Each year, the Edison Awards honor the top innovations upending the status quo and transforming the way people live and work. Selected through a thorough review process conducted by experts in the fields of science, technology, design, engineering and marketing, the 2020 Edison Awards Winners in the Dental/Medical category are the latest crop of new and noteworthy advances you’ll be seeing—and adopting—soon. Among the winners are:


  • Easy Denture, arguably the most accessible denture option in the world, earned the company a Dental Innovations gold award. According to the Center for Disease Control, in the United States, approximately 40 million people are edentulous – without teeth. Easy Denture resolved to create a solution that’s a simple as boiling water. Simply Dip Easy Denture in boiling water for 60 seconds. Cool for the same amount of time. Align in the mouth and create a seal for 90 seconds. Place denture in cold water to set for 30 seconds. That’s all there is to it. One visit and done.


  • With a bronze medal in the Dental Innovations category, Richmond Soft BiteBlock by Richmond Dental & Medical is a groundbreaking tool to protect patients under general anesthesia. It helps protect the airway device (Endotracheal Tube or Laryngeal Mask Airway), teeth, and tongue during emergence. The Soft BiteBlock‘s dense cylindrical shape allows for consistent compression performance when placed between a patient’s molars with the tongue positioned medially.


  • ORISE Gel Submucosal Lifting Agent, a pseudoplastic/non-Newtonian viscous gel used for the creation of submucosal cushions beneath polyps, adenomas, or early-stage cancers by Boston Scientific earned a silver award in the Advanced Surgical Instruments category.


  • A Silver award honoree in the Sterilization Solutions category, SciCan’s StatClave G4 vacuum sterilizer contains both pre- and post-sterilization vacuums. With the reliability and trust you’ve come to expect from STATIM, the STATCLAVE G4 is designed to deliver speed, capacity and efficiency to your practice. STATCLAVE improves steam penetration and post-sterilization vacuum to improve drying. Its 11” chamber and vacuum-assisted closed-door drying efficiently delivers sterilized and dried wrapped instruments.


Established in 1987, the Edison Awards have recognized and honored some of the most innovative products and business leaders in the world and is among the most prestigious accolades honoring excellence in new product and service development, marketing, design and innovation.

Personal tragedy inspires Dr. Katie McCann Lee to restore smiles. #IE40under40

At a very young age, Dr. Katie McCann Lee learned the importance of a smile to one’s well being. At only the age of 14 she was involved in a horrific ATV accident.

This accident left her with a severely fractured face and missing teeth. Four years and nine reconstructive surgeries later, doctors were able to restore her smile.

“I had to go through four years of high school without front teeth, and that negatively affected my confidence and social development. I learned at a young age how important a smile is to one’s well being. I wanted to enhance other people’s well-being by being a dentist.”

Dr. Katie McCann Lee

Many of Dr. McCann Lee’s patients don’t know about the life-changing experience that led her to dentistry

Dr. McCann Lee, one of the Incisal Edge 2019 40 Under 40 honorees, recalls those difficult days.

As a result of the accident, her right Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) was severely damaged and to repair the function of this joint, doctors used her rib bone.

The biggest challenge to overcome in her life this far, Dr. McCann Lee says, was not only the horrific accident, but the fact that it occured at a difficult time in her life.

“I also had to face tough bullying at school for the way that I looked from my accident and subsequent surgeries. At a young age, I was tested, and learned discipline and persistence. Luckily, that has carried throughout my adult life, so nothing seems out of reach anymore.”

Dr. Katie McCann Lee

Those challenges culminated in Dr. McCann Lee’s passion for dentistry and ultimately, her decision to create Aurora Modern Dentistry in Colorado.

Dr. Katie McCann Lee surrounded by the supportive dental team at Aurora Modern Dentistry.

“I believe that dentistry should be affordable, be efficiently delivered, and tailored to the patient’s lifestyle.”

Dr. Katie McCann Lee

Education is just the first step to the dental profession, and in order to be successful, that training needs to extend outside of the classroom to the patients.

At Dr. McCann Lee’s practice she initiated a ‘co-treatment plan’ which allows the patients to select the treatment plan of their choice. Within this process, she and her team inform the patients of the diagnosis and present all possible solutions. The patients are invited to select the one that will work best for their lifestyle.

The primary goal for Dr. McCann Lee and her team is to find and treat the source of the problem, not just the symptoms. They focus on issues such as chronic inflammation, sleep disturbances, occlusal discrepancies, and infection.

Dr. McCann Lee often sees patients on weekends, to accommodate their busy lives.

A passion for innovation.

