Samantha Cheetham is SDI’s CEO and has been with the company for the past 17 years, mainly in sales and marketing.
VIDEO - DUwHF #1181 - Samantha Cheetham
AUDIO - DUwHF #1181 - Samantha Cheetham
Samantha started as a sales rep for SDI in Australia, then became a regional manager for the company in California. Samantha returned to Australia in 1998 when she eventually became in charge of global sales and marketing. In 2016, Samantha became CEO/Managing Director for SDI.
Howard: It is just a huge honor for me today to be podcast interviewing Samantha Cheatham is SDI CEO and has been with the company for the past 17 years mainly in sales and marketing. Samantha started as a sales rep for SDI in Australia then became a regional manager for the company in California. Samantha returned to Australia in 1998 when she eventually became in charge of global sales and marketing, in 2016 she became the CEO. My first question I have to ask you when you're when you're in California was it hard to go back to Melbourne, Australia or were you tempted to just stay in California or what were your thoughts there?
Samantha: No I love California it was fantastic, I mean it's like a dream a dream state but I had to come back to reality and believe it or not Australia is quite similar to California anyway we've got beautiful beaches the accent is probably the closest to Australia that we get so so it's actually quite similar and in San Francisco is a great city and I was very fortunate to be there for a long time and I didn't have to come back to reality.
Howard: Ruth Port from Port Laboratories, she was the first one dentaltown fan and she going way back in the day she'd invite me down about every five years to get the lecture in Auckland Sydney Melbourne Brisbane Adelaide Perth and I did that six City deal over ten days you know probably every five years. I was littering in Melbourne and you guys have the largest dental manufacturing company in all of Australia New Zealand and I called you guys up and I said I'm down here and my gosh you guys were so gracious you took me to lunch and I had a couple of boys with me and we had so much fun I could just tell that you guys just really good down-to-earth people.
Samantha: Thank you I certainly remembered and we enjoyed the day with you in your team and I believe one of our directors also went hiking with you or something like that in the mountains?
Samantha: I think yeah Geoff Knight?
Howard: Yeah Geoff Knight I had climbed the tallest mountain in Africa Kilimanjaro and I was down there I was telling Geoff I said you know I want to knock out another continent I Australia is a continent ,will you take can we hike to the highest point and Geoffrey Knight said absolutely he was that was so much fun.
Samantha: Very good, well got to have fun I mean this is what work is all about, you spend so much time at work you got to have fun there.
Howard: So you've seen a lot of changes, I mean SDI used to weren't they the largest amalgam producer in the world?
Samantha: Oh no absolutely not, we've s been about number three or four this I think Dentsply would definitely be significantly larger than us in that and we still manufacture amalgam it represents 25% of sales but it's still getting less and less each year and as we research and sell more of other products such as composites and glass ionomer and tooth whitening.
Howard: You know it is yeah well I probably everybody in Australia was telling me it was the biggest one in the world that is definitely the biggest one in Australia New Zealand right?
Samantha: Right absolutely well we're pretty much the main dental manufacturer in Australia, there's a few small ones just focus on single products and a few other lines but we're definitely the one that is the largest would be SDI's been in existence for 48 years I started by my parents and it's you know being rollin you know for the last forty eight years in focused originally on amalgam and got into the composites and glass ionomer, adhesives and tooth whitening and we're very passionate about those categories and really wanted world leaders in them.
Howard: What I love about world travel and I never realized this when I started lecturing that you know I've lectured in 50 countries and so you get this all the people are the same all the problems are the same but how they solve their problems slightly different whether it's architecture whether it's something as simple as a kitchen sink a door is so amazing but I always looked out at the differences how dentistry is delivered and it seems like Australia, New Zealand and Japan is was the first really to get into glass ionomer, you have Geoffrey Knight big a legend in glass ionomer why do you think glass ionomer is bigger in Australia, New Zealand and Japan than in the United States?
Samantha: That's a great question you know in Australia New Zealand one of the companies that started glass ionomer is really really really focused on it and they've done a fantastic job selling the materials and the materials release a lot of fluoride and calcium and do a lot of good for the tooth and perhaps the Australian and New Zealand Japanese dentists all got onto that. The US market is you know very much driven by the American companies who haven't been that strong in the glass ionomer and being very very strong in the composites and you know as we know composites a fantastic for teeth too they look great in the teeth but they pretty much of plastics that just sit there and with SDI is invested a lot into glass ionomer and I think that's really helped the Australian market as well to educate them and you know we're really working hard on educating the u.s. in the Canadian markets on why you know dentists reduce glass ionomer in addition to composites and not saying it's replacing composites at all we love composites that my team's over there working very very hard to sell our glass ionomer and show the dentist the advantages.
Howard: You really have some legends down there in the glass ionomer Geoffrey Knight who's your neighbor in Melbourne Graham Melissa Joe as a legend and what was the what was the guy's name and Adelaide they got the Colgate grant oh my gosh what was his name do you remember him?
