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European trade press conference - IDS 2007

Remarks by Dr. Martin Rickert, Chairman of the Association of German Dental Manufacturers (VDDI) at the European trade press conference in Cologne on 5th December 2006

Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all from the European trade press here today on behalf of the VDDI.

As you know, IDS 2007 will be the 32nd International Dental Show since our association staged its first dental fair in Berlin back in 1923. Today, IDS is held every two years in Cologne. It is organised by Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Dental-Industrie mbH (GFDI), acting on behalf of the Association of German Dental Manufacturers, and staged by Koelnmesse GmbH, Cologne.

Our aim today is to whet your appetite for the forthcoming IDS and to provide you with some information, from the viewpoint of the industry, about the latest developments on the dental markets of Germany and Europe and on the other major world markets.

IDS — A review of 2005 and the outlook for 2007

IDS is without question the leading trade fair for the international dental industry. It is the world’s largest trade fair for dental medicine and dental technology. In the first instance, it is the host of innovations on show, many of which are being presented to an international audience for the first time, that makes the event such a magnet for manufacturers, trade visitors and dealers. Over the years, the composition of exhibitors and visitors has become steadily more international, and this has made IDS into the world’s leading forum for decision-makers from dental surgeries, dental laboratories and dental suppliers.

We are confident that the coming IDS will be the most attractive International Dental Show yet. From 20th to 24th March 2007, roughly 1,600 exhibitors from around 50 countries — with 60 per cent coming from outside Germany — will be on hand to present the latest trends and innovations. We are anticipating a rise in exhibitor numbers compared to 2005, when we were already able to post a 12 per cent increase on 2003.

Contributing to this increase will be a number of group presentations from abroad. First-time exhibitors at IDS 2007 include a group appearance from Turkey, and the British Dental Trade Association has also registered for a joint stand. In all, we’re expecting almost 20 exhibitor groups from 16 countries. Our growth in exhibitor numbers is also being fed by the EU countries, the Middle and Far East, Australia, the USA and Canada. As things currently stand, the largest foreign contingents will be from Italy, the USA, Switzerland, France and the UK.

We are also confident that visitor numbers will rise next March. In 2003 we welcomed 63,000 trade visitors from 133 countries, which in 2005 rose to around 77,500 visitors from 165 countries. Given the excellent response to all of our visitor surveys, we therefore expect another record attendance for 2007.

The total exhibition space at IDS 2007 will rise to 130,000 m². This follows on from the previous increase of 15,000 m², or 16 per cent, to a total of 107,000 m² between 2003 and 2005. A large number of companies from home and abroad have expressed a wish to enlarge their stand area, and many others will be appearing at IDS for the first time. The larger stands will allow exhibitors to receive visitors in more comfort and create more space for presentations and special events. In response to the participants’ wishes, IDS 2007 will take place on all levels of Halls 4, 10 and 11 as well as in Hall 3.2. These were formerly known as Halls 10, 13, 14 and 12.2 and were renumbered following the modifications to the Cologne exhibition centre. The IDS halls are linked by a spacious new Boulevard, and the entrances and passageways radiating off the new Piazza will ensure that everything at IDS remains close at hand. Another new feature is the Entrance South, which can be easily reached from the Köln Messe/Deutz InterCity Express railway station and Cologne city centre.

Oliver P. Kuhrt from Koelnmesse will shortly be telling you about other services available for trade visitors to IDS 2007. These include a range of new features such as Business Matchmaking, the e-shop, LeadSuccess and travel services, but more on this topic later.

Product trends of the future

Which, then, will be the most important industry trends on show at IDS 2007?