Currently, Dr. McCann Lee is particularly passionate about the topic of salivary diagnostics, in which saliva is tested for inflammatory genes and oral bacteria. This allows a doctor to better diagnose and manage periodontics and chronic inflammation.

Her expertise in sleep and airway management allows her to provide treatment to improve the quality of a patient’s life, and systemic conditions such as sleep apnea.

This summer, Aurora Modern Dentistry will expand their office with a build out of a specialty center, to incorporate endodontics, orthodontics, oral surgery, periodontics, and sleep medicine.

Dr. McCann Lee has been an inspiration to many. Who inspires her?

Dr. Minh Pham is an experienced clinician with tremendous success in building practices and training dentists. Dr. McCann Lee credits him as her mentor.

“He has taught me how to stay humble and hungry, to always work hard, and to always put my team first.”

Dr. Katie McCann Lee

The most important lesson Dr. McCann Lee says she learned from Dr. Pham: No matter what, you should always focus on your team first. A dental practice is never one-person; the team helps the doctor create solutions and ideas.

Dr. Katie McCann Lee spends her free time traveling with the with friends and family. She is always up for a good adventure, or a scuba diving session!

To learn more about Dr. Katie McCann Lee, or her practice click here

Start spring with fresh ideas in dentistry: #6neatthings.

Blooming flowers, chirping birds, magical light cure composites — what else would you expect with the arrival of spring? When aiming to incorporate fresh ideas into your dental practice in the form of innovation, the nation’s largest family-owned dental distributor strives to make it simple to stay up to date with the latest equipment and technology.

With a commitment to #drivingdentistryforward, Benco Dental presents the newest and coolest technology doctors need in the form of its #6NeatThings promotion.

Activa Presto by Pulpdent offers nature’s magic within a light cure composite.

A universal, stackable, light cure composite, Activa Presto absorbs stress, resists wear, repels fractures and averts chips. It releases and recharges calcium, phosphate and fluoride, and is indicated for all classes of cavities.

Magic arrives in the form of patented resins and a realistic presentation. Once it’s cured and polished, the composite holds its shape. Mineral enriched and moisture friendly, Activa Presto delivers an ionic release/recharge of what teeth need: calcium, phosphate and fluoride.

Activa Presto by Pulpdent

Benefits from the Activa Presto include:

  • Ease of placement with 1.2mL syringes.
  • Versatility; a universal composite for all classes of cavities.
  • Penetration and integration with tooth structure for margin-free adaptation to teeth.

To learn more about the Activa Presto click here.

Easy Denture offers solutions in just five minutes.

Invented by Dr. Misael Otero with patients in mind, the patented, heat moldable denture can be fitted, and refitted by people at home in just five minutes.
The universal-fit boil-and-bite apparatus is created with a multi-layered design, made from the patented Nuovoflex material. The teeth and gum base layers provide a rigid skeleton – very similar to standard dentures. The upper layer of the denture consists of the Nuovoflex Stretch material, which is similar to soft reline and comprises the soft, moldable part of the denture.

Easy Denture

Benefits of the Easy Denture include:

  • Available in multiple sizes including small/medium, and medium/large.
  • Covered by most insurance companies.
  • Offers a 30-day warranty.
  • Able to be remolded up to 20 times in order to achieve the best fit for each patient.

Easy Denture is only available through Benco. For more information regarding the Easy Denture click here.

The PenBlade by Tidi is the first scalpel to offer safety without compromise at the practice.

A new generation safety scalpel, PenBlade by Tidi is a self-retracting and designed for a doctor’s use. 

Utilizing an ergonomic grip and a high-quality scalpel blade, PenBlade makes precise surgical incisions with minimal effort. The safety mechanism is activated without changing the grip, creating a truly safe solution.

PenBlade by Tidi

The benefits of using the PenBlade include:

  • Self-retracting blade.
  • One-hand activation.
  • A front release button that can be activated without looking, which allows clinicians to maintain focus on the patient.

For more information about the PenBlade click here.

Cut through the latest in high-strength ceramics with the Aeras 500 Elite Handpiece by DentalEZ.

The Aeras 500 Elite Handpiece offers the elegance of air with the authority of electric. Its RFID technology can unlock new options for complete practice interconnectivity.

Add space within your practice by using the Aeras 500 Elite Handpiece for all procedures.

Aeras 500 Elite Hand-piece by DentalEZ

Benefits from using the Aeras 500 Elite Hand-piece include:

  • Modern form that allows patient comfort and posterior access.
  • Maintenance control with in-office turbine replacements.
  • Lube-free technology.
  • Multi-port spray which keeps the bur cool while whisking away debris.