Samantha: I remember the person but I can't remember the name.
Howard: Yeah he got like the largest grant ever to study on fluoride and things like that but yeah just some lessons down there you still see Graham Miletich?
Samantha: He's based in New Zealand and I have not seen him for a long time but he's very much in the industry are very influential dentists and someone that my team's work with I don't know to what extent but he's very influential in the New Zealand and Australia market, so.
Howard: Oh it was Ian Know.
Samantha: Oh yeah no of course he is based in right now in UAE I believe and he's working in one of the universities I think running one of the schools over there but very much involved and he along with Geoff Knight helped us get into the river so asdf soon as I make fluoride category. He's been a great influence to SDI.
Howard: Yes right now he's dean and professor of Carryology and restorative dentistry at University of Sharjah, Sharjah do you know that?
Samantha: In Dubai I think?
Howard: Yeah UAE yeah, The United Arab Emirates.
Howard: but the main thing I want to tell the Americans is that you know it seems like the Americans have always tried to restore a tooth like a carpenter they're building a building and then that building always gets eaten by termites and it seems like Hian and Graham Miletichgin Geoffrey Knight and SDI is realized that you know it's a biology problem it's not an architectural problem and and when you had those amalgams and amalgams were you know half mercury and the other half silver zinc copper tin every ingredient is antibacterial and they just last like 38 years if you look at the research and then we had this aesthetic health compromise aesthetic revolution where everybody wanted tooth colored and I'm sorry they don't fight off bacteria they don't last nearly as long and if you don't like the silver filling you know you got to have some bio active ingredient. I mean you're getting bombarded they say there's 600 species of microorganisms living in your mouth there's 4,000 from your mouth to your rectum I mean you got to fight those bugs because that's what's gonna win in the end.
Samantha: That's absolutely right but the amalgams they really have done that but you know the glass ionomers help do that and then the rivastar are which is SDS the silver diamine fluoride really also helps it and you know we're very passionate about improving the way the mouth is and very much focused on pioneering and driving the science of Dentistry, there's so many of opportunities for dentists to really you know improve what's happening and you know SDI wants to help them get there.
Howard: Your website is SDI and that stands for what?
Samantha: It originally stood for southern dental industries, southern being where in Australia's in the southern hemisphere and that was how we used to mean many people still refer to us as southern dental it just became easier SDI and that's just the way we probably change the name about 20 20 years ago.
Howard: Did you steal that idea from Kentucky Fried Chicken when they went to KFC?
Samantha: Absolutley no, it did not enter our mind.
Howard: It did not enter your mind. So in 48 year old company you've seen a lot of changes, your website just SDI if you're American you can think of just SDI it's so SDI.com then .au for Australia but you just mentioned another product mention Rivastar which the website is just rivastar.com explain Rivastar and again where does that name come from?
Samantha: So Rivastar its well Riva is our glass ionomer brand and Riva's really the product that will the name that really you know it's helped us get into the whole you know really helping the truth category that's we've just you decided to use that brand is the name and Rivastar is clearly our star player it's a an incredible product if you look out SDF on just the general Google you can see what SDF does to the truth it's you know Rivastar is biofilm sensitivity Eliminator but because of the silver iodide fluoride they've got some other real benefits of it. It's indicated for a desensitizer but I know there's a lot of other uses that the dentists are using it for and it really basically Rivastar is like a band-aid for the truth it totally instead of it's like you as a parent your child runs down the street and falls over what do we do, we clean it and they've got blood and and things on it you clean up the area and you put a bandaid on it. This is basically what a dentist will be doing with Rivastar, instead of cutting out the decay when they see decay the infected and the affected decay they just clean up the site leave the affective decay there and put Rivastar over it it's like a band-aid for the tooth and then on top of that to seal it all in you can put the glass ionomers the Riva's the self the Riva self-care is the best one to put on there but it's totally like a band-aid for the truth and it hardens the decay it's still the affected of decay and really it really is a pretty amazing thing it increases the bond strength of the glass ionomer it's it's totally it's totally very very non-invasive and I think this is you know this is the way life is going in the dental world and we must be as non-invasive as possible and it's a really really exciting product it's got antibacterial activity and in its and it clearly is a product that should be in every dental office. It's actually a very powerful product and it's any if you look up as I said SDF in Google it's not just SDI it's been around this SDF technology has been around for a long time. The thing is that SDI meaning my company has got the patent for SDF and working with potassium iodide so we have step one which is the SDF dentist painted on the about the truth they immediately paint on step two which is the potassium iodide and this is the real key to this product. One of the problems with SDF as a product is it can possibly turn the the carrius area black and obviously for teeth we don't want that so if that possibility is there and paint on the second step potassium iodide or we put refer to it as the KI and that will more than likely turn it back to creamy white and then you can place the restorative over it if you want or just leave it as is but it's a very very effective product for non invasive dentistry and really fixing up that the problem instead of cutting out all the decay.
