Make a dental meeting your next destination

June 1, 2009
I was privileged this year to attend the IDS — the International Dental Show — in March in Cologne, Germany.

Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD

For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: Common Sense Dentistry, IDS, dental meeting, trade show, exhibit floor, PowerLase AT, dental technology, Dr. Louis Malcmacher.

I was privileged this year to attend the IDS — the International Dental Show — in March in Cologne, Germany. This is the biggest dental show in the world with nine floors of dental exhibits representing people and dental companies from all around the world. Because this is the show where hundreds of companies release their latest products, I was able to play with all the latest dental technology. There were literally 300 implant companies exhibiting at the IDS and an almost equal number of in-laboratory CAD/CAM systems on display, most of which were brand new. Dental lasers are also all the rage internationally. The IDS is both an exhausting and exhilarating experience as we can see the future of dentistry right in front of our eyes.

Here are a few of the new things I saw at the IDS —

A new company called Ident has an optical mirror instrument that stays perfectly dry no matter how much water is sprayed on it during a restorative procedure. This instrument is nothing short of amazing.

Lares Research introduced the PowerLase AT hard and soft tissue laser that is a self contained laser operatory. It has both the hard tissue erbium laser so that you can perform your operative dentistry without anesthesia, and an Nd:YAG laser which is excellent for soft tissue applications. Now that many dentists, including me, are more involved in overall facial esthetics, I learned that this PowerLase AT laser has an esthetic facial component that performs laser hair removal and skin resurfacing.

Golden Misch, the makers of the now famous Physics Forceps, has released a set of these forceps for use in pedodontics, both in the U.S. and internationally.

If you have been to the Las Vegas Institute (LVI), you know about a laboratory called Aurum Ceramics, which just released a no-preparation veneer called Cristal Veneers. You can now have LVI-type esthetics with a no-preparation veneer at a very reasonable cost.

Here is what else I learned at the IDS —

Our annual dental meeting exhibit floors are too boring! At IDS, many dental companies have built-in cafes at their booths that serve coffee, tea, soft drinks, fresh fruit, and even hors d'oeuvres. There were even sushi bars set up in a couple of the booths!

At about 5 p.m., the place really starts rocking with live bands in many of the booths, and the drinks become a little more serious than Diet Coke. The reason is that these companies not only want dental professionals to visit their booths, they want them to stay longer so they can talk to them about their latest products.

Here's the point. With nearly every meeting organizer, exhibitor, and dentist complaining that dental tradeshow attendance is declining, we need to look at new opportunities and venues to attract dentists and their teams back to dental meetings by making attendance more of a fun, positive experience rather than an obligation. Let's learn to have fun at our dental meetings again by making the exhibit floors friendlier and more experiential.

An example that has worked well here is the live patient treatment arenas on the exhibit floor of the Greater New York Dental Meeting. I recently spoke at the Sacramento District Dental Society Meeting, which serves lunch to its attendees on the exhibit floor, and even has a mechanical bull-riding machine. The Oregon Dental Association Annual Meeting at which I lectured had buffet tables and free chair massages on the exhibit floor. The exhibits were mobbed and attendance was up!

I know the Chicago Dental Society, Hinman, Yankee, and California Dental Association meetings have developed new ways to engage dentists and make meetings more interesting. Let's learn to have fun at these meetings and make them a destination that dental professionals really want to attend.

The economy will get better. Dentistry, being a recession-resistant industry, has great promise once the economy turns around. Let's all enjoy that promise together and support our dental meetings.

Dr. Louis Malcmacher is a practicing general dentist and international lecturer, author, and dental consultant known for his comprehensive and entertaining style. Contact Dr. Malcmacher at (440) 892-1810 or send an e-mail to [email protected]. For more information on his lecture schedule, audio CDs, to download his resource list, and to sign up for a free monthly e-newsletter, go to www.commonsensedentistry.com

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