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More than 50 years ago, eight dentists formed a study group to discuss creating a body that would organize general dentistry. At the core of their efforts was the desire to hold the profession accountable for a high level of quality. Therefore, the principles behind the organization were rooted in education. They agreed upon continuing education requirements so that the profession could stay on top of the latest procedures and trends. Thus, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) was created in 1952.
Now more than ever, continuing education is a responsibility we cannot ignore. Technology is evolving. Communication vehicles and media are developing faster than most of us can keep up with. New research and procedures in dentistry are being created as we speak. In short, the dental profession is changing every day, and we need to stay abreast of those changes not only for ourselves, but also for our patients.
I'm proud to say that the AGD community of general dentists doesn't take this responsibility lightly. More and more members are taking the time to distinguish themselves in the dental profession by applying for Fellowship (FAGD) and Mastership (MAGD) in the AGD. In fact, at our Annual Meeting and Exhibits in San Diego, Calif., last June, we assembled the largest class of new Fellows and Masters that we have had in 10 years.
Our goal for the annual meeting is not only to recognize dentists who have achieved FAGD and MAGD, but also to provide a place where general dentists and their teams can learn about new products and services that can advance the quality of patient care and make their business management more efficient. Our meeting keeps growing because it's recognized as one of the industry's best opportunities to earn CE. From hands-on classes to free lectures, dentists can earn up to 36 hours of CE credits in just five days.
The most exciting part about these courses is that the attendees learn cutting-edge techniques from world-renowned speakers. To give you an idea of the types of courses offered, I'd like to share three topics that will be available at this year's AGD Annual Meeting and Exhibits July 16-20 in Orlando, Fla.
Sleep apnea and snoring
Dennis R. Bailey, DDS, FAGD, will acquaint practicing dentists with sleep disorders, with the primary focus on sleep apnea and snoring. Participants will be able to screen patients who may be at risk for sleep apnea and be able to determine what steps to take if a patient appears to have the disorder.
Participants will also learn how to recognize the risk factors, both by history and from clinical evaluation; how to best interface with medical colleagues; how to read and interpret a sleep study; and how to determine the appropriate oral appliance for the patient, fabricate it, and adjust or modify it for optimum benefit.
Dr. Bailey has more than 25 years' experience in TMD, orofacial pain, and orthodontics, with more than 20 years' in the use of oral appliances to manage snoring and sleep apnea. He is an instructor at the University of Colorado Denver School of Dental Medicine.
Bruce W. Small, DMD, MAGD, will present an all-day, hands-on course to help attendees learn or improve their clinical skills with composites and ceramics. Using typodonts and electric handpieces, participants will learn many types of preparations and how to place different restorative materials.
New polishing systems will be introduced, as will other materials that facilitate the clinical placement and increase the longevity of esthetic restorations. Attendees will learn all of the new materials and methods and discuss their limitations and clinical applications. Dr. Small will provide many practical tips that will save attendees time and money and allow them to deliver better dentistry.
With over 35 years' experience, Dr. Small practices general dentistry in Lawrenceville, N.J., and is an associate professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He is also the founder and president of The Institute of New Techniques in Dentistry, a fully accredited learning institution for graduate dentists and dental assistants.
Mike Malone, DDS, FAGD, John F. Weston, DDS, and Martin H. Zase, DMD, MAGD, will host a panel discussion on cosmetic dentistry that will focus on tooth whitening, anterior direct restorations, and porcelain veneers. Attendees will then be able to ask questions on all aspects of cosmetic dentistry.
Drs. Zase and Malone are past presidents of the AACD, and Dr. Weston is a current member of the AACD Board of Directors. All three are members of the Board of Accreditation Examiners, are widely published, and lecture internationally on cosmetic dentistry.
Bring your team
The AGD principles of lifelong learning don't end with general dentists. We understand that a dentist's staff needs the opportunity for continuing education as well so that the team can provide quality patient and customer care. That's why we offer free registration for dental team members who attend with a dentist who is registered for the full meeting, in courses that are geared toward them and their needs.
Continue the tradition
As we celebrate 56 years as an organization, I ask you to continue the tradition of lifelong learning that those eight dentists started in 1952. Join us in Orlando from July 16 to 20 for five days of education, networking, and fun. With more than 30 hands-on courses, over half of the scientific sessions free with meeting registration, and an exhibit hall with the latest products and technology, we hope to provide the most up-to-date, practical continuing dental education for you to be able to apply the day you return to your office. I look forward to seeing you there.
Vincent “Vinny” Mayher, Jr., DMD, MAGD, is the president of the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Mayher has served as the national trustee from Region 4, the 2004-05 chair of the AGD's Budget and Finance Committee, Region 4 regional director, and chair of the Regional Directors. He also served six years on the AGD's Council on Legislative and Governmental Affairs. He is a past president of the New Jersey AGD and of his ADA constituent, the Southern Dental Society of New Jersey. Dr. Mayher practices general dentistry in Haddonfield, N.J. Prior to that, he served a tour of duty as a United States Naval Dental Officer.