Howard: Well the the the major pushback on silver diamond fluoride is the turning the tooth colored black they don't like that.
Howard: So does this mean you're gonna get a really smart dentist to make an online CE course for dental town to show this technique? I mean they these that they love we put up four hundred online CE courses on dental town they're coming up on a million views because it's just so much easier to learn something on your iPad you know watching an hour and set having to fly to a city go to a dental convention and sit in an uncomfortable chair all day but that that would be a great online CE course to show the difference between silver diamond fluoride treatment turning a tooth black and the way that you guys are doing it.
Samantha: Absolutely I think that's a great course I actually thought you guys already had one on there but we'd certainly happy happily support that one. I think that's really important that everyone understands because there's also SDF silver diamine fluoride there's a lot of you know information that it turns that tweets black well STI is the only company that can turn it back to the creamey white and you know it's a really really really important step so you don't get any of the staining.
Howard: You guys are really ahead of the curve on that I mean you guys were telling me that when I was having dinner with you five years ago.
Samantha: Yes and probably five years ago we were trying to get the FDA approval so we only got the FDA approval for our product in mid last year I think was about April 2018.
Howard: So but people could just buy it on you have a ship UPS I mean even if it doesn't have FDA approval they could still buy it from their?
Samantha: Well they could've but you can get it through all the key dental distributors in the US and Canada.
Howard: Yeah because I think it's so funny how dentists are as I know it's not legal here it's like did a viewer UPS, FEDEX. I mean I know people buying products all around the world I mean the transportation system but in anyway but enough of that. It sounds like you're very passionate when you start talking about that you could just see there is a glow in your face if you really have a passion for this. So do the same with www.polawhite.com.au polar as in polar bear white .com.au. So what talk about polar white.
Samantha: Yeah Pola pola not with the R on it.
Howard: Oh Wow my brain never saw that I always thought it was polar white.
Samantha: That's fine, so Pola is one of our star products, Pola is tooth our whitening category and Pola is a fabulous brand it's been so successful for the dentists we have been we have been selling manufacturing tooth whitening products for I think about 20 years almost. We certainly many many years ago when the waiting started to come in we decided we wanted to get into that category because it's such a you know it's such a powerful cosmetic fix it's also non-invasive it's a very quick procedure and everyone can do it. So our research and development teams got onto this right away and pretty much we've ended up with very powerful tooth whitening products we've got it totally depends what the dentist wants to do but we've got the full suite of in office products where you know you can get your whitening done in like half an hour or the take-home procedures where the patients can well the dentist will make up trays and then the patients will take at home but we've we're very very passionate about tooth whitening, it's one of our Pola is one of our key brands we've got all the different percentages that dentists like or what whatever is right for the for the patient but we're very very keen to continue investing into the research and development of that that category because there's other new things coming along. We have the research team working on different ideas and anything to make it easier for the dentist to dispense or the patient to use and it's a super I mean whitening is a fabulous cosmetic fix that you can even you know every patient can do it home or you can quickly go into the dental office and get it done.
Howard: What do you see more growth in patients whitening their teeth at home or in the dental office?
Samantha: It just depends I mean the US market for us is very strong in that take home but then I could say you know because SDI sells to over 100 countries I could say okay some South American markets in office is really really popular and it just it just depends on the market but for the US the take home is very very important and and also you know we know through the pharmacies the whitening use you know pharmacies or online direct to patients that's getting popular as well. So we've got it with our goal is to make sure that the dentists have all the categories to ensure that they the patients come to them not that go to the pharmacy and you know they've got very we've got very low percentage carbamide peroxide to very high percentage hydro peroxide so it's really what the dentist wants to focus on and but the take-home for sure is definitely the most popular.
Howard: and I just also want to clarify that I don't do commercials this is an interview with a friend for years and she didn't pay me to come on the show I begged her to come on the show and I just I know I know that so many dentists have told me this one when I was little and we'd go on vacation you know most people go to Disneyland but my dad would stop at two or three different places that made something. We went and visited where they made Budweiser Coors my dad was gonna buy a family station wagon one time I forgot what kind of was I think was a Chevy station wagon and we went he only bought it because our family could go there and we could be pulled by a golf cart while our station wagon was being made and it was just so cool and then here I am following the tradition when I was down in Australia with three of my boys you know I called you guys up and I just love it and I think dentist they have just a better connection with the company when they know that the face the name behind a company. I mean would you rather think of SDI or Samantha Cheatham that you saw on Dentistry Uncensored. I'm going to go back to composites for all even the I'm Pro amalgam and I know that I know that 32 years of doing this all the women picked tooth colored I mean you're never gonna explain the pros and cons of amalgam to composite you're never ever I don't know I haven't had one woman say yeah I'll take the one that last 38 years instead of the one that lasts a dozen years and but men routinely will say well yeah you like what I'm doing us an MOD filling on a 60 year old man I say you do with amalgam you'll take this thing to heaven with you if you do it with composite we're probably gonna be crowning this thing in the next five to ten years but I know that composites have taken over and the more I talk about amalgam the more they just think I'm old and senile but composites have made a big change lately with these bulk fills and you have the Aurora composite and you have the Aurora bulk fill what are your thoughts on Aurora composite placing it direct verces just fill the whole thing up in one setting and do a bulk fill?
