Focus On: A Look Behind the Scenes

Marty Jablow, DMD
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Marty Jablow, DMD, focuses on the mission and selection process for the yearly Cellerant Best of Class Technology Awards.

Q: What are Cellerant Best of Class Technology Awards about?

A: The 12th annual Cellerant Best of Class Technology Award winners have been selected. This award is not a popularity contest but an exercise that is focused on thoughtfully selecting new and established products and technologies that can have a very positive impact for your dental practice.

Q: Can you please explain what is involved in the selection process?

A: Following a year of research, the selection process occurs yearly at the Chicago Midwinter Meeting, where the committee of Drs. Paul Feuerstein, John Flucke, Lou Shuman, Chris Salierno and Pam Maragliano-Muniz and I convene to review the previous year’s winners and if they have continued to distinguish themselves. Then all other products in all categories are evaluated to see if they are true game changers in the dental profession. The committee reviews every product very methodically to determine which products will be worthy of further examination. Many hours of research and discussion occur before arriving in Chicago and the voting takes place. No one wins on the criteria of “category,” although the committee does go through every category in dentistry. By not selecting by category, it gives the committee the freedom to not pick a winner in a specific category if there is no true differentiator in the technology represented. The process is rigorous, unbiased, transparent, and nonprofit. Companies can also self-nominate themselves throughout the year at the Cellerant website (cellerantconsulting.com). If anyone on the voting panel has a consulting relationship with companies, this is disclosed at the start of the meeting. They are not allowed to vote in the category they consult in. There are no top 10 or 20 winners for marketing purposes, and the total number of winners is not predetermined. There is only one category that is created, separate from winning the general award, and that is the “Emerging” category. These are a specially chosen group of companies that are new to the dental market. Although these products/companies are not yet well known in the industry, the panel feels that they will have a significant impact on the profession. These innovative technologies either define a new product category altogether or stand to challenge established category leadership. As the Cellerant Best of Class Technology Awards have increased in prominence over the years, award-winning companies have established major distribution relationships, growing dramatically as a result of the awareness that is provided. Because of the integrity of the awards, the Best of Class Technology Awards are covered by every major journal in North America. It is now considered one of the most prestigious awards a company can garner and is often referred to as “Dentistry’s Oscar.”

Q: Can you give us a little more behind-the-scenes detail on the discussions involved and how winners are recognized?

A: The discussion process is lively and sometimes escalates to heated debate on whether the product or service is worthy of Best of Class. How do these products and services stack up against the competition? What distinguishes the products from others in the same category? Has the product revolutionized, simplified, or advanced the practice of dentistry? Sometimes more information is needed before being able to determine a winner. If that is the case, the vote on that category is suspended, and committee members will do more research after the Chicago Midwinter Meeting before reconvening at a later date to determine if that technology qualifies to win.

The ADA has partnered with Dr. Shuman, the creator and founder of Best of Class, to provide a major and exclusive presence at its meeting every year. A showcase is created for the winners that includes of the Best of Class Alley, and a 250-seat, high-tech educational arena is integrated into the space, thus creating the largest exhibit space at the meeting. The committee and special guests provide 3 days of technology CE education. There is an official awards ceremony honoring the winners, as well as a new dentist reception privately held in the Best of Class Alley. The committee members also have more intimate discussions with attendees during what are called “campfires” that attendees can register for, and these are placed in the exhibit space as well. The ADA takes special attention in creating a truly first-class buildout each year and was honored nationally as providing the “the highest quality education on an exhibit floor” as a result of the ADA-Cellerant technology partnership.

This year at the virtual ADA Meeting, there will be a virtual Best of Class Alley. In addition, the Best of Class committee members will be providing a virtual presentation and a technology showcase.

Q: Any final comments?

A: The vision and commitment by Dr. Lou Shuman to create an award of the highest integrity 12 years ago has been realized today with the support of those who are considered the leading technology experts in the industry. The process and the committee have created a product list each year that the dental community can look to with confidence as critical components to be integrated into one’s practice. It also sends a clear message to the manufacturing community of what technologies the experts consider as the true differentiators. What is most important to the committee is to provide the dental community with a list of technologies that will, in turn, benefit patients by improving their quality of life. That is the ultimate goal of the committee and makes all the time and effort invested in the award process worth it!

Dr. Jablow received his dental degree from New Jersey Dental School in 1986 and practices in Woodbridge, NJ. He has received Fellowships from the AGD and the International Association of Dental-Facial Esthetics and holds memberships in the ADA, AGD, and NJ Dental Association. He can be reached at marty@dentaltechnologycoach.com.

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