  • Let’s turn, first of all, to the area of preventive care. Here, long-term approaches to the preservation of teeth and gums are of particular importance. It’s essential to motivate patients, to impress upon them the importance of regular visits to the dentists, and thereby to increase the chances of early detection of dental problems and diseases. We have a variety of modern measures at our disposal, such as individual risk assessment — i.e. dental diagnostics, including the use of molecular-genetic methods. That means we can draw up individual care plans for patients, including professional cleaning, supra- and subgingival curettage and oral hygiene at home. There will be lots on show at IDS in all these areas.
  • Endodontics also play an important role in tooth care. New in this field are enhanced nickel-titanium files, operated either mechanically or manually. These feature an optimized shape better adapted to the contours of root canals. At the same time, improvements in root-canal disinfection — an especially important aspect of successful treatment — have made this process safer. Endometry and digital X-rays enable more predictable and controllable results.
  • On a more general level, enhanced surgical hygiene has important prophylactic consequences. Here, too, there are changes on the way. For example, the latest recommendations from the Robert Koch Institute propose new hygiene standards and routines for Germany. This will have consequences for quality management at German dental practices. We can also expect to see increased checks by inspectors in the future. Dentists from other countries are also looking to implement advanced hygiene standards, as they too face more rigorous checks. The specialists from this sector of the industry will be at IDS to show us not only a range of new developments for individual areas but also sound integrated concepts for safe and effective hygiene in the dental practice as a whole.
  • In the end, it’s the patient who profits from all this effort and expense. Dentistry today is increasingly concerned to provide preventive care and dental treatment tailored as closely as possible to the individual’s needs. This means providing patients with the right advice from childhood to old age with regard to oral hygiene, tooth care and dental prostheses. Properly advised by their dentist, patients are able to make an informed choice within the broad field of prosthetic alternatives. And whether the decision falls in favour of good-quality basic care, a mid-price solution or a high-end prosthesis will ultimately depend on the quality of that advice and the patient’s financial means.
  • The enormous variety in dental care today is particularly evident in the prosthetic field. On the one hand, we now have a range of natural-looking plastics plus high-performance adhesives for fillings. On the other, metal or ceramic are the materials of choice for inlays — and likewise for individual crowns and permanent and implant-supported bridges, although the trend today is towards high-quality, all-ceramic solutions, which are particularly biocompatible. As an alternative to partial and full prostheses, we are also seeing a more widespread use of both crown-and-sleeve coping and telescopic prostheses supported by either implants or abutment teeth. Both offer not only good functionality but also cosmetic advantages and enhanced oral hygiene for our ageing population.
  • Alloys will continue to play a major role in dental prosthesis. There are currently over 1,000 different alloy types available as ceramic alloys for natural-looking ceramic veneer crowns or as cast alloys for full crowns and bridges. The latest additions to this class are palladium-free and copper-free alloys with a high gold content, which are suitable for a broad range of treatment and are especially biocompatible. At the same time, the use of non-precious metal alloys is also gaining ground. Not only are these cheaper and likewise suitable for a broad range of treatment, but in some cases they can also be milled using CAD/CAM technology.
  • CAD/CAM technology is also helping to advance the use of all-ceramic materials. Here, leucite-reinforced glass ceramics, aluminium oxide and zirconia are the materials most commonly used for single crowns, bridges and other prostheses. Zirconia, in particular, offers major potential in this field, even for occlusion-bearing lateral areas of the jaw. It is also ideal for speciality prostheses such as primary crowns in double-crown prostheses. Furthermore, all-ceramic prostheses approximate most closely to the light-reflecting qualities of natural teeth and therefore meet the highest cosmetic demands.
  • The influence of digital technology is now unmistakable throughout the field of dentistry. For example, the use of digital X-ray imaging with photostimulable phosphor systems or other processes is gaining ground, as is the digital archiving of X-ray and intraoral images. Such technology is especially beneficial during consultation, since it provides a clear visual demonstration of the proposed treatment and can therefore play an important role in convincing patients of the wisdom of opting for a higher-quality solution. Today’s digital camera systems can provide more detailed monitoring of surgical operations. Finally, the latest colorimeters, which provide exact readings of dentition colour independently of the actual light conditions, enhance cooperation between the dentist and the dental technician.
  • The arrival of CAD/CAM technology has sparked a digital revolution in dental laboratories. Products needed for almost every type of dental work — from basic care to complex restoration jobs — can now be designed onscreen and then made quickly and easily in the lab or elsewhere. The trend here is towards the use of ergonomic CAD systems, high-definition laser scanners and fast CNC milling robots that are able to process a range of ceramic and metallic materials. Such technology can provide the dental industry with a real advantage, and IDS is the perfect place to find out about all these fascinating systems and what they can do.
  • What benefits does CAD/CAM bring to the dental lab? It provides considerably more production flexibility by enabling labs to link up with regional or industrial milling centres, it boosts cost efficiency by enabling labs to cut a lot of extra investment in expensive equipment for conventional production processes, and overall it enhances the sector’s competitiveness. The provision of high-quality dental care already depends today upon the availability of highly skilled dental technicians with CAD/CAM experience, and this will be even more so in the future.
  • Implantology continues to take great strides, helped along by advances in microsurgery and the instruments used in this field. For example, state-of-the-art digital cameras are now used to provide dentists with onscreen, moving 3D images inside the mouth. Advances have also been made in the use of new bone-replacement materials. Another trend is the increasing use of high-grade implants made from zirconia. Effective teamwork between the dentist and the dental technician is crucial here to ensure that such high-tech prostheses sit comfortably in the mouth.
  • New developments are likewise benefiting the field of orthodontics, where — alongside conventional bracket systems — deep-drawn systems are now also in use. In addition, the use of implants and mini-pins is now helping to improve the skeletal anchoring of orthodontic systems.