Samantha: Look I mean we've got the Aurora bulk fill and it's been great entering that category because I think it's a great category for exactly those people that don't want to have the amalgams and I mean you know there's nothing that can beat amalgam it's metal I mean it's going to be this forever but the but the or bottle is a super alternative just drill fill exactly the way you can do an album in fact you can do this Aurora bulk fill in you know same procedure even less probably procedural time that an amalgam and you know the bulk feels get very very high compressive strength not as high as the amalgam of course but you know it's not bad and as a woman I think I absolutely agree with you I want a composite in my mouth like a tooth colored filling in my mouth and I'm quite happy with that. You know the most important thing is that is that you get the longevity in the composites you are getting good longevity of course not as long as the amalgams but STI we've been investing a lot of research and development into our composite range and Aurora and we also got a new one about to be released called Luna or in the Luna ranges the two ranges that really fit those categories well. I think you know anteriorly posteriorly the composites are very very good products.
Howard: So on your on your names on your composite you have glacier your anterior-posterior microfhibrid and so that glacier I mean that's where polar bears live I'm still confused that it's not polar white how did you get Pola and a glacier why didn't you just go polar bear white?
Samantha: My mother has chosen a lot of the names and it's you know we've got we just have been really you know quite successful and choosing our names we like a bit of fun I don't want it to be too technical but glacier is a great product that's actually going to be replaced by this new product called Luna and that would be launched in I think in April, May, June, I can't remember exactly for the US when that will be launched but the glacier will be replaced by that product.
Howard: and I also want to tell you kids the young kids they you know you don't you know when when some I'm 57 I'll be 57 in August I got five grandkids you're curing light you know I know everybody wants tooth colored but yeah you don't want to find out that you're curing light is not working after you're sitting there wondering why some of your fillings are getting sensitive and I mean the curing light is such the low-hanging fruit that could be right and increase your quality and I love the fact that not only do you sell curing lights but you sell an LED radiometer to make sure you're curing light works. I mean I've seen studies that where dental reps will go into an office and they'll just check the doctors curing light and you know they'll just check them all and they'll say 20% of the curing lights don't even work and these dentists are still using them, what are your thoughts on that?
Samantha: Yes there's a few there's a couple of companies using a specific I think it's called I think it's a Radiometer but it's very specific and it's a great way for them to sell curing lights it's you know it's something we don't agree with and as long as the dentist you know they've got their own radiometer that they know is a good radiometer I think that's a very good example of you know if they can test that I don't know once a month once every couple of months that it's working it should be fine. Most important thing for dentists is to buy a good quality deal I don't buy the cheap ones the ones that you know coming from the restorative companies like us yeah you know with SDI's has been one of the longest invite you know investors into the research of LEDs and as long as you have a very good quality one you know you pay for quality and it's really important to do that don't be don't go for those cheap ones because they don't have the history nor do they more like more than likely have the quality there but you know a general radiometer just to check your curing light I think it's really important to have in the office.
Howard: Australia you know by the way my brother moved to Sydney full time did I tell you that?
Samantha: I don't remember that, no.
Howard: Yeah my brother you know he grew up in Kansas you know we're both all from Wichita, Kansas and he lived in Kansas and his I company offered to transfer him they needed someone in Sydney and he was only in Sydney about an hour and a half before he realized he was never going back to America yeah you know I told them I said you can't leave Kansas go to Sydney and come back to Kansas, it's a one-way street. I mean that has got to be the greatest city in the world I mean you don't need a car, the transportation there's no crime it's just it's just the most unbelievable cities in the world.
Samantha: I'll tell you SDI is based in Melbourne and it's great greater than Sydney.
Howard: Do you really think so?
Howard: Oh my I love both those and by the way Sydney and Melbourne that covers over half of all the Australians that I don't all don't half of all the people live in those two cities?
Samantha: Yes probably I don't know exactly the latest statistics but the other cities Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide are getting stronger and of course theirs Tasmania as well but they're all getting stronger but then I think the I think Melbourne is about to take over the growth oh sorry the population of Sydney in the next few years because of the population growth.
