A Student’s Perspective on the 2012 New Dentist Conference

Alex Sadak is a third year dental student at SUNY Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine.  He is actively involved in the American Student Dental Association and recently won their award for Legislative Liaison of the Year.

This year’s New Dentist Conference kicked off in our nation’s capital with a brief introduction to the event and a bit of history. The conference is neatly designed to provide great networking opportunities, continued education courses, social events, motivational speakers, and most importantly to hear what new dentists all over the country are going through! A “new dentist” is someone who has been out of dental school for no more than 10 years. The conference has a reputation of the “most motivational dental meeting of the year” for new dentists..

Some of the dental students, recent graduates, and ADA leaders from the New York delegation mingle and talk politics at a reception.

Friday’s agenda was divided in a few different tracks, to allow the attendees to pick a topic that appealed to them most. The topics included those in politics, hot topics in dentistry, doctor/patient communications, and training in parliamentary procedures. The day wrapped up with productive idea exchanges, and a round of questions by attendees to the panel of ADA’s district trustees, as well as the President and President-elect of the ADA. It was one of the most amazing things to see how passionate the new dentists were about the future of their careers, licensure, the alternate workforce, finances, and more. Many shared each others’ problems, but some had very unique problems like licensure for international students, membership recruitment at local dental societies, and communicating with various cultural dental associations. Whatever the case, the dentists were very pro-active, engaged, and not afraid to come up to the microphone and challenge the speakers.

Let’s not forget that dentists have a reputation of studying hard and partying harder! Friday’s agenda finished off with a reception at the hotel with refreshments and savory hors d’oeuvres (the raw tuna with asian pear was my favorite). This was a great opportunity to speak with new dentists and understand what recent dental school grads go through in their first years out, the challenges they face and how they overcome them. The night didn’t end there – our ADA New Dentist District 2 leaders (including Vice Chair Chris Salierno) took us out to a dinner at a local hot spot, where the night really kicked off (come to the next conference to find out more for yourself!).

Saturday’s agenda was structured around continued education (CE) courses divided between Management of Perio Patient, Practice Management, and Employee Embezzlement and Fraud. I went to the perio presentation delivered by the past president of American Academy of Periodontology, which was by far the best lecture/presentation I have ever been to. Dr. Samuel Low is a note worthy lecturer to see if you ever get a chance (hint: Furcations Furcations Furcations!). Sunday’s CE courses included Aesthetic and Restorative dentistry, practice management, patient interactions, and implants.

As a student you get a perspective of what happens once you graduate, what to look forward to, and what challenges lie ahead. At the same time you get to meet so many successful new dentist who are passionate about the profession. I wish more students have the chance to attend next year – this is one you don’t want to miss!

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