For more information about the Aeras 500 Elite Hand-piece by DentalEZ click here.

Aeras Ramvac by DentalEZ: A compressor that finally communicates with your devices.

DentalEZ’s new Aeras compressor is a connected device that allows complete monitoring of critical parts and systems, as well as remote control of its operation.

The Aeras Ramvac allows you to schedule when your equipment powers off and on, while also sending direct notifications to your device when maintenance is required.

Aeras Ramvac Compressor by DentalEZ

Benefits of using the Aeras Ramvac Compressor include:

  • Dual desiccant dryer technology that prevents the growth of bacteria.
  • A rocking piston design that cuts the ambient compressor noise, while doubling the life of the compression rings.
  • A high- pressure option perfect for practices that run a milling machine.

To learn more about the Aeras Ramvac Compressor by DentalEZ click here.

Floss effortlessly at home or on the go with Jetfloss Go by Benco Brands.

The PRO-SYS JetFloss GO is your solution to flossing, whether at home or while traveling.  This portable, handheld IPX7 waterproof design is equipped with five tips, a USB cord for charging and a convenient travel bag.

The JetFloss Go comes with two jet tips, one orthodontic tip, one periodontal tip, and one tongue cleaner.

The JetFloss Go by Benco Brands

Benefits of the the JetFloss Go include:

  • Three pressure settings.
  • Lithium battery that lasts up to 10-15 days when fully charged.
  • 360-degree tip that allows you to easily clean difficult-to-reach areas.

For more information about the JetFloss Go by Benco Brands click here.

Celebrate a new decade with bright ideas at your practice #6NeatThings

If your New Year’s resolutions include incorporating bright ideas into your practice in 2020, Benco Dental offers more than a few for consideration.
Below, they’ve pared it down to #6NeatThings.

The nation’s largest family-owned dental distributor strives to make it simple to stay up to date with the latest equipment and technology. 

Benco Dental invites you to join in #drivingdentistryforward with the newest and coolest technology. Ready?

So much perfection in one disc.

Created with superb strength, long-term stability, high natural translucency, and excellent aesthetics, the Zir-Perfect CAD/CAM Zirconia Disc from Dental Creations delivers high-quality performance. 

The Zir-Perfect High Translucent CAD/CAM Zirconia Disc.

The Zir-Perfect also offers nine shades to ensure a perfect match for all patients. Count on its three-point flexural strength of 1200 Mpa as well as a natural translucency of 43 percent.

Interested in consistently delivering beautiful, natural-looking restorations with the Zir-Perfect high translucent CAD/CAM Zirconia disc?

Click here to learn more.

What’s new in sterilization? Midmark M11.

Redesigned and ready to deep clean. That’s the Midmark M11 Sterilizer in a nutshell: Safe, reliable and easy to use.

The Midmark M11 Sterilizer.

The Midmark M11 Sterilizer offers several key benefits to keep your dental equipment clean:

  • Steam-flush pressure pulse
  • Pre-programmed cycles 
  • LCD display 

For more information on the Midmark M11 Sterilizer, click here.

Effectively remove cement from tight spots with QwikStrip Serrated and Abrasive Strips. 

Effectively remove cement from in between tight spaces (your patients’ teeth) with the QwikStrip Serrated and Abrasive Strips. Color-coded based on the solution they provide, Creative Dental Concepts’ QuikStrips streamlines your process.

The QwikStrips.

Strips are single-sided, double-sided and curved, to provide an option for every patient’s treatment.

The QwikStrips offer several features to make cement removal and IPR procedures easy and safe to perform: 

  • Autoclavable 
  • Single-hand use 
  • Safety for patients and doctors
  • Depth-limiting design 

Learn more about QwikStrips by clicking here.

Gibson Healthcare provides full line of innovative products engineered for oral surgery

Collagen dental membranes, bone grafts and wound dressings are available with Benco Brands line of Gibson regenerative products.

The Hydrated Gibson Membrane.

The Hydrated Gibson Membrane offers several key features and advantages:

  • Highly purified porcine collagen derived from Achilles Tendon 
  • Predictable in-vivo resorption along with great handling characteristics
  • Ability to suture or use tacks 
  • Moderate drapability 
  • Repositionable 
  • Easy handling – doesn’t stick to instruments 

For more information on the Hydrated Gibson Membrane, click here.

Keep your evacuation systems clean and deodorized.

A concentrated neutral pH evacuation system cleaner from Benco Brands, Z-3 Z-Vac, offers compatibility with all amalgam separators.

The Z-3 Z-Vac from Benco Dental.