Howard: and Perth is unbelievable I mean you go to Sydney Australia Melbourne that'd be like going to Florida and Washington DC. So Perth could be clear on the other side to be like San Diego or something it's a-you know Australia and the United States are both 3.6 million square miles it's a huge country but Perth man that is just wow that is such a cool deal. Oh I want to ask you about the bulk cure when you're talking about the lights and you don't want to go cheap oh and when you start having lights go bad and you're composites aren't curing all the way and then there's sensitivity well when those patients come back check filling and they block 30 minutes in a room I mean there's I mean your overhead meters running and you're all frustrated you don't know you should redo the filling all this stuff like that you use dentistry is one of dentistry is a game you're not gonna win on volume. I mean if you want to get into low price volume don't go into dentistry go into hamburgers and french fries and coke and things like that but I notice on the bulk fill when you talk about your bulk fill you're also talking about how it was designed so it would be cured faster easier better?
Samantha: Yes the bulk fill is it's great it it starts off you know, the most important thing is you've got to feel confident as dentist you're curing the whole amount and you know we a very you know knowing that it's really important to do that so we have special what happens is the opacity before it's curing the opacity because while it's curing the opacity becomes more translucent so they can get to deeper and then post curing and it comes back to the normal the blending of the tooth color the surrounding shades of the tooth and so it doesn't change that really during the curing process that really does change the refractive index so that it just helps make it the curing so you as a dentist you see it goes a bit more translucent it comes back to normal and it's just so important that you know sensitivity is not a problem no. We don't want dentist to have complaints from their patients for post opt sensitivity or anything like that we also have another product Riva Bond which which is a is likely glass ionomer adhesive that works quite really well actually really well with some bulk fill because it's a glass ionomer based adhesive and that slightly expands because the composites shrinking as its curing and not just SDI's many many composites are shrinking a little but there particularly bulk fill when it's done in a bulk amount and a great product to go if it is the Riva Bond because it's slightly expanding while the composites slightly shrinking and it fills all those voids and there's less sensitivity. So that's a nice way if you're doing a lot of bulk fills the Riva Bond is a great product just to really help that in terms of the sensitivity and you get excellent bone strength as well to the composite and the tooth of course.
Howard: So what percent of all these products you're talking about are actually made in Melbourne Australia?
Samantha: All of these products are made in australia, we do all the research and development at our facility here and we just just say outside of Melbourne CBD and we've got a full R&D team that's researching and developing the all the composites, the glass ionomers, the tooth whitening adhesives etc and they're really completely focused on developing new innovative products for our dentists and then we've also got another team that technology and innovation team that works on the delivery systems making sure that it's easy for the dentist to deliver these products very quickly into the mouth without the patient stressing too much and our capsule systems are world-class our syringes etc all very easy for dentists and dental staff to deliver the patient deliver the materials into the patient's tooth.
Howard: So when you have an R&D; team wood skillset is on the R&D team are they more you know search with mass applied math is physics applied physics chemistry are they more chemists or is applied chemistry as biology or they are they coming out at more biology how do you make something that doesn't get eaten by streptococcus mutans or is it more chemistry does anybody let me get start with this does anybody have a PhD on your research team?
Samantha: We've got a few with the PHDs, so that's important very much the chemists come from more chemical engineering background and they you know highly qualified it's really difficult to find the right people in you know dental engineering and we when we find the right person we hopefully you know get them across to SDI we've got a whole mix of people in our team very very diverse and it makes, it ensures that we have you know more out-of-the-box type products we don't want to just continually on continually develop what you know improve what we've got we've got to improve what we've got we've also got to develop new innovative products and that you know really a offering dentists more innovations and that's very important for SDI and we also our our research scientists also work with other universities outside of SDI in Australia most of the time working with their chemistry their materials science departments and the innovation departments. So that we can incorporate what they develop into our products and we're very passionate about getting innovation and it must be visionary and this is a new angle of SDI we want to be really the leaders in the restorative market well one of the leaders and this is how we will get there.
Howard: You know I call my show Dentistry Uncensored I just call like it is and and but I want to tell my American homies I wanna you know when you go to American Dental manufacturing companies and the 50 to 100 million dollar range none of them have a PhD none of them have a Research Center but they have a call center they'll have like 50 people just dialing for dollars because that's what you gotta realize that's what America does best sales and marketing and then you go to companies in Switzerland or Sweden or Australia they don't have a call center dialing for dollars and some motivational figure they have are a phd's doing research and then you go to China and I've been there and lectured to their conferences and China is obsessed with making us so cheap that everyone will buy it but when I go to China and I go to India I say well just name one brand that's made in China India that everybody in Europe or America would recognize and there are none. So I always tell everybody 1/8 in China and India make it quit focusing on cheap and get a brand for yourself then I tell everybody in Europe you need a marketing department and talking to my homies here in America you need PhDs. I mean she not only has PhD she knows her chemical engineering background I mean my gosh all three of those camps need to learn from each other you know and you know America is number one in sales and marketing we could sell snow to an Eskimo and that's probably why I keep seeing polar bear but I love these companies that can attract and retain PhDs to sit there and do genuine fundamental research of how to innovate products that are better. I want to ask you another thing in health care when you look around the globe it seems like the two most mismanaged institutions are always going to be health care and government. I mean you got your MBA I got my MBA dentists they so many of them struggle with running their business would you recommend that a dentist listening to you right now from Sydney to Kathmandu go back to school and get their MBA?