In other words, dentists and dental technicians can’t afford to miss IDS 2007. Nowhere else will they find such comprehensive information on every aspect of dental care and dental technology, including all the latest technological developments.

Facts and figures on the German dental industry

I would now like to provide you with a few figures on the German dental market, which is one of the largest and most important within the EU. Allow me to begin with some explanatory remarks on the dental industry in Germany and the kind of conditions under which it operates. Later on, Dr. Claus Wendt will give a detailed presentation of the EU market as a whole, the various healthcare systems in Europe, and the present situation of dentists and dental technicians, as a major sector of the dental industry overall, within various European countries.

German dental industry holds its own despite losses at home

Our association, the VDDI, has around 200 member companies. In total, they employed 17,190 people in 2005, which marked a slight increase of 0.2 per cent compared to the previous year. They generated an overall turnover of €3.2 billion in 2005, a fall of 2.4 per cent on the figure for 2004. By comparison, domestic turnover was down to just over €1.4 billion during the same period, a decline of almost 12 per cent. In other words, a substantial proportion of total turnover, over €1.8 billion, was generated on the international market. This corresponds to a rise of almost seven per cent compared to 2004. Although the export quota has now risen to above 50 per cent, the German market will continue to have major strategic importance for our industry, which is essentially made up of small and medium-sized businesses.

Outlook for the German dental industry

The German dental industry is a major independent sector within the highly specialized healthcare industry as a whole. The healthcare markets in Germany and Europe, and worldwide, are set to become more and more important in the future. Significant increases in life expectancy will boost the demand for healthcare, including dental prostheses. In other words, the outlook is good for the dental industry.

The Fourth Oral Health Study of the Institute of German Dentists (IDZ), recently published in Cologne, reveals two very interesting trends. On the one hand, an emphasis on preventive care by dentists in Germany, along with attitudes towards this subject on the part of the German population, has led to a significant fall in the incidence of caries, particularly among children and adolescents. But on the other, the study also shows a substantial increase in periodontal diseases in adults and, of course, senior citizens. Therefore, despite the enormous improvements in oral hygiene, particularly in the younger generation, there will still be a future need for dentists, dental technicians and the dental industry as a whole. Demographic trends in Germany, Europe and even Asia all point to the emergence of an ageing society. By the year 2050, the average age of the German population, for example, will have risen from the current figure of 42 to 50 years of age. The Federal Statistical Office calculates that the number of 80-year-olds in Germany will rise from four million to 10 million over the same period. According to the calculations of EUROSTAT, the proportion of senior citizens (65 to 79 years of age) in the 25 member states of the EU is set to rise by more than 44 per cent between 2005 and 2050, and the proportion of the over-80s by a massive 180 per cent.

So if today’s methods of preventive care are helping people to keep more of their teeth into their 50s, 60s and even 70s, then the demand for dental care and, ultimately, dental prostheses — i.e. the services of dental technicians — will also grow. This includes a trend towards permanent prostheses in the shape of crowns, bridges and implants, with more and more people aged 65 and upwards evidently expressing a preference for this type of solution. Despite all the advances in preventive care, restorative dentistry will therefore continue to make a major contribution to maintaining the quality of life.

