EMS is on a mission to disrupt – with ‘no plans of slowing down’

It’s more than airflow: Dentistry’s Lucy Veal visits EMS HQ in Switzerland to explore the company’s journey so far and its mission to transform dental prophylaxis.

In the current UK dental landscape, a hygiene-led treatment process has never been more important.

This is the ideology of EMS, and after an invitation to visit its headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, it’s clear that health, prevention and happiness are at the forefront of the company.

After a landmark few years, EMS was keen to highlight that there is more to the company than airflow. Speaking to Harry Morris, UK & Ireland GBT (guided biofilm therapy) sales manager, he said: ‘We opened a subsidiary of EMS UK at the end of 2018, and it’s been such a successful few years. Everyone is starting to know more about GBT and EMS, and so it was important to rewind a bit and to show you where the company came from.

‘Especially in the UK, it’s almost like we popped up out of nowhere. No one realises that EMS dates back to 1981. And so, I think it’s important for you to be able to show your readership that we didn’t just pop up – this has been 50 years in the making.’

Patient experience transformed

Following a tour of EMS HQ and a thorough walkthrough of the history and objectives of the company, its mission quickly became clear – EMS intends to revolutionise prophylaxis.

It’s more than airflow: Dentistry’s Lucy Veal visits EMS HQ in Switzerland to explore the company’s journey so far and its mission to transform dental prophylaxis.

Bernd Bühner and Pierre Mabille founded the company in 1981, and right from the start they set out to transform the approach to dentistry with a pleasant, painless and prevention-led focus. Since then, EMS has become a leader in prophylaxis and dental biofilm management.

One of the gamechangers behind this, of course, is its GBT protocol. Harry provided an in-depth walkthrough of the evolution of GBT and why it is instrumental in infection control and prevention.

He also explained how the eight-step protocol can empower the clinician, patient and practice all in one – and it’s all about the patient experience. By providing a fast, non-invasive and painless treatment which engages the patient and brings them into the process, the patient experience is improved. As a result, Harry explained that this also increases practice turnover, improves clinical results and creates happy and fulfilled clinicians.

GBT growth

With a protocol that clearly works and is backed by ever-growing scientific evidence, now EMS’s task is to spread the word across the UK.

‘When we started in the UK, early adopters were there straightaway,’ Harry said. ‘They wanted it and they approached us. And we’re really busy with those people. We had a lot of interest from these early adopters.

‘It’s only really now that we’re having the time to put together an actual plan, if you like, on how we deliver this to a wide audience. Not that we’re not delivering it to a wide audience at the moment: over 1,000 delegates were trained in GBT in the UK and Ireland last year alone. And those numbers have been consistent in growth for the last five years.

‘But I think it’s just about really showing people that there’s more to this than airflow. And we’ve got to do better at delivering that message on a wider scale.’

Disrupting the market

When you first enter the EMS building, it wouldn’t be unusual to feel as though you have entered an art gallery or museum by mistake.

With each room brimming with colour, paintings and sculptures, EMS hopes to both inspire its employees and visitors, and reflect the disruptive nature of the company.

It’s more than airflow: Dentistry’s Lucy Veal visits EMS HQ in Switzerland to explore the company’s journey so far and its mission to transform dental prophylaxis.

‘Disrupt’ was certainly the buzzword of this visit, with EMS keen to highlight how they have disrupted the industry so far and their plan to continue doing so.

‘We are disruptive with innovation,’ Harry said. ‘We continually innovate products and powders to levels that people just can’t do elsewhere.

‘There are not many products or concepts on the market that can improve your patient’s enjoyment, increase your clinician’s happiness and make your practice money. There just isn’t. It’s as simple as that.

‘And we will continue to innovate. This company has got no plans of slowing down on what it’s trying to do.

‘As you saw, we’ve been innovating since 1981. That first Piezon we brought out was innovative. And the powder that I showed you was from 1981 – and it’s still being used today.

‘That’s how far ahead EMS is.’

Product precision

We were also given a tour through the EMS factory where each product is made. From handpieces to airflow stations, it was fascinating to learn that every element of the production process is carried out by human power.

According to Celso Da Costa, global director of marketing and Swiss Dental Academy director, this is to guarantee quality and precision. ‘Every single piece of technology that we are bringing is a piece of art,’ Celso said. ‘You will notice that design is super important to us, and you will notice by being here at EMS HQ that art is important to us.

‘We consider everything that we do in terms of communication and technology as a piece of art.’

In addition, we were lucky enough to have the chance to put our own airflow skills to the test by using the Airflow Prophylaxis Master. This gave us first-hand insight into how the GBT protocol works as well as the system’s gentle yet effective method of removing biofilm and calculus.

Led by Celso, this step-by-step, hands-on session was really beneficial to understanding the full patient journey and experience, and I certainly left contemplating a career move from dental media to dental hygiene…

The EMS spirit

But most of all, I left EMS HQ with newfound admiration for the enthusiasm and passion of the company. The genuine confidence and excitement that the EMS team has for its products and ethos was inspiring.

Hearing SDA (Swiss Dental Academy) trainers discuss their reasons for working with and advocating GBT was particularly enlightening. For example, one hygienist was set on leaving the profession after feeling burnt out, but getting involved with GBT reignited her love for dentistry.

SDA, which offers countless training courses, has educated over 100,000 clinicians globally. But it has also managed to build a community with an engaged and passionate culture at its core.

‘Our SDA trainers are selected by the GBT experts of the region, and I always get an interview with them,’ Celso said.

‘If they have the same values as we do and they’re here to defend the same values that we do, then we want them with us.

‘The first part of their training is always at EMS HQ where they will spend two days with us. We also have sessions every three months virtually and we have one in-person session per year to promote the same spirit, same culture.

‘If you are here to defend patients from oral disease, we want you on board.’

Health and happiness

The same sentiment was echoed by Harry when discussing what EMS is looking to achieve. He said: ‘Our overall mission is we want all patients to receive GBT. That might seem like a big mission and one we probably won’t ever achieve, but it’s one that we will continue to go for.

‘We’re focused on prevention, we’re focused on happy patients, and patient happiness and health is at the forefront of what we do.

‘So, we want as many clinicians to be trained in GBT as possible so that as many patients as possible are receiving the treatment.’

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