Samantha: I think MBA having the MBA just opens your world not just about what you're focused on it's about how you and what you're focused on affects the rest of businesses absolutely I think an MBA is fabulous achievement and you know it just gives you extra skills and I think running it having an MBA is a great thing, absolutely.
Howard: Oh my gosh whenever I go visit my brother Paul by the way my mom and my sister are flying I'm having dinner with them tomorrow night then they're getting on airplane flying to Sydney to go see my brother and but you know whenever I sit down with the dentist I mean I'll say like well you know phones are important how many incoming calls did you have last month they don't know how many I went to voicemail I don't know you know, what was your cause patient cost of acquisition get a new page they don't know. They just don't know anything and about their business and I love them for it in fact you know the neatest compliment my four boys give me about my career they I always told me they say I don't know what it is but man dentists are the coolest people I mean they just they always talk about how dang cool dentists are and so I love the fact that they just totally love their art and that they donated eight years of their life to go to school to fix people get them out of pain and restore their health but man they just don't wear the business hats well. In fact when I went to MBA school that was when I bought my first laptop is he's 98 and it was two years and I took notes and then I was done I lectured out those notes as they applied to a dental office called it the 30-day dental MBA it's free on YouTube it's got a it's free on iTunes it's a but sitting where you are do it doing business with dentist in a hundred countries how does the dental industry look to you?
Samantha: Thats a good question, I think generally I think I mean for sure the American dentist says the best probably at marketing themselves but I think there's it just depends on the country and how developed they are but you know I think dentists you know generally will do procedures similarly around the world and I think there's still lots of opportunity as you say for marketing themselves better because generally they're a little bit conservative but I think as you say having a MBA would really help I think that's an important goal to get yes absolutely but generally around the world it's a similar very similar just because of the procedures made quite similar.
Howard: In the United States in the year 1900 health care was 1% of GDP by 2000 it was fourteen point seven percent now it's 2019 in Health Care's 17% of GDP five percent of it is dentistry. As these countries get richer and richer and richer don't you think they're gonna bid up the price and the value of saving their teeth.
Samantha: For sure in fact you know since I've been at FCI there we have you know because we sell to a lot of the South American Asian and Middle Eastern markets I mean they're they're you know the middle class is getting stronger and stronger and they're investing in their health I mean they want exactly what you know Australians and Americans want and I think you know the world is changing and it's really important for everybody to have stronger teeth so they last longer and I'm saying this they're not just the teeth.
Howard: If you're in America and you're listening this from the United States when you go visit Australia I just want to let you know you're gonna be very disappointed they actually don't have fosters beer at every bar in America when you're an American you just know that you only drink Fosters bear Down Under and then when you get there and you go to a bar first bar a when should ask for a fosters they didn't even have it. Instantly knew I was American just instantly. So what lessons stirring the pot around the world what lessons have you learned from doing business around the world that you think the Australian dentists have should undergo more I mean i-i've seen it really changed on I mean I've been going down there for thirty years about every five years and I mean I remember when I got down there the first time there was like no business acumen and it wasn't competitive at all everybody was booked up three or four weeks in advance in the in the early 90s and then they start adding dental schools then they started letting in dentists that were educated in other countries and now there are no publicly traded dental service organizations in the United States but you have two in australia 1 300 dentist and our one 300 smiles and pacific smiles then there's one in singapore Q&M Why do you think that two of the only three publicly traded dentals services organizations in the world are in australia?
Samantha: That's a good question i guess you know I don't look at the DSOs like that. Yes it's well why are they in Australia I actually don't know I mean Australian companies are much much smaller than the American companies although that the two DSO is you've referred to a quiet large. I look I don't know how the capital structures work in America but I guess it was the owners decision to take these companies public and we probably allow smaller public companies here in Australia and I'm just honestly don't know that answer.
Howard: Well nobody could go public in dentistry in the United States Wall Street wouldn't touch when the ten-foot pole because in you had Orthodontic Centers of America that did an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange went to a billion dollar evaluation and then imploded there was a dozen on NASDAQ and and I have Wall Street analysts calling me all the time there's a lot of DSOs that would like to do an IPO and they're looking at the numbers they're just they just don't look like something they want to get I think there's no appetite for the United States but I'm yeah one300 smiles.com died you I had him on the podcast his name is Daryl Holmes he was show 850 an amazing man. Another one was Alex Abrams with Pacific smiles Group and then the guy who's gonna be the biggest player is a Raymond Ang with Q&M out of Singapore because they are racing across China and I mean China has a billion three hundred million people I mean if you're gonna get 1% of the market you should aim for China and not Katmandu, Nepal. What would he so are you are you following Q&M and Raymond Ang and how they're rolling out across Asia?
