"With Omnichroma, we can create color from light!"

Interview with Markus Leson, General Manager of Tokuyama Dental Germany GmbH

Markus Leson, General Manager of Tokuyama Dental Germany GmbH
Markus Leson, General Manager of Tokuyama Dental Germany GmbH

The aesthetic and functional demands of patients regarding restorative dental prosthetics have skyrocketed in recent years. Tokuyama Dental Germany GmbH distributes correspondingly attractive products from its Japanese parent company in Northern Europe, which also significantly simplifies the workflow of dentists - including a system that makes the storage of special colors obsolete. General Manager Markus Leson spoke with Wirtschaftsforum about current innovations and the long-term prospects of Tokuyama Dental's products in the Northern European market.

Wirtschaftsforum: Mr. Leson, your company is responsible for distributing the product portfolio of the Japanese Tokuyama Corporation in Northern Europe - what elements are at the center of your attention in this regard?

Markus Leson: Essentially, Tokuyama engages with a very broad range in restorative dentistry, offering various composites along with corresponding adhesive systems and cementing agents. However, not all Tokuyama products are available in the European market, as the complex authorization processes are always associated with corresponding costs, whose investments must also prove to be economically worthwhile. Therefore, in Europe, we sometimes act as niche providers with a comparatively manageable portfolio, but there, we always engage with very precise and successful commitment: Thus, a variety of our solutions are found in the top 5 or top 3 of their respective product categories.

Tokuyama Dental Omnichroma
Omnichroma can create color from light
Tokuyama Dental Bond Force II
With Bond Force II, Tokuyama Dental offers a light-curing, self-etching one-component adhesive

Wirtschaftsforum: What distinguishes Tokuyama's solutions from the offerings of other market participants?

Markus Leson: The general structure of composite materials consists of glass fillers typically embedded in a resin matrix. However, Tokuyama grows these fillers using a patented technology (sol-gel method) similar to pearls in a solution, allowing their shape and size to always be controlled, which is not the case with the common grinding methods. This control over the fillers can then achieve certain properties that also have a positive impact on aesthetics – certainly, further developments will be possible in this area in the future.

Wirtschaftsforum: What specific benefits does your approach offer to the treating dentist and patients?

Markus Leson: Tooth color is not uniform: Some teeth are lighter, others darker, some have a more grayish hue, others a slightly yellowish one. Each tooth is unique, which must be taken into account in treatment to achieve a pleasing aesthetic result. With our product Omnichroma, despite this very patient-specific requirement, we can cover the complete range of requirements with a single universal tooth color that suits the entire spectrum of tooth shades – because through the round spherical fillers, which we produce with our patented technology (Smart Chromatic Technology), we can create color from light and therefore do not need to add any artificial color pigments to the product. This saves the practitioner valuable time, as there is no need to determine tooth shades before treatment, as well as material costs, since our solution eliminates the need to stock special colors, whose shelf life may be exceeded before they can be used on a patient. Also, polishing is usually faster afterwards.

Tokuyama Dental light-curing posterior composite
The light-curing posterior composite Estelite Asteria is also part of Tokuyama Dental's product portfolio
Tokuyama Dental Headquarters
From a perspective, the company aims to significantly increase brand awareness in the European area and has accordingly positioned itself at the new location in Metelen

Wirtschaftsforum: A solution that is meant to meet the growing aesthetic demands of patients?

Markus Leson: In this context, we are observing a very clear trend: While one can still be quite satisfied with the physical properties of amalgam, a silver-gray spot in the mouth no longer meets the aesthetic sensations of most people. For this reason, many opt for a plastic solution that blends almost invisibly into the existing dental environment. At the same time, the extensive possibilities of dentistry are known to the entire breadth of the population through the internet: Thus, today we generally encounter very well-informed patients who approach their dentists with clear wishes, often explicitly demanding the use of certain materials because they promise themselves the best functional and aesthetic result from them.

Wirtschaftsforum: What implications does this have for your company – and what position does Tokuyama aim to achieve in the European market in the long term?

Markus Leson: Following the dissolution of a joint venture with an Italian manufacturer, since April 2023 we have been operating as a 100% subsidiary of the Japanese Tokuyama Corporation, which also involved some restructuring measures internally, such as creating new storage capacities. From this strong position, we aim to make Tokuyama's product range even more well-known in Germany and Europe and to grow accordingly in the coming years to be able to support dentists throughout their entire workflow in a targeted manner. To this end, we will continue our trusted cooperation with our exclusive depots in the respective markets consistently – the fact that our shortest partnership has lasted for ten years now underscores our long-term approach.