With the second largest production capacity of artificial teeth in the world, Yamahachi Dental is supplying smiles across continents and isles.
Missing teeth can affect one’s self-confidence to a surprising degree, preventing people from laughing, smiling, or even speaking when they want to. Modern technology has enabled the development of truly accurate replacements, and the world of artificial teeth is being pushed forward by a demand for hardness and stain resistance.
Japanese manufacturer Yamahachi Dental is one of the companies driving this improvement. Since its founding in 1963, the company has focused on creating high-performance but affordable artificial teeth, gaining an international reputation and being named in 2020 as a Global Top 100 Niche Company by METI (Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry). Based in the fishing town of Nishiura, the company’s late founder Kimio Toyama, who sadly passed away in December 2019, built up an expertise in dental material before establishing Yamahachi Dental.
His son, and current company president, Masashi Toyama, explains that the company now has a lineup of around 30 different ranges of artificial teeth. Yamahachi created its own criteria of 45 Vickers hardness for its products, and this allowed it to patent the technology for the world’s hardest artificial teeth with stain resistance. This innovation is a nod to the founder’s principle of even failure being a lesson learned, and this approach saw Yamahachi come up with new technology which involves inserting nanosilica composites into its mixture to create a balance between acrylic and composite materials.
As Mr. Toyama explains: “Currently, we have three types which are pure acrylic (New Ace, etc.), composite (Crown PX, Soluut PX, etc.) and a hybrid form, our NS series. What we want and what we work very hard to achieve is exceptional quality in all our products, from the more expensive lines to the cheaper ones. We don’t believe that by choosing a less expensive product that you should be getting an inferior product.”
The company uses CAD/CAM cutting technology to shape and design its teeth in 3D, and the technology’s adaptability allows Yamahachi’s sales team to work closely with clients to ensure their demands are met. As an SME, the company understands the need for creativity and innovation in its products, and its R&D team constantly works to create and develop new materials with an eye on quality and affordability.
Yamahachi’s high-performance products, which also include CAD/CAM milling materials, dental waxes, separating and cleansing agents, have allowed it to achieve a 30% market share in Japan and a total production of 120 million teeth annually. This impressive production is born from the company’s expansion into China, where it is working to expand across the Asian and Southeast Asian markets. The company is always open to cooperation with both domestic and foreign partners, offering the personal touch of a family company but the international presence of a much larger firm.
Indeed, this feeling of a family company is shown through Yamahachi’s staff, many of whom are local to the town of Nishiura and the surrounding city of Gamagori. The Chinese manufacturing plant was established nearly 30 years ago, followed by numerous local sales offices and now there are a total of almost 400 employees in China. “So we have a lot of people working very hard both in Japan and China on getting the Yamahachi name out there,” adds Mr. Toyama. A focus on quality and affordable products along with an ever growing group of sales staff in China has helped Yamahachi become one of the top artificial teeth brand names in China.
This positive experience has reinforced the company’s desire to expand, as Mr. Toyama reveals: “We have established markets in over 80 countries and it is very satisfying watching these grow. In the future, we will need a new manufacturing plant if the global demand increases and especially if the development in Asia grows rapidly.”
Through this expansion, Yamahachi would seek to become an integral part of a new community, as it has done in Nishiura and Jiangsu through training local staff and working to ensure they become long-term employees.
It is the combination of family-company values and the spirit of innovation that has allowed Yamahachi to become a global leader in the production of strong, stain-resistant artificial teeth, and the company plans to keep its customers smiling for many years to come.