Samantha: I'm looking at them a bit but the one300 smiles and Pacific smiles are highly successful and their CEO's have done a fantastic job and yeah it's yeah I mean it's certainly I think the way things are happening all around the world and the US market for sure has been leading the way but I didn't realize not none of them were listed so.
Howard: Yeah not one.
Samantha: It's nice to have some transparency on what they do.
Howard: Yeah I want to talk about another country I don't know if you're familiar are the United Kingdom but you know when I was lectured there first time in 1990 every Denis was with the NIH system and they hated it and they hate it and every year they'd lower their fees but you know every time the earth goes around the Sun inflation raises all your cost and then the NIH would lower the fee and now 32 years later going to United Kingdom there's about 5,000 dentists that have walked away from the NIH system and then and now you have a the chain my dentist with 800 dental offices but you've seen a lot of changes in the UK dental market in your career. What do you think of that market?
Samantha: Well I mean the UK dental market one thing I love about that it's meat they all speak English like the US and Canada so yes there's been a lot of changes there. There's you know several big groups and I would imagine that look even I didn't even know the percentage but I would imagine maybe that their percentage of DSO is over there is probably higher than the US because there's quite a lot of dentists that are involved in that type of practice and yeah it's a being a very much a changing market and it's that's a good market but SDI's has been there for a long time and we've got a team on the road a fabulous team on the road there and changes yes I mean yeah I mean the thing is it's really interesting in countries like Germany this I don't think there's any DSO type businesses and I don't know if the UK follows the US market in this way or they have just seen opportunities but their their health care system you know it's really set up for these type of business so interesting.
Howard: You know what I love the most about the German dental market is you know the America 50 states everyone I'm as the annual state meaning the meeting market is so fragmented United States but Europe pretty much just has one big bad meeting every other year in Cologne Germany it's the biggest dental meeting the world over a hundred and ten thousand dentists show up from every country on earth but what I love the most about the Germans is if the Germans have a question with the product they want to talk to the owner like you and you go to the Cologne meeting and there's not there's like no lectures it's just all the companies with the booth and all the German dentists want to talk because that they know look you own the company you're the one that hired phd's you're the one making this product you would be the best but the Americans are so bizarre and they're like oh I don't wanna listen to that guy she's selling something it's like what what are you a volunteer dentist what do you do free dentistry on people all day you sell dentistry. I just love the culture where you they want to know the German wants to know the face but who owns this company they want to meet that person they drink beer right at the convention floor in America you know they probably you know calling the fire department if someone you know drink a beer. I mean it just it's just a more laid-back trusting culture and and I learned more like when I visited SDI I mean you guys gave us a three-hour tour and then you took us to lunch and paid. I mean I felt like I learned everything about your company and America needs to be more like that they need to stop listening to these so-called experts who like who are career lecturers who are experts on 50 different products hell it's hard for you to be an expert just on what SDI makes. So how do you go listen to a speaker who's an expert on 20 different companies products, do you even buy into that?
Samantha: Unfortunately I never get a chance to go and listen to the speakers but I must say I loved working that ideas booth and seeing everybody I didn't even get a chance to walk around any of the halls because I just see so many customers and I must say I'd loved it and I know several of my counterparts and other companies did exactly the same and this yeah how can we all be experts we can't.
Howard: Yeah and what does it say about you I you know I always believe people to project like whatever they're projecting on you know society they're probably having internal issues with that and you know if you can't trust the owner of a company and you're dentist and you use her products and you don't want to press the flesh and meet and talk and I just think there's something seriously bizarre with you I mean I would much rather talk to the companies and see their facilities. Also on the facilities I want to tell you this, I better be careful what I say I better manage my words but I mean you pull up to a dental company is it clean when you walk in there are you greeted and I don't like making appointments I like to see if the CEO is available hey can I speak to CEO he's not here well when will he be back oh we don't know. Well what is even going on here I mean that it's dirty they're not available they don't know what's going on and then you walk into another company and you can just tell it's a class act from A to Z. I mean I that's how I'm that the greatest one of the greatest stock investors Peter Lynch if you read his book beating the street that's what he did all the brokers in Manhattan would sit there in their cubicles all going over the same ten cues and the same 10ks and they were all analyzing the data and what he'd do every Monday morning he'd jump in his car and he'd have a five-day round-trip and he would just go physically drive by and stop in on those companies and he had a little checklist of was it clean was it neat could I meet with the CEO were they passionate did they like talking to their customers and he that's about what he based his entire investment strategy on and he knocked it out of the ballpark for decade after decade after decade.
