An Interview with David D. Dalise, OCO Biomedical, Inc. Founder and CEO

Q1: Dave, you’ve been involved with implant dentistry for over four decades. Can you share challenges you’ve faced and important lessons learned from your long, successful history as a pioneer and industry leader?

DD: One of the major challenges has been to overcome the dictates of the status quo and gain acceptance by colleagues and the dental community for the innovative ideas, products and techniques. It takes “blood, sweat and tears” as they say, and extensive research and testing to prove the value of revolutionary concepts, particularly when facing existing trends set, for the most part, by large manufacturing corporations.

Q2: Who influenced and inspired you to actively pursue your profession?

DD: Initially, I became interested in dentistry while serving in the Air Force. Every six months, a dental team would come by our base in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and treat the servicemen. After talking with these dentists and watching them work, I made the decision to go back to school and get my degree in this field. After graduating and starting my own practice, I avidly pursued all the information available by attending workshops, seminars and lectures. I wanted to learn all I could about my new found profession. While at an ADA meeting in Miami, I ran across the dental implant work being done by Norm Mulnick and Al Edelman, which particularly intrigued me. They had started an implant company producing blade implants designed by Lenny Linkhow, who also encouraged me to join the AAID to learn from the best about sub-periostial implants. These men were most influential in my early career.

Q3: As an award-winning, industry-recognized leader, what are your top leadership tips?

DD: When confronted with a challenging situation, don’t be afraid to go forward and find a solution. If not from the literature, then from others knowledgeable about the situation. Just do your best, and just do it! Of course, with the proviso – “first do no harm”.

Q4: What are the major industry changes and influences that have prompted your continued creation and development of world-class implant dentistry products and technology?

DD: As mentioned earlier, my interest in implantology was immediate. After placing a few sub-periostial implants and other implants available at the time, I realized that very few products existed that could address the issues surrounding implant- supported removable prostheses. All abutments and attachments were a lab technician’s one-time work of art. There was nothing that I knew of that could be reproduced accurately at a later time, when denture replacement was necessary. To fill this void, I developed the “O Ring Attachment System,” which eventually became one of the most widely used systems for attaching overdentures to all types of implants. The “O Ring Attachment System” had positive impact on stabilizing removable dentures world-wide. Unknowingly at the time, we also introduced the first analog/lab transfer die for dental implants. The same Delrin posts used for the waxup of the implant were later placed in the impression used to construct a new overdenture. This provided a rugged, unbreakable post incorporated in the working model. It was also all inclusive in a kit, both the “O Ring” and PS Bar System for tripodalized subs for atrophied mandibles. Again, the first prosthetic kit was available from the “O” Company, now OCO Biomedical.

Q5: How have you implemented practices and policies within OCO Biomedical, Inc. to meet the demands and changes in a very competitive and growing industry?

DD: All of the practices and policies within OCO Biomedical are set to achieve and maintain the highest standards of excellence in product, technology and training. Innovation and creativity are two critical elements as is on-going, in-depth market research and development. Over the years, I stated that OCO would never clone another product. OCO products and technologies would always be original and unique, designed by dentists for dentists and offered at a reasonable and affordable price. The patents that OCO has secured clearly demonstrates that we have never wavered from the Company’s standard of excellence, despite the competitive landscape.

Q7: What are your long-term goals for OCO Biomedical, Inc.?

DD: To the best of our knowledge, implant dentistry is well on its way to becoming mainstream and in the future will become a standard procedure in general dentistry. OCO continues to develop and simplify implant systems incorporating digitally generated components, aids and stream-lined protocols, which provide practitioners with what we call “The OCO Advantage: A Complete Dental Implant Solutions Approach.” To achieve our long-term goals, we will continue to emphasize trend-setting immediate placement and immediate load products that are inspired by orthopedic principles to be minimally invasive and reduce morbidity. We will continue to develop and simplify implant procedures and protocols utilizing cutting-edge technology, which provides both inexperienced and experienced practitioners easy, affordable ways to incorporate implant dentistry into their practice. Last, but not least, we will continue to expand our innovative, unique educational curriculum. 

Q8: What are your views on the future of implant dentistry in the USA? Globally?

DD: Be it domestically or globally, there is a growing awareness of the importance of oral health and hygiene and it’s impact on overall health issues such as heart disease and other known hygiene-related health issues. People will be more motivated to maintain and seek dental care, particularly along preventative lines. OCO has always maintained the posture that oral health and hygiene are essential prior to undertaking any implant procedure and that must be sustainable as part of a healthy lifestyle. In the future, I hope that we will evidence a substantial decrease in tooth loss, bone loss and that dental implants will measurably increase its reach worldwide as the solution for millions who have experienced unpreventable tooth loss.

Q9: As a multi-faceted, rapidly-growing, international company, what improvements in policy would you like to see in the next two years in the USA and internationally?

DD: Two improvements come to mind. First, that the FDA and other regulatory bodies reduce the process time and requirement complexities for approval. Second, that there will be greater acceptance of modalities that are now considered “alternative” in medicine and dentistry. Although the USA has somewhat embraced these alternatives, in many other countries these alternatives have been government supported and have proven effective and widely accepted.

Q10: Dave, as a well-known presenter and educator, you have attended and lectured at hundreds of conferences, seminars and meetings over the years. When interacting with the dental community, what areas do you see that would require more emphasis?

DD: I would like to see more emphasis placed on para-implant education, which gets back to the issue of oral health and hygiene. This topic is of particular importance when dealing with occlusal issues and pre-implant preparation. At OCO, we emphasize that an implant is never to be placed in an environment that can cause the loss of a tooth or teeth. This is critical for long-term implant success.

Q11: In closing, what are your top tips for innovation and entrepreneurship for young practitioners and for those who are considering incorporating dental implantology in their practice?

DD: Learn everything you can about implant dentistry. Learn all you can about the disciplines of dental care: orthodontics, occlusal concepts, controlling periodontal disease. Seek out the best in each field and ask questions. Invest in excellence – be it products, procedures, training. Be fully prepared and certainly have confidence in yourself, your training and your abilities. Then, just get out there and practice – just do it!