Several features set the Z-3 Z-Vac apart from other concentrated evacuation system cleaners:

  • Non-foaming formula
  • Biodegradable cleaner
  • Fresh lemon fragrance 
  • Pre-measured bottle 

To learn more about the Z-3 Z-Vac, click here.

Stop saliva ejector backflow with DOVE® Dental Products.

DOVE® Dental Products offers the only disposable evacuation valve system that quickly replaces the full-metal valve portion on the evacuation line.

The disposable evacuation valve system offered by DOVE® Dental Products.

The valves connect to any U.S. dental chair and offer both long neck, large barb and short neck, large barb.

DOVE® Dental Products also offer a clean valve for every patient, which eliminates extra steps. 

Read more about DOVE® Dental Products here.

Three people holding Throat Scopes and smiling (Jennifer Holland, inventor, stands in the middle), with Edison Award Graphics surrounding them.

Perform dental exams clearly with Edison Award-winning Throat Scope®

The days of traditional oral examinations are over.
Throat Scope®, an innovative probing device manufactured by Holland Healthcare Inc., enables doctors to easily perform intraoral examinations of patients’ mouths.

The unpleasant experience of restraining a toddler, while a doctor used a tongue depressor and flashlight to pry open the young patient’s mouth, gave inventor Jennifer Holland (above, center) her lightbulb moment.

The 2017 Silver Edison Award-winning product provides a light source located inside the mouth to allow medical professionals one free hand to conduct a fast, accurate and pleasant oral examination experience.

The device is completely sterile. Plastic depressors attach to the handle and are disposed after use. The depressors are clear, which allow for light to easily penetrate through the transparent material.

The strong luminescence can help professionals spot abnormalities that may have been missed when using wooden depressors and a dental flashlight during examinations. Light emitted from flashlights do not fully illuminate the mouth like Throat Scope® does.

Don’t just read about it, take a look at Throat Scope® in this video.

Video by Holland Healthcare Inc.

These Throat Scope® features save time and add ease to examinations:

* a handle with three powerful LED lights with an estimated five-year shelf life.
* a handle that can be used under any circumstance to illuminate dark or hard-to-see areas, for instance, during difficult dental procedures.
* less frequently charging than a cell phone, because the environmentally-friendly tool works continuously for 20 hours.

Throat Scope® offers convenience and numerous unique benefits at an affordable cost – driving dentistry forward through innovation. A starter pack is priced under $35 at and includes the Throat Scope®, two blades and 50 single-use depressors.

Speaking of the Edison Awards — Nomination deadline ends today

The deadline to nominate an innovation for the Edison Awards is today. The annual competition, created in 1987, honors excellence in new product and service development, marketing, human-centered design, and innovation. Past winners have included Fortune 500s, small startups, and everything in between — including dental products and services. To nominate a new product that deserves recognition, learn details and submit an entry here.

Need a nudge? Be inspired by dentistry’s past honorees.

Now is the time to submit an innovation, rank among the dental industry’s most esteemed inventors and make a difference. Enter your nomination today.

Have We Become Sweeter Over Time?

sugar_graphThink about this statistic: in 1900, Americans consumed 90 pounds of sugar per year. By 2008, that number had doubled to 180 pounds per year. The US ranks as having the highest average daily sugar consumption per person. What has happened to our eating habits since 1900?

Hop in the Wayback Machine

Did they just not have accessibility to sugar in the old days? No, sugar has always been around, mostly in the form of honey or maple syrup. Ancient peoples in countries in the Middle East also learned to develop it from cane stalks. This process eventually worked its way to the West Indies. By the 18th century, the majority of sugar for export was produced in the Caribbean, to be sent to American and England.

But Didn’t We Make Sugar Here?

Didn’t we have sugar plantations here? Sure, but due to the relatively short growing season in the American south, US sugar consumption has always relied on substantial imports. In the decade preceding the Civil War, sugar cane producers in the South supplied only about 1/3 of America’s consumption and the cost of sugar fluctuated periodically. Producing sugar was a labor-intensive operation.

Victorian-Era-Candy-Making-1More Sugar, Please!