Samantha: Right, right interesting that's interesting I must read his book.
Samantha: Well yeah well I love me all the customers you know it's so important to me because it's the way we learn and I actually miss not having IDS you know it's a big build-up to it and any dental meeting actually I love seeing the dentist's so it's good to hear from everybody but I agree you must be passionate cause that's I mean that's you know what drives the business, absolutely.
Howard: Well it's funny even when I go any vacation i go on if there's not even a dental manufacturing company I still would rather go I just cold call on dental offices post a lot of pictures on dentaltown we got a forum called international and anytime I go to a country I take a lot of pictures but I've learned so much. I mean I remember in Somalia you know just walked in there and met the dentist and I mean you just it's just so great to meet dentists all around the world they're really cool people. So I'm going to end on what are you most passionate about now?
Samantha: I think for SDI i'm most passionate about what our vision is and I you know we must be an innovative company and we must be visionary because you know it's so important that we keep driving innovation through for the dental office for the dentist's to produce for their patients you know advance products and and we must be unique and we must have differentiated products and and that means real investment now because you don't just come up with a product and development tomorrow it takes years of development. Some of our products take years and I want the dental offices to be extremely innovative in the composite glass ionomer and white filling oh sorry tooth markets and that's where our team's passionate about and that's what we're focused on for the future. We can't be everything we've certainly as a company like you say you can't do everything we can't be experts at everything we want to be experts in a few categories and that's what SDI is about composites, glass ionomers, tooth whitening and that's my that's my passion for SDI for the future, I very excited.
Howard: Can I add one wish list of that
Howard: The American Dental Association you said like listen to your customers I've any customers for a long time they just added their tenth specialty and dental anesthesiology but what concerns me is I'm in Phoenix and a lot of people retire here and four and a half percent of the Americans will finish out their life in a nursing home and the average I think geriatric dentistry should be a specialty and when you go in there it's because you have cognitive problems you have dementia, Alzheimer's, rheumatism well you know there's a reason you're in a nursing home and usually the skill set of brushing and flossing is not that good so many people are missing their teeth that they just serve soft stuff like macaroni and cheese and pumpkin pie and cottage just a bunch of mushy carbohydrates and the average person in a senior citizen home is getting one root surface cavity a month. So in her first year she gets twelve cavities and we just need to find products for that I don't know what it's gonna be if it's gonna be a mouthwash if it's gonna be you're gonna build you know but geriatric dentistry is it's the in the United States the fastest-growing demographic population women over 100 second fastest women over ninety I mean they're just living and living and living and they outlive all of our dentistry.
Samantha: You know what I totally agree throughout and for us the Riva star diamine fluoride is the perfect product for that procedure just paint it on and you can just paint that on every six months they don't need cavities sorry they don't need restoratives don't just paint that on it's for children and it's for geriatric older for that full spectrum of age for everybody and you don't need to do restorative dentistry on that on those types of patients again. I mean it's so difficult for them to brush their teeth and things like that so that decay comes quickly Rivastars Silver Diamine Fluoride is the perfect product for it.
Howard: Well you need to find a rockin hot geriatric dentist to come on my podcast and talk about that and make an online CE course about that because that is a huge issue in the United States and dentists aren't thinking about well in order to do all that dentistry I need to buy a mobile dental clinic for a couple hundred thousand dollars and all this stuff like that but how to treat how to walk into a nursing home and do what you just said is not common knowledge.
Samantha: Okay that's good, I like that idea. Yes absolutely because this is you know we you know everyone's living a lot longer.
Howard: Yeah and it's really scary if you're a woman because you go in those nursing homes there's a hundred women and just one man and you can when you see the actuarial tables that American women outlive men by five years it never becomes more apparent until you go into a nursing home then you're like oh okay now I get it but yeah it is amazing I go into a lot of nursing homes in Arizona and it's really a grim dental situation and I'm not aware of hardly anybody going in there and doing what you just said so that that would be amazing information.
Samantha: Oh that's good yeah.
Howard: Is geriatric dentistry is anybody do that in Australia is that is there one person who specialized in geriatric dentistry?
Samantha: I'm not aware I will find out I'm not aware but there must be and I'm sure in the US there will be people that we can talk to as well.
Howard: and so is there anything that you wanted to talk about today that I wasn't smart enough to bring up or something you wanted to talk about?
Samantha: No I absolutely not thank you how it's been a great pleasure talking to you and I really appreciate your interest in SDI and you know your passion for dentistry it goes both ways and I think it's really exciting I mean just so you know today is Tuesday for me and you've started made up my day off well it's Tuesday morning and I you know I feel motivated for the whole day now so thank you very much.
well you got your whole family and company is a class act thanks so much for showing me and my boy such a great time and it was a true honor for you to come on the show today and talk to my homeis thank you so much for coming on.
Samantha: It's an absolute pleasure thank you for asking me.