Nowadays, more and more people have a desire to remain physically attractive for both professional and private reasons. They therefore attach an increasing importance to their appearance, which naturally includes their teeth. As the Oral Health Study shows, people of all age groups are prepared to invest time and effort in oral and dental care.

According to the calculations of the Federal Statistical Office, in Germany between now and 2020 over €50 billion will be bequeathed to people above 50 years of age. I am very confident that a suitable proportion of this sum will be invested in healthcare and the quality of life, not least in areas beyond the scope of the national health system.
Impact of domestic healthcare policy on the German market

The German dental industry is dependent to a significant degree on both economic and healthcare policy at home.

The provisions on dental care introduced at the beginning of 2005 offer patients a greater scope with regard to the choice of dental prostheses. Since then, significantly more patients have requested implants and high-quality ceramic prostheses, for which there were previously no contributions available from the state health-insurance schemes. On the other hand, there have been big falls in demand for removable prostheses and prostheses featuring precious metals, although sharply rising prices for raw materials have also been a significant factor here.
Importance of the domestic market

Overall, the German dental market suffered in 2005 from the impact of reforms to the contributions towards dental treatment available from state health-insurance schemes. This was particularly the case in the sector for prostheses, where there was a burst of activity ahead of implementation of the reforms, especially as the government declined to grant a transitional period against the recommendations of the VDDI. This was followed by a major fall at the beginning of 2005, which over the course of the year developed into a permanent slump in most segments of the denture market.

By contrast, the beginning of 2005 brought strong growth in demand for implant-supported prostheses as a result of the fact that, depending on diagnosis, contributions towards this particularly high-quality form of treatment became available from the state health-insurance schemes for the first time. In some instances, a clear reluctance to invest on the part of dentists and dental labs has led to a significant fall in turnover in certain segments of the German dental market.

General mood in the German dental industry is positive

Despite substantial falls in sales in some areas of the dental market in 2005, the majority of VDDI members are optimistic about future trends. According to the results of an internal VDDI survey, a noteworthy 70 per cent of our members are forecasting an increase in domestic sales, while 26 per cent expect business to remain at around the same level as last year.

Positive turnover trends on most world markets

Business on the world markets in 2005 was very satisfactory for the German dental industry. However, our members had to work hard in order to hold their own against other global players on the world markets. Given our current export quota of over 50 per cent, export trade will continue to grow in importance for our globally oriented industry, and this despite the fact that conditions on the world markets have certainly not become any easier for our members.

Indeed, the earnings potential of many of our members remains subject to a substantial cost squeeze as a result of continuing exchange-rate pressures and rising prices for raw materials.

The strength of the euro has made our exports more expensive in some markets, while the weakness of the dollar has meant that products from the U.S. are more affordable. Nevertheless, our members were able to hold their position on the world markets last year and even, in some cases, strengthen it.

The results of our internal VDDI survey offer striking confirmation of these strong business trends on the various foreign markets, with almost two-thirds of companies surveyed reporting rising export revenues for 2005, and almost a quarter of respondents saying that sales had remained at the previous year’s level.

When broken down according to region, the business trends for 2005 reflect the varying developments on the individual markets:

  • For 61 per cent of our members, eastern Europe is a market offering very dynamic growth. For 2005, over a third of respondents report firm business trends here. A major factor behind this growth is the rapid economic development in some parts of the region, which looks set to continue at a good pace in the future.

