99th Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting gets underway

24 03 2011

With a focus on continuing education for all members of the dental team, the 99th Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting got underway today in Atlanta. The three-day event was expecting 23,00 dental professionals to attend for the opportunity to sit in on hands on courses, lectures and walk the trade show floor, and judging by the first day, the education was the main attraction.

It was standing room only for an early morning presentation from Clinician’s Report founder Dr. Gordon Christensen who covered material choices for a variety of clinical indications. His engaging speaking style kept the crowd engaged, and he picked up quickly with his slides after pausing for questions from the crowd. As always, Dr. Christensen spoke about the importance of looking to the science behind dental materials rather than the marketing when making clinical choices.

“We’ve gone from professionalism to business,” he lamented when noting that many clinicians would prefer to extract a tooth and replace it with an implant rather than promote less invasive options that might save the tooth.

When it came to simple restorations, he recommended 3M ESPE’s Ketac Nano and GC America’s Fuji II LC. Dr. Christensen went on to point out the critical importance of preventive care and an active hygiene department that puts varnish and even at home fluoride treatment to use, and he previewed an ongoing study about remineralization that is still a year away from publication, but is not returning encouraging results. “We’re not finding any remineralization product that works all the way at this point,” he said before saying 3M ESPE’s Clinpro 5000 is working better than the rest thus far.

While lectures such as Dr. Christensen’s gave clinicians a chance to catch up on the latest trends and techniques in the industry, the Hinman meeting also provided a range of hands-on opportunities that allowed attendees to learn the best ways to use various products first hand. Consultant Laci Phillips presented a workshop on practice management software with a room full of computers to give attendees the chance to test out the latest offerings from Carestream, Curve Dental, Dentrix and Eaglesoft. Participants were guided through various regular tasks accomplished with the software while Phillips provided useful tips for getting the most out of the systems. Every so often the participants traded seats, allowing each of them to have some first-hand experience with each of the different systems.

During his presentation on hot topics in dentistry, Dr. Louis Malcmacher shared his views on the advantages of offering esthetic treatments such as botox injections and dermal fillers in dental settings. He presented the techniques for the treatments and explained how in certain situations they can provide both functional and esthetic results. He said dentists are the health care professionals best equipped to provide total facial esthetics because they know the anatomy of the area and are the only clinicians with an understanding of intraoral esthetics.

Many of the presentations covered practice building concepts as well as clinical techniques. An afternoon session led by Scottsdale Center for Dentistry founder Imtiaz Manji focused on how clinicians need to be ready to keep up with the changing way patients communicate. He stressed the importance of staying up with the technology curve and using new technologies and new communication techniques to reach patients. He said patients need to be shown the value of dentistry and the first step to doing that is communicating with them the ways they communicate with each other.

“if we’re going to stay in practice, we’re not going to communicate with our patients via their home phone, it will be their cell phone, and we wont be calling, it will be with texts,” he said.

Manji explained that an online presence is about engaging with patients the way they engage with each other and social media such as Facebook can be a huge practice builder because it allows patients to be the gatekeepers to a practice because their praise in these online social arenas is far more effective than advertising.

Other sessions focused on hot topics in the hygiene and dental assisting worlds, as well as the technologies changing the way dentists practice. Two more days of education and demonstrations are on tap in Atlanta as the 99th Hinman Meeting continues into the weekend.