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Profissional Cursos & Palestras
Nascido em São Paulo, é formado pela Faculdade de Odontologia de Santo Amaro - Unisa, especialista em Ortopedia Funcional dos Maxilares, posgraduado em Ortodontia e mestrando em Ciência da Saúde
artigo do Finantial Times

Brazil’s dentists continue to innovate

By Jonathan Wheatley in São Paulo

Published: January 6 2011 20:05 | Last updated: January 6 2011 20:05

One of the many surprising things about Brazil is that its dentistry ranks among the best in the world. The skill of its dental practitioners and the size of its market, expanding rapidly over the past few years, have attracted some of the world’s biggest dental supplies companies, such as Dentsply and Ultradent of the US and KaVo of Germany.

“It’s an environment that encourages original research,” says Luiz Abreu, general manager for Brazil and South America at Ultradent, which arrived in Brazil in September 2007.

During its short presence in the country, Ultradent has already developed two products in Brazil for sale around the world. One, to be launched soon, is an instrument called an apex locator, which helps assess the amount of work needed when treating a root canal.

The other, branded as Tilos, is a set of files also used in treating root canals and designed to make the process less intrusive.

“Brazil always attracted our attention because it is the third or fourth country in the world in terms of numbers of articles published in orthodontic journals,” he says. “But since we arrived ... we’ve got closer to that reality and seen that Brazilians really contribute new ideas, especially in combining more sophisticated materials with less invasive techniques.”

He says Brazilian dentistry is a combination of contrasting cultures in the US and Europe. The US emphasises aesthetics, while in Europe “the number one focus is that teeth should do the job nature intended them to do”.

Brazil developed this hybrid culture because of its highly unequal income distribution. A large minority of the population can afford – and demands – the most sophisticated treatment available. The much larger majority has to accept services on a much more limited budget.

“Dentists are facing that brutal reality every day,” Mr Abreu says. “It’s very unusual for a dentist to have only one consulting room. They usually work with a variety of patients. I think this keeps their minds open.” There is a tradition of public service in dentistry. The city of Campinas, for example, about an hour outside São Paulo, was the first in Brazil to put fluoride in its tap water after a dentist was elected to the city council. Today, almost all tap water in Brazil has fluoride in it.

Not all conditions in Brazil are ideal for innovation, however. Just as notorious as the country’s inequality is its stultifying bureaucracy. Ultradent’s Tilos range, developed by Brazilians, is on sale in the US, Europe and Japan but not Brazil.

“We can develop new products, but our product registration process is one of the most complicated in the world,” Mr Abreu says.

The Tilos range has been going through the process for more than a year. He hopes Brazilian dentists will be able to use it some time next year.

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