Still, with the majority of sugar production coming from the West Indies, and with cheap labor and improvements in mechanization, the cost of sugar over time during the 19th century became more affordable. This was reflected in the change in American diets by the middle of the 19th century. Americans began eating more jams, candy, cocoa, and other sweetened foods.

confectioneryKids Will Be Kids

People in the 19th century are not that far removed from us, in their likes and dislikes. In 1857, The Ohio Journal of Education, Volume 6, described an “Object Lesson” where the children were invited to list “things to be seen”. The results were listed by the teacher on the blackboard. Among the items listed were different types of foods, like meats, pies, and of course, candy. They were children, after all. This gives us a convenient list of candy that children of the mid-19th century liked. And there were many. Among them:

Pop-corn, peppermint, cream, molasses, rose, nut, clove, butterscotch, sugar plums, lemon drops, French kisses, cinnamon, wintergreen, sour drops, hoarhound, gum drops, lavender…

More candy…

As the century wore on, mechanization of candy production and sugar-making improved and sugar became cheaper and more readily available. This meant more candy and sweet stuff available and being consumed by the public. Sugar and candy were presented as pure and good for you.

Is this healthy?

By the 1970s, high fructose corn syrup was introduced into the US food industry and soon became prevalent in many foods, even those that don’t seem to require sweetener, like salad dressings and frozen pizza. High fructose corn syrup is cheap to produce and mimics sugar in its taste and function. Consumption of fructose has climbed steadily since the 1970s, from 37 grams per day to 62.5 grams per day in the early 2000s. This is the start of the “hidden sugar” in American processed food. But is all this sugar entirely healthy? The messaging the American public has been getting regarding our diet since the 1970s has been that fat is bad and sugar is, if not exactly good for us, certainly not bad for us. But is that entirely true…

Enter a Dental Crusader

It seems the Sugar Research Foundation, the sugar lobby that is extremely active in Washington politics, working on behalf of the sugar industry, “has worked to influence the types of research questions that our federal agencies pursue, withheld important knowledge about how our bodies metabolize sugar and skewed research to exonerate their product.” This from Dr. Cristin Kearns in the summer, 2019 Incisal Edge magazine. Dr. Kearns sees herself as a dentist-turned-journalist/crusader. She is featured in the summer issue of Incisal Edge magazine, produced by Benco Dental, where she explains that she was a dentist and director of a public health clinic in Denver. She is now at USCF, working to uncover the truth about how harmful sugar can be for our teeth and our diet.


Guest blogger Jenn Ochman, Database Publishing Production Specialist in the Branding and Communication Department at Benco Dental, dedicates her time outside work to historical reenactment. She shares knowledge of dental history with readers on a monthly basis.

It’s Thursday and Benco’s got #6NeatThings you should know about

The nation’s largest family-owned dental distributor strives to make it simple to stay up to date with the latest equipment and technology. 

Benco Dental is #drivingdentistryforward with the newest and coolest technology doctors need in the form of its #SixNeatThings promotion.

Minimize waste and optimize price-effectiveness with Ivoclar Vivadent’s Adhese Universal.

Click and Bond! Universal adhesion arrives in an advanced delivery form.

Adhese Universal is a single-component, light-cured universal adhesive for direct and indirect bonding procedures that features compatibility with all etching techniques.

The Adhese Universal from Ivoclar Vivadent.

Adhese Universal is beneficial because it has high-bond strength and virtually no sensitivity. It’s also available in a traditional bottle, as well as a unique VivaPen delivery. 

The VivaPen offers advantages such as: 

  • Fast and convenient direct intra-oral application 
  • Lowest cost per application
    • Offers 190 single-tooth applicators 
  • 67% less material waste, compared to a conventional bottle 

Those interested in the Adhese Universal can read more about it here.

Dress your whole office staff in style with garments from Benco Brands 

Benco offers a variety of different garments to suit every need of your office: 

  • Benco Dental Premium Lab Coats 
  • Benco Dental Lab Coats 
  • ValuLine Lab Jackets 
  • Benco Dental Premium Isolation Gowns 
  • Benco Dental Isolation Gowns 
  • ValuLine Isolation Gowns 

Maxmize your comfort and keep your staff and your patients safe from cross-contamination with any of the garments offered by Benco Dental.

Click here to read more information on the garments. 

Get excellent material quality and outstanding processing characteristics for fast milling and polishing with the VITA SUPRINITY PC zirconia-reinforced block. 

The VITA SUPRINITY PC offers several benefits:

  • Partially crystalized 
  • Offers a fine grain 
  • Has high-accuracy share reproduction 
  • Has the strength of 541 MPa
VITA SUPRINITY PC 3 block options: A1-T, A2-T, A3-T.

The VITA SUPRINITY PC is even designed for minimal wall thickness which means it can be milled with very thin edges all while preventing any chipping.

When dealing with things like posterior and anterior crowns or veneers, don’t settle for anything less than the VITA SUPRINITY PC.

