Archive for May, 2017

Contrasts of dental standards

May 14th, 2017


53 years ago, I started my apprenticeship as a dental salesman. I went to work for almost a year at one of UK’s leading dental dealers, Cottrell & Co. in the heart of London.

Then, there were no composite filling materials, only silicates. No bonding materials, no disposable needles and hardly a seat in sight for the dentist. When you entered the stock room, a common sight was like the one below: boxes and boxes of acrylic teeth.

This was the sight that met me when I entered our dealer’s stock department last week – in Cluj, Romania. “And our stock levels are low at the moment”, I was told.
OK, they DO have composites and disposable needles, and the dentists DO sit down at their work. True, they don’t have dental hygienists, but that’s the same as France, Belgium, Greece and Turkey – and many other countries in the World. So I don’t want to be over-critical. Just observing…


01 low


This became doubly apparent when I visited Amsterdam’s ACTA (dental university) facilities earlier this week. In fact, on Monday I gave a lecture to 3rd year dental hygienists in an auditorium, that would not look out of place at a modern art museum. Quite stunning.

I mean, just look at the image below: this is just one quick view from the lobby. Could be a Las Vegas hotel with that atrium.


02 low

It illustrates the task ahead for those who are trying to bring dental care to the World. For instance, I suggest you check out the efforts of the ADI – Academy of International Dentistry, an organisation that voluntarily directs its funds and brains to exactly that subject. I am proud to help where I can, such as bringing them closer to the IFDH, the World Hygienists’ Association.

You and I may be getting good dental care. But so much of this World just has not caught up – and is in danger of being left far behind. Romania is an example of the problem: they joined the EU some years ago, but, as you see from the above image, have a long way to go.

Smile – Support Your Dentist



Dental Nostalgia in Amsterdam

May 9th, 2017


As the notes about my blog state, I’m 53 years in this dental business.
Back in 1967, exactly 50 year ago, and after 3 years’ apprenticeship, I was given my initial sales territory: Holland, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland.
50 years ago, I started selling dental products here in the Netherlands.
And today, I am back here (perhaps for the 100th time) and shall take you for a little walk down Nostalgia Lane.

First, proof that I am in Amsterdam.
Do you know any country that promotes its cheeses as well as the Netherlands?
Yes, in many countries, there are fromageries – but they feature ‘cheese to buy’ from all over the World.
But you won’t see them at every tourist street corner or at the airports etc., as in the Netherlands.


1 cheese


A few meters away, I arrive at Nes, considered the oldest street in the city.
I stand approximately where one of my customers used to be. There’s am RHO hotel there. I am confused.
Then I see the sign above the doorway: Drijfhout & Zoon. It’s the same building, and there’s the proof!
They were primarily suppliers of precious metals to dental laboratories.
Customer # 1179…I was selling Jelenko products to them, especially the gold alloys.
Those were the days.


2 hotel


I went inside, and was happily surprised to see that they had retained the old look – now a beautiful hotel lobby, with Art Deco design.
In the old days this beautiful place had offices in every direction.
They told me the hotel had been established in 1990. That’s about right; I stopped working for Jelenko in 1982!


3 hotel lobby


I continued walking along Nes…the old style on the left, the new on the right.
Strange effect, but that’s Amsterdam, a cacophony of old and new.


4 street


At the other end, next to the Old Mill Souvenir shop, I gaped at the building where I actually stayed for a few weeks.
I had a Dutch lady friend in those days – had met her playing tennis in London. And when I arrived in 1968, she and her boyfriend invited me to stay with them in Nes.
Look at the view we had from the back windows – and still today…


5 view


Dental is a great world of which to be a part, and Amsterdam is a great place to sell dental materials…

Smile – Support your dentist


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