Hands-on beginning to Zahn Expo 2010

22 10 2010

The hallways seemed quiet as the 19th annual Zahn Expo got underway Friday morning at the Marriott in Santa Clara, Calif., but the calm exterior was really covering a deep focus as attendees took part in a range of intimate hands-on sessions that provided the chance to put the latest materials, technologies and techniques to work.

A Day In the Life of a Digital Crown

Students work on digital designs while learning about the DDX digital file communication system during the Day in the Life of a Digital Crown course at the Zahn Expo 2010

While half-day and full-day sessions with notable educators covering a wide range of benchtop skills were available, the real highlight of the opening day was a session simply titled “The Life of a Digital Crown” which put attendees in front of a computer and set them to work from the very start of a digital CAD/CAM workflow. The session gave them the chance to try out equipment and systems including 3M ESPE’s Lava C.O.S. digital impression system, Dental Wings scanners and software, the envisionTEC HD DDP 3D printer, Wieland’s ZENOTEC T1 milling unit and E4D Technologies’ D4D milling unit .

During the course attendees also were introduced to the DDX platform for online communication between dentists and dental labs that is available as a stand alone web application, currently integrated into software from Dental Wings and soon to be a part of the next update to the Dentrix practice management software platform.

When learning about output options for digital cases, attendees heard about the ability to do more than just produce CAD/CAM copings and crowns. Systems such as the envisionTEC printer can be used to produce resin models, shapes for casting and soon will be capable of printing surgical guides, bite guards and eventually new glass ceramic composites that can be used for long-term provisionals. By the end of the day-long session, attendees had a good picture of Zahn’s various CAD/CAM workflows available today, and new features soon to arrive.

Other hands-on sessions provided opportunities to try ceramic systems from GC America and Pentron Ceramics, as well as courses on techniques and materials key to improved results with removable prosthetics. PFM sessions were presented in the afternoon, giving attendees the chance to learn about the latest techniques for achieving highly esthetic results when layering porcelain on top of metal copings.

After the day’s education came to a close, the exhibit hall became the main attraction with Zahn’s latest lab offerings on display alongside a range of materials, tools, supplies and furnishings from more than two dozen companies. Among the product launches was a novel approach to adding characterization to milled restorations from newly launched Hilla. The company’s Porcelain Appliqué adds instant detail to the edges of milled crowns by applying specially printed porcelain decals to the milled restorations to produce highly detailed results.

Day two of the event moves from hands-on to a lecture-based educational format with an early keynote on marketing digital laboratories from Dr. Mark Murphy. Check back tomorrow for a run down on the day’s events.

Office Manager of the Year Announced

22 10 2010

Melissa Meredith of Central Arkansas Dental Associates is 2010’s Office Manager of the Year.

Last year’s winner, Kay Valentine of Indy Smiles Family Dentistry, announced this year’s winner during lunch Friday afternoon.

“This is a great honor,” Meredith said as she accepted her award and thanked the doctors and owners of her practice for nominating her and for sending her to this weekend’s conference. “I have worked very hard.”

This is the sixth time the AADOM has given this award to an office manager. Meredith received a $1,000 check courtesy of CareCredit as well as a life-time membership in AADOM.

The dentist/office manager relationship

22 10 2010

 Though they may not always say it, the dentists you work with do appreciate what you do.

During the lunch break Friday afternoon, Chicago dentist Dr. William Simon talked about all the important things his office manager, Adriana Manning, has done for his practice over the years and how vital she’s been in the practice’s success. He also took the time to give attendees advice on how they can build stronger relationships with their dentists and see even more success in their offices.

 “If I could sum up in one sentence what an office manager means to me, I would say my office manager improves my quality of life,” he said.  “As the Mastercard ads go, that’s priceless.”

Dentistry has evolved into a more complex business over the years, he said, and office managers have become an essential part of making a practice successful.  Knowing this, there are plenty of ways to improve the relationship between office manager and dentist.  Communication is critical, and goals should be set for the doctor, the office manager and the practice. The office manager and the doctor should know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Let the doctor know what you’re doing every day and make sure you understand your doctor’s definition of success and that it’s something you can get excited about.

 At the end of the talk, Dr. Simon read a letter that he wrote to nominate Manning for AADOM’s annual Office Manager of the Year award. He talked about all she’s done for his practice over the years, from helping him modernize his office to helping him rebuild twice—once  after a fire and once after a sudden notice to vacate. The letter nominating Manning, who was chosen as one of DPR’s Top 25 Women in Dentistry, shows how much dentists notice and appreciate what their office managers do.

AADOM meeting kicks off in Vegas

22 10 2010

A little singing. A little dancing. A lot of education and networking.

The sixth annual American Association of Dental Office Managers conference kicked off Friday morning with music and dancing to get this year’s attendees energized for the weekend’s meeting. During the welcome session President Heather Colicchio and VP of Business Development Lorie Streeter took the time to introduce all of this year’s speakers and exhibitors, who waved, danced and high fived their way to the main stage.

This year’s meeting features about 40 exhibitors, including Patterson Dental, Henry Schein, Jameson Management, Miles and Associates, Dental Health News, Smile Reminder and 1-800 Dentist. During their weekend in Las Vegas, attendees have the chance for some one-on-one time with manufacturers to learn more about products they may want to bring to their practice.

After the morning dance party and time to visit with exhibitors, conference goers had the chance to take in a variety of courses, including Fred Joyal’s “The Practice Promise: How to Create your Brand; Larry Wintersteen’s “All Stressed Up and No Place to Go; and Judy Kay Mausolf’s “Conflict, Gossip and Tension Resolution for the Dental Office.”