Learn more about the VITA SUPRINITY PC by clicking here

Never deal with accidental spillage again with Vista Dental Products’ Dripless Syringe 

When doing Endo irrigation procedures, protect you and your patients from the risk of bleach stains, damage to skin, eyes and oral mucosa. Costs no more than a standard syringe.

The pre-tipped syringes increase efficiency and lower costs from waste. 

The Dripless Syringe offered by Vista Dental Products.

The Dripless Syringe comes with several benefits: 

  • Reduced risk of bleach stains 
  • Reduced risk of skin irritation 
  • Reduced risk of damage to the eyes and oral mucosa 

The Dripless Syringe comes with 27ga side-vented needles that are tipped with the Appli-Vac Irrigating Tips, all while costing no more than a standard irrigating syringe. 

To learn more about Vista Dental Products’ Dripless Syringe, click here

Help your patients keep periodontal disease at bay with the Perio Restore™ Oral Cleansing Gel.

Fight bacteria in the pocket. Control and reverse early-to-late stages of periodontal disease. Perio Restore provides significant reduction of bacteria

The cleansing gel is a 1.7% hydrogen peroxide formula with mint flavor that helps reduces the effects of the disease when used in conjunction with personalized perio treatment trays between each dental visit. 

The Perio Restore™ Oral Cleansing Gel by DenMat.

The Perio Restore™ Oral Cleansing Gel can be used by a variety of patients: 

  • Those who have inconsistent homecare routines 
  • Those suffering from any stage of gum disease 
  • Those with extensive rotations like crowns, bridges or bonding 
  • Those who are high-risk during advanced medical treatments 

Click here to learn more about the Perio Restore™ Oral Cleansing Gel

The KaVo PROPHYflexTM 4 air polisher makes daily prophylaxis treatments easier, quicker and more thorough.

The KaVo PROPHYflexTM offers a seemless design that allows for disassembly, cleansing, disinfection, and the sterilization of the device to ensure the best possible infection control for patients. 

The KaVo PROPHYflexTM 4 is offered in a variety of colors.

The KaVo PROPHYflexTM 4 also offers several key benefits: 

  • Highly precise powder jet offers less powder mist
  • Narrow canal shape offers improved visibility during supragingival cleaning 
  • 360° rotation grip sleeve offers access to hard-to-reach spots 
  • Adjustable lengths for the handpiece offer the perfect fit for you 

Learn more about the KaVo PROPHYflexTM here

Benco remembers dedication and talent of longtime associates

In 1930 when Ben Cohen set out to establish a business in Pennsylvania, he traveled by train, delivering supplies his dental customers needed to improve the health of their patients. He realized that continued growth of his solo venture depended on enlisting the talents and dedication of others and he selected those trusted few with care.

Joanne Minichowski, wife of the late Tony Minichowski, and Ned Sarf, brother-in-law of Joanne, visit Benco Dental for a September 26 Remembrance Day.

Tony Minichowski, who started at Benco in 1941, was one of them. 

Last week at a Remembrance Day ceremony at Benco’s home office, Larry Cohen, who built the company alongside his father Ben, paid tribute to Tony, and to four other longtime associates who have died.

“Tony began his career making deliveries, working his way up to Branch Manager and later Vice President and General Manager. He was my right- hand man and probably one of the main reasons we survived those tumultuous early years.”

Larry Cohen, Benco Chairman and Chief Customer Advocate

As a young boy on summer breaks from school, Larry visited customers on the road by Ben’s side and learned firsthand the importance of relationships. Larry also worked at the first Benco office, alongside those associates, Tony among them. They delivered a unique customer experience. They established trust — and in many cases lifelong friendships. This was the birth of the Benco Difference.

Last week at a Remembrance Day ceremony at Benco’s home office, Larry Cohen, who built the company alongside his father Ben Cohen, paid tribute to Tony, and to four other longtime associates who have died.

“Tony loved his colleagues and truly enjoyed going to work every day, which was apparent as he did not retire until he was 80,” said Larry, recalling Tony’s 64 years with the company.

Sandy Thiel, Sally Cohen, Larry Cohen and Joanne Minichowski at a September 26 Remembrance Day hosted at Benco Dental. Among associate honored were the late Jim Thiel and Tony Minichowski, who dedicated a combined 94 years to the company.

“I have often said Tony was the best thing my father, Ben, left me and that comment is true today. I am not sure Benco would be where we are today without Tony. He was the key ingredient in Benco’s history and growth; he will be remembered with affection and appreciation.”

Larry Cohen, speaking about 64-year Benco associate Tony Minichowski

A 15-minute conversation led to 32 years of technical mastery

“I hired Jim Thiel within 15 minutes of meeting him and never regretted it,” said Larry, of the late master technician who dedicated 32 years to Benco Dental. 

