Dr Schätzle, you studied and graduated in Bern, qualified as a university lecturer in Zurich and you have also taught in Hong Kong on a temporary basis. Your career also took you to Sweden. How did that happen?
For six years, I analysed a unique database that was the subject of my second doctoral thesis, which I defended in Sweden. The epidemiology of periodontitis was the central theme. This gave me the opportunity to work with Prof. Harald Löe, Prof. Niklaus Lang and Rolf Attström. For a long time, I was also interested in periodontics and perioprosthetics. Later, I decided to specialise in orthodontics. In retrospect, it was the right decision. Since 2007, I have been sharing the practice in Lucerne with my wife.
What do you find particularly exciting about your profession?
I like the craftsmanship involved, but I find the relationships with the patients even more exciting. General practices are increasingly geared towards recall and, as a result, doctors see their patients, at most, a few times a year. This is different in orthodontics. We see patients every 4–8 weeks over several years.
What do you think are the main benefits of combining orthodontics with paediatric dentistry?
I find it fascinating to see how the child develops. My patients first come to my practice as small children and they leave as young adults. In a way, you develop a relationship with the patient and you share the joy as you witness their personal development.
Which current developments in the field of orthodontics are you interested in?
There is currently a lot of momentum in orthodontics. Digital orthodontics is increasingly being used in practice, from intraoral scanning for planning to setup and indirect bonding. From our perspective, we want everything to remain cost effective, because not everything involving digital technology is economically viable.
When did you set up your own practice?
I have been in this practice since 2011. I originally took the practice over from my father, who practiced here for 35 years. I have subsequently decided to move the practice to a new location just a few hundred metres away. We have three treatment rooms and four chairs. I also wanted to offer patients some privacy. Each chair should have the same equipment allowing every prophylactic assistant to start work at the chair immediately.
Let’s move on to practice equipment. Why did you choose the MIKRONA treatment units?
I was already familiar with the ORTHORA unit from my training and my time spent as a senior lecturer at the Orthodontics and Paediatric Dentistry Department at the University of Zurich. My father used MIKRONA chairs for more than 20 years and I decided to go with something I already knew rather than experiment. Overall, I wanted a simple, efficient and reliable treatment chair to which I could add equipment at any time, without any huge cost.
How have you expanded your unit over time?
I have added a Cavitron ultrasonic scaler to the ORTHORA. I used to have several mobile units, but over time I wanted to improve the treatment process and make it more efficient. I am currently thinking of mounting screens, either to the treatment unit or behind the chair, when upgrading to a digital X-ray. I have many options available with regards to the expansion. For example, I only wanted one micromotor, but I still had room for more instruments. Children can be a bit clumsy, so I only wanted to have the essentials on the unit.
Why do you attach particular importance to simplicity and expediency?
I also work at other locations where they have units or many more variations, which I do not actually need. Less is often more. I want a minimalist design, because I do not need 35 positions and other options that I will not use. With ORTHORA, I can control everything easily by foot, which is also very important to me from a hygienic point of view. MIKRONA is also capable of accommodating one’s individual requirements.
I am not limited in my treatment. The ORTHORA is not demanding in terms of space and it is easily accessible. In fact, it is comfortable for all patients, big or small. This is important because most patients feel far from relaxed at the dentist.
What about maintenance?
Some chairs are already ten years old. I have had to replace the odd foot pedal here and there and I have the units checked every two years. Otherwise, I have had no major incidents that would disrupt the treatment procedure. Since I have purchased the units, I have been working with Ortho Walker in the spirit of mutual trust and I highly value Depot and its service.
Finally, would you recommend MIKRONA?
MIKRONA is certainly one of the more expensive providers. However, given its robustness and reliability, it offers good value for money.
Thank you very much for the interview.