by Joe Blaes
Spring has sprung and so have the dental meetings. I am writing this column from the Admiral’s Club in the Atlanta airport, waiting for a flight to Nashville to attend and speak at the Tennessee state meeting.
In late April, I spoke to the Golden Study Group in Chicago. This is a great continuing-education organization, put together a number of years ago by Dr. Roni Golden. She organizes these one-day courses on the eastern side of the U.S. Go to www.goldenstudygroup.com for all the information on upcoming courses and speakers in your area. For the price, you can’t beat it! You will get great CE plus a great breakfast and lunch!
I began the month of May in Anaheim at the California Dental Association annual spring meeting. This show always delivers a great variety of programming plus wonderful weather ... and the “Mouse” is right across the street. The scientific sessions committee did a great job of providing a number of significant hands-on courses and great lectures for everyone. The exhibit floor was busy with many new and interesting products.
I came back from California and headed for Indianapolis for the second annual Professional Dental Assisting (PDA) meeting, where I gave the keynote address. This event doubled in size this year, both in terms of the number of attendees and exhibitors.
The PDA is sponsored by another PennWell dental magazine, Dental Office™. Kevin Henry is the editor of this fine publication, which features topics pertaining to the entire dental office. The PDA was Kevin’s brainchild. It is patterned after the highly successful PennWell meeting, RDH Under One Roof™.
Like Rodney Dangerfield, many dental assistants “get no respect!” Kevin was determined to change this by holding the first PDA meeting last year in Indianapolis. The assistants responded well, coming from 28 states to attend the great program that Kevin put together. Many of you probably already know that I feel the dental assistant is the most underappreciated member of the dental team. I shudder when I hear dentists refer to them as the “girls.” So, I applaud Kevin’s efforts to help the assistants.
I was honored when Kevin asked me to speak at this year’s PDA meeting. I spent many hours preparing my keynote address because I wanted to tell the assistants about the great contribution they make to the success of any dental practice. I know that a well-trained dental assistant, operating in a well-organized treatment area, can significantly reduce the time necessary to complete any procedure!
To maximize production, the dentist needs to be at the chair cutting on teeth. In my practice, the dental assistants build those important relationships with the patients. I rely on them to answer the patients’ questions, help patients understand their options, and tell patients what a great dentist I am.
The keynote went very well. I was greeted by 350 passionate, enthusiastic, caring, fun-loving dental assistants. I brought a lot of energy to the room as I always try to do in my seminars. But the energy from the audience in that room was overwhelming, and that energized me to give one of the best seminars I have ever given. I was really disappointed to see it end because I had even more to tell them!
I spent the afternoon teaching a hands-on provisional workshop for 40 assistants. They made a posterior single crown, a posterior bridge, an anterior bridge, and veneer provisionals with bisacryl materials. Then I taught them how to use the provisional of the future, the Protemp™ crown from 3M™ ESPE™. This is a great, new product that allows you to make posterior provisionals in less than five minutes! We did all this within two hours, and the assistants really loved the course.
Don’t miss next year’s PDA meeting to be held April 24-26 in Norfolk, Va. I am sure Kevin will have another great program lined up.The middle of May found me in Atlanta at the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s annual meeting. I will fill you in on this exciting meeting next month.