A laudable focus on quality by 3M

In the August issue, I wrote an editorial about being im-pressed by the attention given by many dental manufacturers to quality control. In order to raise awareness about quality management and recognize U.S. companies that have a world-class system for managing their operations and people to satisfy their customers, Congress established the Bald-rige Award to recognize quality.

Dec 1st, 1997

Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor

e-mail: joeb@pennwell.com

In the August issue, I wrote an editorial about being im-pressed by the attention given by many dental manufacturers to quality control. In order to raise awareness about quality management and recognize U.S. companies that have a world-class system for managing their operations and people to satisfy their customers, Congress established the Bald-rige Award to recognize quality.

Congratulations are in order for the 3M Dental Products Division. They have been named the recipient of the 1997 Malcolm

Baldrige National Quality Award. This is an outstanding recognition for the Dental Products Division because it represents a tremendous commitment on the part of all of their employees. The award recognizes the contributions of 3M employees and their dedication to providing quality dental products to the dental profession.

Winning this award is not an overnight thing, but a process that has spanned several years. 3M Dental is the first division within 3M and only the second health care company to receive the Baldrige Award. This underscores the 3M commitment to improving patients` oral health care. Congratulations to all the employees of 3M Dental for achieving one of the highest standards in quality management.

I feel that it is important to remember the role of the dental products and services people who exhibit at the dental meetings that we attend. I am sure that most dentists would be amazed at the dollars spent by exhibitors

When we attend dental meetings, it is important to realize that exhibitors have made a significant financial commitment to attend the meeting. Exhibitor dollars help to financially support our meetings in a major way. All they ask in return is that we (dentists and staff) come to the exhibit floor and spend some time learning about the products and services they have to offer. So the next meeting you attend, budget some of your time to visit the exhibitors - you will probably learn something new and exciting!

If you are considering a major dental meeting this spring, keep in mind that the 1998 Hinman Dental Meeting is moving to a brand new location - one that is large enough to house all courses and exhibits in one place. Dr. Pete Jensen has put together an exciting program of speakers that will make a difference in the way we practice dentistry.

Add to this participation courses, an office tour, technology seminars, beautiful spring weather and that famous Hinman southern hospitality, and you have plenty of reasons to go to Atlanta on March 12-15. So mark your calendars now and plan to make the most of the meeting by taking your staff too.

I urge you all to read Dr. Lawrence Meskin`s editorial in the August issue of JADA titled, "Do It Or Lose It." Every practicing dentist needs to read this editorial because it speaks to the terrible job we are doing screening patients for oral cancer. The oral cancer death rate exceeds that of cervical cancer or malignant melanoma, but our patients do not know that. Because I have been doing oral cancer exams routinely in my office for years, I thought that all dentists did the same. If that`s not the case, it should be - for obvious reasons.

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