Power to the people

Dec. 1, 2009
I have been privileged over the years to speak often for the Academy of General Dentistry, both at its annual session and for many of its constituent groups.

by Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD

For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: Academy of General Dentistry, American Dental Association, core values, continuing education, advocacy, Dr. Louis Malcmacher.

I have been privileged over the years to speak often for the Academy of General Dentistry, both at its annual session and for many of its constituent groups. We are very lucky to be represented by two crucial organizations — the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).

The ADA broadly represents dentistry in the United States, which includes general dentists and specialists, as well as forges relationships with others involved in the dental industry. The ADA is politically involved and represents dentistry’s interests on a local, state, and national level.

The AGD’s mission is to represent general dentists and their ability to treat patients on a broad scale. Here is its mission as posted on its Web site: “The AGD’s mission is to serve the needs and represent the interests of general dentists, to promote the oral health of the public, and to foster continued proficiency of general dentists through quality continuing dental education in order to better serve the public.”

The core values of the AGD are:

  • Excellence in oral health care
  • Diversity
  • Universal acceptance of the general dentist as a gatekeeper of oral health care
  • Continuous, life–long learning
  • Advocacy and representation
  • Teamwork, camaraderie, and mentorship
  • Ethical, honest, and credible behavior

The AGD has an unbelievably strong educational component, and many dentists join the AGD to attain fellowship and mastership status through literally hundreds of continuing education hours through both lecture and participation courses.

There’s no question in my mind, as I lecture to thousands of dental professionals every year, that the most successful dentists are those who believe in continuing education and come out to learn about new products, techniques, technology, and ways to improve their patients’ health and make their practice of dentistry faster, easier, and better.

With that introduction, I was honored to speak at the annual sessions of the Texas AGD and the Alabama AGD. One of the wonderful things about the AGD is how its national leadership reaches out to every single member. At the Alabama AGD annual meeting — a four–day event — Dr. Paula Jones, immediate past president of the AGD, talked to constituent members.

Dr. Tim Brooks, president of the Alabama AGD, and his great team — including my host, Dr. Hunter Pope — put on an exceptional meeting with an exhibit room full of manufacturers. The room looked like some state dental meetings at which I have spoken. You know these dentists are dedicated to continuing education when they sit in a lecture hall in a hotel right on the beach on a beautiful September day in Destin, Fla.

At the Texas AGD meeting, Dr. Chris Perry — who chaired this year’s Lone Star Dental Conference with executive director Connie Sonnier — did an exceptional job of putting together a terrific meeting. There are dentists from across Texas who come to this meeting annually for continuing education, exhibits, and an incredible banquet to celebrate the past year and look forward to and plan for the upcoming year.

At this Texas meeting, I met with Dr. David Halpern, the current AGD national president. David gave an impassioned talk about what the academy means to the rights of general dentists to perform the procedures in which they are trained. He also spoke of some of his interesting experiences representing AGD members in Congress, and what advocacy means to dentistry. We need strong advocates on Capitol Hill, and we are lucky as a profession to have people like Dr. Halpern and the members of the AGD advocacy committee.

The camaraderie at both of these meetings for AGD dentists should set an example for dentistry. These are shining examples of dentists who want to help others become better at what they do, either by example or personal mentoring. There is power in numbers. If you are not a member of the AGD and the ADA, join today!

Dr. Louis Malcmacher is a practicing general dentist and internationally known lecturer, author, and dental consultant known for his comprehensive and entertaining style. An evaluator for CLINICIANS REPORT, Dr. Malcmacher is a consultant to the Council on Dental Practice of the ADA. Contact him at (440) 892–1810 or by e–mail at [email protected]. His Web site is www.commonsensedentistry.com, where you can sign up for a free monthly e–newsletter.

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