The late Jim Thiel dedicated 32 years to Benco Dental.

Larry shared the story of the day he interviewed Thiel for a position at Benco and the years that followed.

“A dental assistant for one of our Scranton customers kept telling us we should hire her husband, who was working as a muffler installer. That was Jim. At that time we were expanding into Philly and soon after his training he moved there to become our first technician in that market. He became so popular that we won customers because of his mechanical and technical skills.”

The late Steve Zang joined the Benco family in August, 1987 as a Friendly Benco Rep and shared 30 years of dental industry knowledge in the company’s Ohio Valley region. Steve honorably served in the U.S. Army and Reserves for 27 years, including tours in Vietnam and Desert Storm.

Eric Cooney, Regional Manager describes Steve as “very proud of his family, military service and being part of the Benco Dental sales force…. All of Ohio Valley misses Steve’s quirky sense of humor and warm heart.”

In 2005, Bill Macintosh joined the Benco family as an Equipment Support Technician in the Blue Ridge region. Chuck Puckett, Blue Ridge Equipment Support Manager in the region shared his team’s sentiments about his late colleague:

“Bill was a good friend, an excellent technician and a teammate who you could count on. Always willing to lend a hand, he was also there with a kind word to pick you up when you needed it. He will be missed.”

The late Andrew Fant was a member of the Benco family for more than 10 years. 

“Andrew was a loving stepfather, a musically-gifted pianist and talented woodworker. He was a thoughtful man who always looked out for his team,” said Carolinas region Equipment Support Manager Mike Whitlock.

‘Fall’ing in love with new dental innovations

This cycle of 6 Neat Things in order are, Ivoclar’s Cervitec Plus Varnish, Dental and Surgical Bibs from GantGuard™, the Clorox Versa Sure Wipes, the SciCan G4 Statclave, the Benco Brands VPS Connector and Ribbon Holder and the VOCO Admira Fusion x-tra.

The nation’s largest family-owned dental distributor strives to make it simple to stay up to date with the latest equipment and technology. 

Benco Dental is driving dentistry forward with the newest and coolest technology doctors need in the form of its Six Neat Things promotion.

Protect at-risk, exposed and sensitive tooth surfaces with the Cervitec Plus Varnish from Ivoclar

The proven combination of 1% chlorhexidine and 1% thymol firmly adheres to tooth surfaces, creating a shield of long-lasting protection. 

The Cervitec Plus Varnish from Ivoclar.

The Cervitec Plus Varnish can be used for things such as:

  • Exposed cervical margins 
  • Crowns and bridges 
  • Implants 
  • Orthodontic brackets 
  • Proximal areas 
  • Fissures 
  • Restorations 

Ivoclar’s Cervitec Plus Varnish even offers a transparent varnish. 

For more information on Ivoclar’s Cervitec Plus Varnish, click here.

Keep your patients’ clothing protected with the GantGuard™ Dental and Surgical Bibs.

These bibs remove the cold, uncomfortable alligator bibs used in the past. The GantGuard™ Dental and Surgical Bibs also free up storage by removing the clutter of chains. 

The GantGuard™ Dental and Surgical Bibs.

The GantGuard™ Dental and Surgical Bibs offer several key benefits: 

  • Keeps clothing clean and dry
  • Avoids stains
  • Self-adhesive 
  • Ability to be repositioned 
  • No cross-contamination 

Click here for more information on the GantGuard™ Dental and Surgical Bibs.

Keep all of your office surfaces clean with the Clorox Versa Sure Wipes

These disinfectant wipes are alcohol-free, have low odor and low residue. 

The Clorox Versa Wipes kill bacteria and fungus like MRSA and TB in as little as two minutes. They can also kill viruses like mumps and measles in as little as 30 seconds.

The Clorox VersaSure Wipes.

The wipes can be used on surfaces commonly found in healthcare settings such as: 

  • Common plastics 
  • Stainless steel 
  • Glass 
  • High-end finishes like Corian™ and marble 

For more information about the Clorox Versa Sure Wipes click here.

Sterilize all of your dental equipment with the SciCan G4 Statclave

The sleek design can get equipment from dirty to sterile in as quick as 38 seconds.

The SciCan G4 Statclave connects to smart devices to provide all vital notifications right at your fingertips.

The SciCan G4 Statclave.

The sterilizer offers several features to ensure the cleanliness of your equipment:

  • Fast 
  • Closed-door drying
  • 11-inch chamber capacity 
  • Gentle sterilization 
  • Versatile amount of filling and draining options

Click here to read more about the SciCan G4 Statclave.

