susanne Schmidinger, director of Global Brand Marketing Enabling Devices at Dentsply Sirona Digital Solutions Marketing

Dentsply Sirona’s second Smart Integration Award competition celebrates the achievements of women in dentistry. This competition, which is now open for entries, underlines the company’s commitment to the advancement of women in dentistry by showcasing and honouring their novel treatment concepts and ideas for the future.

Susanne Schmidinger, director of Global Brand Marketing Enabling Devices at Dentsply Sirona Digital Solutions Marketing, gives further information on this event.

Ms Schmidinger, the Smart Integration Award by Dentsply Sirona has existed since 2019. How did it come into being?

The Smart Integration Award is designed to honour female dentists with extraordinary success stories and innovative ideas. To find the best possible solutions in the digital workflows of dentistry practices, it is necessary for us to communicate with progressive dentists to find out how to optimise and connect the dental treatment process for more efficiency.

How do they integrate the patients’ needs into the treatment? The dentists’ experiences help us develop customised solutions for innovations in the future, which comply with our customers’ needs. This time around, we again want to work with creative and open-minded female thought leaders to come up with ideas on how to create a more efficient workflow.

What does the Smart Integration Award mean to you?

With the first competition, we were not only able to increase the proportion of female dentists in our growing dental professional network, but also get to know their different perspectives, which is great.

The Smart Integration Award especially honours the excellence and spirit of innovation of women in dentistry. I was absolutely impressed by the first round in 2019: 24 success stories of such excellent female dentists from seven countries – that was something very special. I am proud that with the award we can help give women a stage for their innovative ideas.

You are specifically addressing female dentists with the award. Why?

We always keep the needs of our customers in mind when developing our solutions and have recognised that more and more women are striving to qualify as dentists. Currently, in many countries, over 50% of people studying dentistry are women – and the trend is increasing.

Behind this is a great creative potential that will have a weighty influence on the future shape of dentistry. The Smart Integration Award provides a platform for building a strong international network of female talent within the profession.

At the last Smart Integration Award, 24 participants from seven countries were honoured for their ideas for the field of treatment centres. How do you use these ideas in product development?

We see our customers as partners on the path to innovatively advancing digital dentistry. This makes it all the more important for us to incorporate their wishes, ideas and practical experiences into new solutions and technologies. We are very excited to see the new ideas that come from this year’s award.

What is different about the Smart Integration Award 2021 compared to last time? What can the participants look forward to?

This year, we have significantly expanded the topics. Participants can now get involved in a wide range of specialist areas around the topic of smart integration. Digital workflows in the practice and patient communication are just as much a part of this as intelligent infection control and equipment management.

We are thus spanning orthodontics, endodontics, restorative dentistry, imaging, implant dentistry and dental technology. Diagnostics and supporting technology, such as treatment centres, play an important role. And we have made the competition even more international. This year, for the first time, dentists and dental technicians from the United States can also apply.

How can interested dentists apply for the Smart Integration Award 2021 and what are the requirements? How much effort is needed?

Online registration has started on 12 April and will run until 18 June 2021. We invite all female dentists to submit their ideas or their success stories on how workflow and patient experience can be made even better through connected products in the following categories: Imaging, Treatment Centres, Digital, Orthodontics, Endodontics, Dental Conservation, Dental Technology, Hygiene, Implantology, Equipment Management, Design and UX.

The award appeals to both practice owners and employed female dentists – regardless of whether they specialise or work in a general practice. Participants have complete freedom in designing their entries: They can submit their successful project or idea as photos, video, text, or sketches.

Is there already a date for the award ceremony and, with COVID-19 in mind, are you planning a digital form of award presentation?

We will continue to monitor the pandemic situation globally and decide at a later stage which option is appropriate. We are flexible and safety is our top priority. Of course, we would be happy if we can meet in person.

Men and women have different needs in terms of ways of working, working hours and work-life balance. In your opinion, to what extent is it important for a company like Dentsply Sirona to take this into account?

Our primary goal is to offer innovations that are highly relevant to the future of dentistry. We therefore work equally with female and male dentists and learn through this dialogue what their needs are in detail.

The aim is to meet the dentists where they are with their expectations and to examine them for their feasibility and transferability to the needs of our customers. This integration of different perspectives enables us to develop technological solutions holistically. In each case, we see different requirements in terms of ease of use, but the requirements for comfort and ergonomics are also different.

How is the future of oral healthcare supported by Dentsply Sirona’s technologies, science, clinical offerings or service?

We take a deliberately interdisciplinary approach, incorporating knowledge from the entire spectrum of dental solutions to inspire innovation. Clinical studies with universities are just as important to us as continuous knowledge exchange with dental practices worldwide.