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Despite having been a challenging year, dental dealers in Europe are on track to achieve sales that meet or exceed pre-COVID-19 levels. (Image: ronstik/Shutterstock)
ADDE

By ADDE

Wed. 22. December 2021

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Dear ADDE members and members of the dental industry,

Welcome to our December newsletter, which comes at the end of a challenging year for the dental industry. We can be proud of the way in which we have collectively responded to the unprecedented situation in order to help our clients to adapt rapidly to COVID-19 and to continue to treat patients during the pandemic. Personal protective equipment, cross-infection control and an upward trend in the use of digital dentistry have played a major part in this response, as has the use of solutions that were new to the dental sector, such as powered air-purifying respirators.

Since our last newsletter, vaccine roll-out programmes have been well under way across Europe, having varying degrees of coverage across member states. Many countries have achieved double vaccine coverage for the critical percentage of their populations and are now working hard on the roll-out of their booster or third vaccine programmes. We are learning fast as we progress that the virus is mutating and evolving rapidly and that, whereas the vaccines do not necessarily protect us from catching the virus, according to the data, they do prevent us from becoming seriously ill or requiring hospitalisation. GOV.UK has an online COVID-19 dashboard giving real time data on the progression of the pandemic and the UK response. When we consider the current number of daily cases, hospitalisations, and deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 result and compare these figures with those from last winter and spring, we realise the wonderful success that science and the vaccine programmes have yielded.

The ADDE survey was only released this summer owing to the difficulty of collating figures in the middle of a pandemic, and I would encourage you all to go online to adde.info and download a copy, as it provides a detailed insight and analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on dentistry during this period. In fact, as I mentioned, we have responded well, and by and large, turnover this year is on track to meet or exceed pre-COVID-19 levels.

Exceptional events are often a catalyst for change, and we were impressed with how the organiser of the International Dental Show—the Verband der Deutschen Dental-Industrie—responded with its innovative, hybrid solution. We now prefer to attend meetings using Teams or Zoom rather than physically travelling because it is a more efficient use of our time, better for the environment and also minimises the risk of cross-infection. Home working or hybrid working is now the norm, and I doubt that we will see a return to solely office-based working for many roles. Online training has a major part to play in future sales and marketing strategies, as does the ever-increasing use of social media and digital marketing, backed up by strong knowledge-based teams having many years of experience in the field. The convergence of digital dentistry and digital marketing offers a very exciting opportunity for all of us. We often think of our sector as being “traditional” but, if you compare it with other medical device sectors and medical professions, dentistry is, in fact, light years ahead and leading the way in terms of healthcare reform.

We have caught up with every member and national association this year via Teams or Zoom in order to understand their specific requirements from ADDE and have worked hard to incorporate these into our agenda and deliver results—the cobalt–chromium response being just one of a number of examples. As dealers, we have always had a strategic partnership with the manufacturers we represent, and so too ADDE continues to have a strong relationship with the Federation of the European Dental Industry (FIDE), the European manufacturer’s association. I am delighted to report, as the year draws to a close, that we are strengthening that relationship, and we will welcome a number of the FIDE members onto the ADDE working groups, working together to represent the European dental industry and profession to the European Commission under our One Dental Voice EU programme.

As the year draws to a close, may I wish you and your families a happy and peaceful festive season and a healthy and prosperous New Year—here’s to a successful 2022!

Ed Attenborough
President of the ADDE

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