Year 2023 marks 50 years of LM-Dental™. We are excited to celebrate a half-century of leadership in the design, development and manufacture of dental instruments. Since the establishment of the company in 1973, we’ve been creating innovative, ergonomic and convenient dental instruments, available anywhere in the world and designed and manufactured according to Nordic standards of quality and excellence. We plan to build on that legacy for many years to come. Let’s have a look at what the past 50 years have brought and take a glimpse at where we intend to go from here.
“At that time, thin instruments made of steel were used, which were difficult to grip firmly. It was challenging to pick out the right instrument as the markings on the shiny handle were hard to distinguish. Also, improving the sharpness of cutting instruments as well as their ability to preserve a sharp edge was necessary. All in all, there were clear flaws in the ergonomics of the instruments.”– Pekka Kangasniemi
From a small shop in Parainen, Finland, to a part of a global market leader
The company was founded in 1973 by Pekka Kangasniemi and Antti Yli-Urpo, two dentists driven by a shared desire to improve the quality of dental instruments.
Ever since they first met each other in the 1960s at the Faculty of Dentistry, Kangasniemi and Yli-Urpo would often discuss the shortcomings of available dental care tools and methods.
These conversations sparked a mutual spirit of creativity and inventiveness in both men. Over time, they became increasingly eager to take concrete steps to improve the situation by developing new types of dental instruments together. The driving force was a strong desire to bring modern solutions to the market for use by professionals.
When they started the company, LM-Dental™ was just a small shop based in Parainen, a town located in southwestern Finland. Over the years, the business developed from a small dental instruments shop into a high-tech pioneer in instrument ergonomics that utilizes robotics to develop and produce the most advanced dental instruments in the market.
Innovations that stand out and overcome challenges
Since the beginning, an innovative attitude towards ergonomics has been the guiding light of LM-Dental™’s product development.
LM-Dental™ produced the first dental instrument with an oversized handle in 1974. This was followed by the first color-coded handles for easy identification in 1980, setting the standard for the entire market.
The company’s ability to innovate and overcome challenges is exceptional in a highly regulated field. 1986–88 marks a turning point, where LM-Dental™ was able to turn the new regulation – mechanical instrument cleaning – to its advantage. As a result, an innovative silicone-handled instrument was introduced, followed by new improvements over the coming years.
In 1987 LM-Dental™ was a pioneer in its field
in introducing and developing robotic technology. The tailored self-programmed robots revolutionized production with LM-Dental™. Today, a considerable amount of production is automated with hi-tech robots. This combination of cutting-edge production technology with handmade craftsmanship guarantees the best possible product quality.
“Although we operate in a strictly regulated industry with certain limitations, we have always succeeded in reforming and innovating our business. Cooperation, diligence, and reliability are in our DNA.”
– Sanna, employee
In the late 1990s, there was a change in the company’s ownership. LM-Dental™ became part of Planmeca Group. As one of the largest companies in the field, Planmeca has provided LM-Dental™ with credibility, continuity, and technological competence. They have also encouraged LM-Dental™ to develop its processes and functions to reach the professional level the company stands for today.
Moving into the new century, LM-Dental™ continued its active product development.
In 2004, LM-Dental™ introduced the LM-Activator™, an anatomically designed activator and aligner for early orthodontic treatment. By now, the LM-Activator™ has been used by more than 1 million children worldwide.
In 2005, the Ultrasonic scaler handpiece with LM-ErgoGrip™ silicone cover – the first ultrasonic scaler handpiece with a built-in LED light, was released. Following from there, the first air polisher handpiece with a built-in LED light came out in 2008. 2015 saw the birth of LM DTS™, the first tracking system for dental products, and LM-Activator™ 2,a new generation of LM-Activator™.
Solid growth with the support of partners
LM-Dental™ would not be the forerunner that it is today without great partners.
For many years, LM-Dental™ has had a strong partnership with a variety of clinicians in the dental industry. This collaboration has not only led to inspire new products but also to their development and success. One notable example of a successful partnership is with StyleItaliano, a group of Italian dentists known for their expertise in aesthetic dental care. In 2011, LM-Dental™ and StyleItaliano introduced the LM-Arte™ – a set of innovative instruments for aesthetic restorations. Additionally, clinicians also actively participated in the sales and marketing of LM-Dental™ products by providing training and education on various treatment cases and techniques. The close collaboration with clinicians has been and will continue to be a key factor in LM-Dental™’s success.
Clinicians have also been actively involved in the product development of the LM-Activator™. In 2021, long-term cooperation with clinician and key opinion leader Gioacchino Pellegrino resulted in a successful online course of LM-Activator™ – consisting of online lectures and exercises on an eLearning platform, participated so far by hundreds of professionals around the world.
LM-Dental™ has a loyal and professional dealer network. They take care of the entire end-customer process: marketing, sales, customer deliveries, after-sales and support. Many have really put their heart into the co-operation and, over the years, have become closer to friends rather than just business associates.
“LM-Dental™ is by far our favored partner – efficient, easy to work with and has excellent products, of course.”
“Very satisfied with LM-Dental™’s Sales Support. Everybody in the chain of support is and has been very supportive.”
Today LM-Dental™ is a true global player
As well as today, LM-Dental™ intends to be the forerunner of dental hand instruments in the future. The aim has always been to make dental care safe, efficient, and as pleasant as can be. It does not matter whether you are a dentistry professional, a student, or a patient – we have taken your needs to heart. Our high-tech robotic production technology combined with Nordic craftsmanship and our dedication to manufacturing excellence ensures that all our products are precise, reliable, and safe.
We are proud of being a global player in dental instrument design and manufacturing. We have produced more than 10 million hand instruments over the years, all of which were designed and manufactured here in Finland. 90% of our products are exported to other countries, meaning that our instruments are used by dental professionals all over the world. In fact, we have approximately 130 distributors in more than 90 countries!
“We work with a high work ethic and hands-on attitude. Although we are already fairly big, we still appear a small, likeable company. Customers want us to succeed.”
– Mika, employee
We have more than 100 employees here at LM-Dental™, and the Planmeca Group – of which we are a part – has more than 4500.
As we continue to grow, we will maintain the focus on innovation, continuous improvement, and high manufacturing standards that have been the basis of our success since 1973.