Never waste impression material again with the Benco Brands VPS Connector and Ribbon Holder

With the ability to transfer leftover impression material from one cartridge to another.

The VSP Connector and Ribbon Holder from Benco Dental.

The reusable ribbon holders enable a strong connection between cartridges.

Learn more about the Benco Brands VPS Transfer Connector and Ribbon Holder here.

Cure with simplicity and the VOCO Admira Fusion x-tra 

The Admira Fusion x-tra’s omni-chromatic shade means there’s no more guesswork and no more wasted shades.

The Admira Fusion x-tra from VOCO.

The Admira Fusion x-tra offers several key benefits: 

  • Extra low shrinkage 
  • Extra depth of cure 
  • Extra high biocompatibility 

The easy to polish, highly stain resistant restorative offers a high gloss finish.

Click here for more information about the VOCO Admira Fusion x-tra.

For details on any of these products, call 1.800.GOBENCO

MOM Pittsburgh: An oral health three-peat

This year, as of 3 a.m. on Friday, July 26, over 250 people were already lined up outside PPG Paints Arena – the city’s downtown hockey arena. A few hours later at 6 a.m., the 2019 Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh Free Dental Clinic opened its doors to the community.

In the two days that followed, 1,302 patients received hope and healing at the hands of 1,469 care providers. The clinic provides services at no charge to adults and children age 2 and up; there are no income or eligibility requirements. Patients – many from working families – attend because they lack dental insurance or access to dental care.

Photos courtesy TeleTracking

A solution born out of need

The idea for establishing an annual dental care event in Pittsburgh was born out of conversations between Dr. Daniel Pituch; Dr. Richard M. Celko; and Michael Zamagias, chairman and chief executive officer of the Pittsburgh-based healthcare technology company TeleTracking, Inc., who together saw the need in the community to provide this service on an annual basis.

In 2017 it came to fruition in the form of Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh, a free, two-day dental clinic, presented by A Call to Care, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

Photos courtesy TeleTracking

‘No patient is turned away due to lack of capacity’

What keeps it rolling? The entire event is run and staffed by volunteers.

  • 176 Dentists (9 Endodontists, 7 Non-clinical, 11 Pediatric Dentists, 4 Prosthodontists, 4 Radiologists, 73 Restorative, 5 Routing, 46 Surgery, 17 Triage)
  • 90 Hygienists
  • 164 TeleTracking employees

Hear them in action in an NPR report by WESA’s Katie Blackley:

The costs of presenting (PPG Paints Arena rental, materials, dental equipment, supplies, and more) are made possible by the generosity of dedicated partners, sponsors and funders, according to Kayleigh Fontana, Marketing Campaign Manager for TeleTracking.

Dr. Gordon Christiansen, Founder and CEO of Practical Clinical Courses, with Benco Dental’s Jim Stoyanoff, who attended the July event in support. Benco invited two Equipment Support Technicians to donate their time and labor for the entirety of the two-day event. Also the dental distributor donated $5,000 in merchandise discounts and more than 300 volunteer hours by Benco associates.

“The clinic has grown each year, increasing the number of dental chairs (from 50 chairs in 2017 to 100 chairs in 2019) and volunteers each year to meet the need. No patient is turned away due to lack of capacity.”

Kayleigh Fontana, Marketing Campaign Manager for TeleTracking.
One of the Mission Leaders Dr. Daniel Pituch, with a patient at the 2019 event.

How does it make a difference?

By establishing this clinic as an annual event, Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh makes it possible for individuals with limited access to dental care to see a dental professional at least once a year.

Services provided include:
* full dental exam,
* X-rays,
* cleanings,
* minor restorative fillings,
* extractions,
* root canal treatments on select teeth,
* oral hygiene instruction, and
* temporary partial dental appliances

Data gathered from a survey of Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh patients in 2018 revealed that 45 percent of patients who attended the clinic had experienced dental pain for more than a year, and 25 percent reported visiting the emergency department for dental pain.

Research shows that poor oral health has a significant impact on overall health, including premature birth and an increased risk of cancer. The bacteria present in oral infections has been found to contribute to the risk for heart disease and stroke. Studies have found that having damaged, broken or missing teeth impacts an individual’s sense of confidence, well-being, and employability, as well as earning power.

Photos courtesy TeleTracking

Want to participate in 2020?

For news on the 2020 Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh dental clinic, and opportunities to volunteer next year, follow Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh on Facebook at and Twitter @MOM_PGH.

Want to donate or volunteer? Visit: