Aligning My Mission with Glidewell Dental
By: Dr. Mayuri Kerr
“Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?”
A decade ago, I would have never imagined that I’d be working with one of the largest dental labs in the world, while simultaneously engaging with my skills as a dentist, writer and biomedical engineer.
After graduating dental school in 2004, I joined my father’s busy dental practice. In 2010, I became aware of Glidewell, after BruxZir Solid Zirconia® was introduced to India. This restorative material was a game changer, because before that point, I struggled to give bruxers a good-looking, long lasting restoration. But here was BruxZir, a gorgeous restoration that was nearly unbreakable.
Around the same time, our practice was seeing an uptick in oral cancer patients fueled by India’s burgeoning chewed and smoked tobacco industry. Most of these patients were from lower socioeconomic classes, often unable to afford treatment for their cancer.
One case in particular stayed with me. A patient in her late 30s came to my office seeking treatment for what was obviously a cancerous growth in her lower jaw. Her family was unable to afford the surgery.
Our consulting oral surgeon taught at a local dental school, so we asked that the patient seek treatment there. The oral surgeon would treat her for free and the patient would become a teaching case at the college.
I never saw her again, but this situation weighed on my mind. I knew that the first thing the oral surgeon would do is remove the affected half of the jaw, which would leave the woman with a permanently disfigured face. I found myself constantly thinking about the psychological, social and emotional impact this would have on the rest of her life.
We were stopping the disease, but failing to completely rehabilitate the patient. I realized that I needed to study engineering in order to find a solution to problems like these. I’m proud to say that I completed my goal, graduating with a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering from UCLA in 2014.
When I interviewed at Glidewell for the position of Medical Writer, it became apparent that my mission and the company’s mission aligned. I was pleased to hear that our president and founder, Jim Glidewell, places emphasis on developing devices, solutions, and materials that are affordable and accessible to everybody. From my perspective, the company’s vision was something that I felt passionate about working towards.
My role at Glidewell is driven by science. We are developing the latest tools, technologies, and materials, so that doctors can provide high quality treatment at an affordable cost. We have a huge R&D department, with over a 100 full-time scientists and engineers working on cutting-edge projects like the creation of both BruxZir and Obsidian® Fused to Metal.
I work on the Clinical Affairs team, where I’m responsible for designing experimental and clinical studies to validate our products. I love that I can combine my skills as a clinician and as a biomedical researcher. I also like that I can scientifically quantify how well our products work.
The second part of my job is working with the Regulatory Department, writing clinical evaluation reports for our materials. These are provided to health regulatory agencies in the various countries that we operate in. These reports collate scientific, sales and post-market data to show that our products are safe and effective. I also contribute to some marketing projects, which helps keep my creative side engaged.
Right now, I’m in the process of designing and running several scientific studies for the company, one of which is a clinical study for the Hahn™ Tapered Implant. This will gauge how well the implants work in the mouth over a few years. I also have begun a clinical study that’s designed to do the same thing for all the kinds of BruxZir and Obsidian.
I want to help establish long-term data and keep growing our understanding of our products. I am also involved in in-vitro studies that are looking to the future of dentistry. Ultimately, the work I do tells us if we have potential for growth in those areas.
At Glidewell, I’m surrounded by very talented people, where I’m able to use my skill set to the fullest. I’m excited about the work that I’m doing for the company, because I feel like I’m making a difference. It’s a small thing, but my boss and colleagues were happy to let me hang quite a few of my paintings up on the wall next to my desk. At Glidewell, this is how a feeling of belonging starts. I love coming to work alongside driven, passionate individuals, who I have come to consider family. We are all working together to continue making Glidewell a market leader in the dental industry.