Corporate Profile: Centrix by Chelsea Knorr, Associate Editor, Dentaltown Magazine

by Chelsea Knorr, Associate Editor
Dentaltown Magazine

The idea for Centrix was born in a basement in 1968 when Dr. William B. Dragan began tinkering with dental products. Determined to make the composite process easier, he sought out ways for more efficient application and easier cleanup. Other dentists thought this was a great idea, and the company quickly grew. Now, the company lives and breathes the model "Making Dentistry Easier" and designs all of its products with that single goal in mind.

Here we speak with three executives from Centrix - Dr. William B. Dragan, CEO and Founder; William P. Dragan, President; and John Discko, Executive Vice President - to hear about the origin of Centrix and what exactly makes the company tick.

Can you give us a little history about Centrix? When did the company start?
John Discko: Dr. William B. Dragan was a practicing Connecticut dentist who wanted to make placement of composite materials better and easier. The very first product that launched the company was the C-R syringe system in 1970, called Mark I.

The company first sold its products through the sales forces of the Clev- Dent division of Cavitron and the consumables division of Den-Tal-Ez. Around 1980, Centrix emerged with its own sales force and dealer distribution network.

William P. Dragan: Centrix is headquartered in Shelton, Connecticut, with additional sales offices in Cologne, Germany and Bucharest, Romania. We also have established product distribution centers in Canada, Australia and Germany to best serve our customers.

How did Centrix get its name?
Dr. William B. Dragan: Many people have asked about the origin of the company name. Dentistry has always recognized that the beginning of all jaw movement begins from a position of the jaw known as the centric relation. This being a new and start-up venture, I took the word Centric, changed the last letter from "c" to "x" and created Centrix.

What are your responsibilities at the company?
WBD: I started Centrix in my basement. I am the founder and CEO.

WPD: I hold the position of president of the company.

JD: I started working at Centrix back in 1975 as its first fulltime employee. I am Executive VP now, though my responsibilities have covered everything from sales and management to product development, trade names and advertising throughout my tenure here. Many of the products in our line are my patented inventions.

How has the company expanded?
WPD: From the initial product line, we expanded to develop many innovative dental material delivery devices. We started with the first single-use composite capsule, the first prefilled composite capsule and the first composite applicator gun. We expanded to include disposable dental brushes and the first cordless gingival retraction system. We’ve developed materials to optimize the work in our delivery systems while continuing to develop universal systems that will work with all manufacturers’ materials.

JD: Over the years, Centrix has continued to grow by expanding its product line and continuing to improve upon existing concepts. Through all these years there have been many changes, improvements and challenges that have helped Centrix to grow while always keeping an eye on the quality of the product and simplicity
of use.

What are the business philosophy and core values of Centrix?
WBD: "Making Dentistry Easier" is our mission. We try to look at dentistry from a dentist’s standpoint and constantly seek suggestions from working dentists as to what they need to make their practices better.

WPD: By interacting with our dental advisors and customers, we identify what procedures or processes in the dental practice are difficult and then look for ways to make those simpler for the dentist and better for the patient. "Making Dentistry Easier," however, is not easy. For every new product we introduce, at least 20 end up in the trash bin.

How would you explain the company to a dentist you were meeting for the first time?
JD: We’re a company looking to find simple answers and improve dental materials and devices to make dentistry faster and easier without compromising quality.

WPD: And I’d add, everything we do is centered on the dentist and the patient.

Tell us about the corporate culture at Centrix.
WPD: We have a laid-back, relaxed culture that welcomes innovation and new ideas while maintaining a healthy competitiveness to continue to grow our markets.

JD: Centrix is privately owned and family run with more than 100 full- and part-time employees. We’re large enough to have resources to get things done and small enough to do them without too much bureaucracy.

What sets Centrix apart from the competition?
JD: Our product line addresses both the general dentist as well as the specialist.

WPD: Some companies concentrate on numbers and statistics but we know it comes down to what works in any particular doctor’s hands, so we design our products with that in mind.

What sort of involvement do dentists have in the research and development of your products? How can a dentist get in on the ground level in product R&D?
WPD: The practicing dentist is a key component of our R&D process. We have more than 200 dentists who we call on for insight into needs, idea generation, prototype evaluation, product testing and market testing.

JD: Many of our ideas come from meeting and listening to dentists at trade shows, as well as visits to working dental offices. We love hearing new and exciting ideas. We are always seeking to find dentists who are willing to test product ideas and give their honest, unbiased opinions.

What is Centrix best known for in dentistry?
JD: Likely our first product, the composite injection syringe. Also our trend-setting products like the Benda Brush and our Lollipack single-dose packaging.

WBD: Our innovative, disposable products that help prevent cross contamination.

WPD: We are the original developer of single-dose composite applications. Centrix is a company that creates practical innovation that improves and simplifies many dental procedures.

What can customers expect when they purchase a Centrix product?
JD: Customers can expect quality and innovation that will perform as promised.

WBD: Customers can expect an honest answer. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll tell them or we will research and get back to them.

WPD: Customers can expect complete satisfaction. The product will perform as expected and we have the guarantee to back it up. If a customer is ever less than satisfied with a product, it can be returned for a full refund at any time. We’re that confident that doctors will be happy with our products.

What about when customers call with a question, concern or feedback?
JD: Our representatives are trained to find an answer and reply as soon as possible. Customer feedback is recorded and discussed at weekly product meetings that include both marketing and production personnel.

WPD: It sounds cliché, but at Centrix, the customer is always right. When customers call they will get prompt, courteous services. And if a customer is ever less than satisfied, they are welcome to call my direct line: 203-567-7428.

How has Dentaltown impacted the business of Centrix?
WBD: I wish there was a Dentaltown when I was practicing. There is so much more open communication within the profession today, and a willingness to share knowledge. This sharing has been good for the profession and for the individual dentist.

WPD: Dentaltown has been a source of ideas, a source of doctors who provide valuable feedback, and a vehicle we use to gauge doctor’s knowledge, familiarity and opinions about our company and products.

JD: It has opened an entirely new line of communication between the company and its existing and potential customers.

What are you most proud of at Centrix?
WBD: The dedicated people who have helped the company grow to what we have today.

WPD: We’ve grown from a basement to an international company that supports more than 100 employees who work to improve the dental experience for doctors and patients worldwide.

JD: I’m proud of the growth, image and acceptance of the company by the dental profession. There are things that have taken years to achieve.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had working with dentists?
WBD: Hearing our products have made practicing
dentistry easier.

WPD: It’s always exciting to work with doctors who are passionate about a product idea, and to successfully bring that idea from concept to finished product.

JD: The wealth of new ideas and the willingness to explore new ways to do dentistry.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had working with dentists?
WBD: Hearing our products have made practicing dentistry easier.

WPD: It’s always exciting to work with doctors who are passionate about a product idea, and to successfully bring that idea from concept to finished product. JD: The wealth of new ideas and the willingness to explore new ways to
do dentistry.

What can the dental profession expect to see from Centrix in the next five years?
JD: New materials and concepts that deliver comfort and efficiency to patients, which will help build practices into the future.

WBD: More products to make dentistry easier.

For information about Centrix, visit or call 800-235-5862.


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