With the launch of coDiagnostiX™ 9.5 and Straumann® CARES® Visual 9 in October 2014, implant surgery and prosthetic planning were raised to the next level in terms of software convergence and workflow integration. At the IDS 2015 in Cologne/Germany, Straumann presented a new software update (Version 10) with more prosthetic options for Straumann® CARES® X-stream and improvements in usability. In this interview, Straumann CEO Marco Gadola outlines Straumann’s strategy, commitment, and vision in the field of digital dentistry.

Two years ago, Straumann consolidated software development resources in order to strengthen Dental Wings as a software powerhouse in digital dentistry. Why?

Marco Gadola: The idea of amalgamating our own software development into the Dental Wings platform or organization clearly came out of the conviction that our core strength at Straumann is not in developing scanners, equipment, or software. What we can contribute is obviously input in terms of what functionality has to be reflected in the software. That’s actually our responsibility, specifically when it comes to implant-borne prosthetics and solutions. However, the programming and handling of the software are not our but Dental Wings’ core strength. That’s why we decided in 2013 that Dental Wings should take over this responsibility on our behalf.

Where do we stand today?

Marco Gadola: As you have seen, we recently launched a new version of the coDiagnostiX software, version 9.5, as well as a new version of Straumann® CARES®, version 9.0. It is already very close to the Dental Wings system. We have tried over the last couple of versions to bring these two platforms as close together as possible and this objective will be achieved with release 10.0.

The spin-off in software development had an impact on our guided surgery solutions customers. Straumann’s strategy, on the other hand, is to be a full solution provider in tooth replacement. What can customers expect in terms of our further commitment to digital dentistry?

Marco Gadola: Straumann’s clear ambition is to become a full solution provider when it comes to replacing teeth. Not to be only the number one dental implant company but to be also the leader when it comes to providing solutions for replacing teeth. Obviously, to achieve that, we have to make sure that our customers are able to work with our solutions and products independently, whether they work completely digitally, semi-digitally, or are still using conventional workflows. This results in our ambition to have a fully digital solution available for our customers, ranging from the planning software coDiagnostiX™ to CAD/CAM software, and eventually being able to provide the equipment, materials and the services to supply CAD/CAM elements to our customers. So we are fully committed to continuing to put resources and effort into becoming a true player in the field of digital dentistry.

Could you describe the collaboration with Dental Wings in the specific field of Guided Surgery and its key success factors?

Marco Gadola: As I have already pointed out, Dental Wings’ core competence is developing planning, CAD/CAM, and intraoral scanning software, and hardware, chair-side, and lab-side. Obviously, what we as Straumann have to contribute is input regarding in which direction this software should be developed. We can also specifically push the planning software with our customers, with our dentists, making them aware that we have a great product at hand, generating leads on behalf of coDiagnostiX™, and encouraging them to actually use this software because it helps them to become more efficient in their practice, and through that, making sure that the partnership between Dental Wings and our software in the field of treatment planning is actually a successful one.

How can our customers benefit and profit from the synergies between Straumann and Dental Wings?

Marco Gadola: A valid question. In the end, what we will be able to provide together with Dental Wings is an integrated digital workflow, starting with radiography through to the planning software/treatment planning, then taking the same information and data and putting it into CAD software, and finally, milling the elements either chair-side or sending the file to a lab to get it milled through a lab solution or sending it to one of our milling centers. The cooperation with Dental Wings allows our customers to become very efficient in handling CAD/CAM in their dental practice. Again, as pointed out before, through this partnership, we are combining the strengths of Dental Wings, which are clearly in software development, and the strengths of Straumann, which are access to dentists, being close to the needs of these customers, and then giving input to Dental Wings in terms of which features are needed in the software, and in which direction this software should actually be developed.

How do you see the role of Straumann in digital dentistry and what are the challenges in the near future?

Marco Gadola: Our greatest challenge is making sure that we are connected to all these digital platforms. In my view, we are on the right path when it comes to getting connected more to the lab-side of the CAD/CAM business, such as the 3shape scanners. We are also working on getting access to the ExoCaD-based scanners, and we have connectivity to the Dental Wings lab scanners through our plugins. The trend, however, is clearly moving toward intraoral scanning, where the dentist takes a digital impression of the patient in his practice and then uses this to either mill an element or a crown or a simple bridge chair-side – or sends this file to a lab or to a centralized milling set-up as we have in Europe and the US. Another challenge is also to make sure that we are actually present on these intraoral scanning platforms. We all know that there is one key player there, Sirona, with more than 35’000 installed CEREC systems worldwide, or Planmeca. We have to make sure that we get connected to all these platforms that play a major role in the market. This, in my view, is the key strategic challenge for the foreseeable future.