  • Within the internal European market, western Europe is our most important market for dental products, with 43 per cent of our members reporting increased business for 2005, and as many as 45 per cent saying that business had remained stable.
  • Our members also reported a satisfactory rise in sales for the Far East, with 47 per cent of respondents posting increases, and 44 per cent able to hold turnover at the previous year’s level. Economic growth in the region, and the increasing prosperity that this brings, has generated growing demand for high-quality dental prostheses, with more and people now willing to invest in dental and oral care and their physical appearance.
  • In 2005, North America was once again one of the strong growth markets for dental products made in Germany. Despite the exchange-rate pressures, 41 per cent of our members boosted their turnover here, and a further 43 per cent were able to hold turnover at the previous year’s level, despite the difficult conditions. For 16 per cent of our members, however, sales were down.
  • Business trends on the dental markets in the Middle and Far East remained very encouraging for manufacturers from Germany. Here, 35 per cent of our members reported growth, and 54 per cent were able to hold turnover at the previous year’s level, despite stiff competition.
  • In the dental markets of Central and South America, business remained stable in 2005, yet at a level that still shows major potential for improvement. Despite uneven economic development in the region, 19 per cent of our members reported increased sales, with business remaining at the previous year’s level for a further 65 per cent. Only 16 per cent posted a decline.

I would also like to report that the German dental industry as a whole is highly optimistic about export trade for 2006, with over three-quarters of our members forecasting increasing foreign revenues, and just under a quarter confident of being able to hold revenues at last year’s level. Happily, none of our members is forecasting a fall in export revenues.

The German Dental industry in Europe

As I mentioned earlier, the internal European market is one of the most important markets for our industry worldwide. Here, all medical products, and therefore anything produced by the German dental industry, are subject to strict quality standards. As a result of stringent safety requirements, the dental sector — like the European market for medicines — represents one of the first areas in which a virtually unified market has been established. For this reason, there have long been uniform European regulations with regard to medical products, radiation protection and, in the broadest possible sense, safety issues. The VDDI has worked on all the relevant bodies and committees at the national and European levels and thereby contributed towards harmonizing the various markets within the EU. This technical and legal harmonization — e.g. the Act on Medical Devices or CE Marking — has made things much easier for our very export-oriented members, not only in the internal European market but also on the world’s markets overall.

The EU has recently presented industry — including the dental industry — with a range of tasks for the coming years, many of them highly challenging. Among them is the implementation of major new EU guidelines and directives:

WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment): Manufacturers are required by law to take back any old electrical and electronic appliances, including those from dental surgeries and dental laboratories, that were sold after 13th August 2005. Each EU member state has implemented the directive in its own way, with the result that different conditions can apply in different countries. Systems for taking back and recycling the old appliances must be established in each member state.

RoHS (Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment): This prohibits the use of hazardous substances (cadmium, lead, mercury) in products. Some products will therefore have to be redesigned, which in turn will mean additional R&D costs. However, it is not yet clear whether some products will be able to deliver the same performance with appropriate replacement materials, assuming that the latter can be found in an equivalent form.

REACH — the EU Chemicals Directive: All substances must be registered, assessed and approved in the future. Here, the prime task will be to provide companies with the requisite support for the introduction and implementation of REACH.

As for the healthcare system of the EU as a whole, the field of oral and dental health represents an important growth sector that not only is important for the quality of life within the EU but also has major significance for competitiveness at the domestic and European levels. Hundreds of thousands of people are employed in the healthcare market and generate a large proportion of the GDP of the EU member states. Consequently, the EU ought to have a major interest in promoting this sector and harmonizing it as much as possible across Europe.

Among the tasks of the Programme of Community Action in the Field of Public Health (2003 to 2008), which was by adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in 2002, is the fixing of criteria regulating access to national health systems and the establishment of quality standards and the EU compatibility of national health systems and health research within the EU. From our industry’s perspective, it is important that patients within the European Community continue to benefit from medical and technological advances and that enough scope remains throughout the whole of the dental sector for the quality and innovation that results from research and development — the research and development that leads to new products which also promise a return on investment.

From 20th to 24th March 2007, the International Dental Show in Cologne will offer an outstanding opportunity for dentists and dental technicians to find about all the latest technology at the world’s most comprehensive exhibition of dental innovation.

And you may be sure that we will do all we can to support you in your work, as representatives of the dental trade press in Europe. The Press Centre features all the facilities and equipment you will need to report on IDS.

I look forward to welcoming you back to Cologne for IDS 2007!

VDDI e.V. – Pressereferat - Burkhard Sticklies Fon: 0221-500687-14 Fax: 0221-500687-21

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