Monday 31 October 2011

Entering a new market requires persistence

Entering a new dental market requires persistence, something that Ulrich Heker of TEETH”R”US has demonstrated – and it is slowly paying dividends, as we found at this year's BDTA exhibition at the NEC.

As a qualified and experienced Dental Technician in with a business based in Germany, his expertise is in attachments and telescopic crowns – intermediate techniques between plain prosthetics and dental implants that are an ideal way for a private practice to expand their portfolio. Yet these methods are still practically unknown in the UK.

I helped Ulrich begin to tackle this gap in local knowledge by publishing educational articles in UK magazines such as The GDP, Dental Tribune and The Technologist over the past year. Articles that have found resonance further afield with requests to translate and reprint as far away as China.

Manning the stand Y06 at the BDTA Exhibition at the NEC this year, we were now visited by a number of dentists with their case notes and casts to catch up on the opportunity to discuss past, present and future work with his lab. Taking a long term view was bearing fruit.

Ulrich had invited me to join the stand to give language support over the three days of the exhibition. I joined a team of five that included Ulrich Heker, fellow dental technician Thomas Loehre, Klaus Viesteg, a dentist based in Northern Ireland and Andrea Heker, who ensured that the stand was provided with all the notes, leaflets and that any appropriate dental models were immediately to hand as we dealt with the flood of visitors.

Thursday started relatively quietly, which allowed the team to mesh, so that by Saturday we were able to work seamlessly; dealing with simple enquiries and then passing on to the relevant expert for the questions arising. It was also lovely to see Marie-Theres Luetje, Handwerkskammer Duesseldorf, when she dropped by, as she had supported Ulrich's planning and preparation for this and previous exhibitions.

Ulrich had taken a lot of time to provide interest at the stand – good visual examples on a banner, a glass case with key models and Thomas demonstrating precision milling - these all attracted dentists and other professionals.

The joker in the pack was an inspired little sculpture, caricaturing a benevolent dentist cleaning the dentures of a knitting old woman seated on a dentist's chair and her cat on her lap. Andrea had found the gem that caught the eye of the passers-by, raised a smile and opened conversations.

Ulrich's repeated visits to Birmingham meant that I, as a Brit, happily gave him the lead to show us the sights. We saw the picturesque canals, found good eateries and marvelled at the Broad Street clubbing scene in the evenings as we relaxed after our busy days.

Have a look at the following links: 

Wonder what dental telescopes and attachments are?

Interested in the technical publications – downloadable as PDFs?

Some quirky pictures showing the effort that others made at the BDTA.

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