High heels and pig jaws with some sun, sand, and surf—dentistry at its finest!

Dr. Stacey Simmons, editorial director of Breakthrough Clinical, took her entire dental staff to Hawaii for the ADA Annual Meeting to reset, learn, network, and relax. Her first item on the agenda: crown lengthening on pig jaws. Aren’t these the best kinds of patients? She knows that dentistry is the right profession for her as she shares seven highlights from her trip to the land of sun, sand, and surf.

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Dr. Stacey Simmons, editorial director of Breakthrough Clinical, took her entire staff to Hawaii for the ADA Annual Meeting to reset, learn, network, and relax. Her first item on the agenda: crown lengthening on pig jaws. Aren’t these the best kinds of patients? She knows that dentistry is the right profession for her as she shares seven highlights from her trip to the land of sun, sand, and surf.

Editor's note: This article first appeared in Breakthrough Clinical, the clinical specialties newsletter created just for dentists. Browse our newsletter archives to find out more and subscribe here.


RESET, LEARN, NETWORK, AND RELAX—what better way to reassure yourself that dentistry is the right profession for you? The ADA Annual Meeting in Hawaii did not disappoint, and one of the best parts was that I was able to take my entire staff with me. Yup. My entire dental family was able to soak up some sun and feed their minds as well.

These were the highlights for me...

No. 1...

First item on the agenda: crown lengthening on pig jaws. Aren’t these the best kinds of patients (figure 1)?! While I don’t do crown lengthening in my practice often, it was good to get a refresher on the instruments, how-tos, suture techniques, and postoperative management. My favorite part was sitting next to a girl who went to vet school first and then did a four-year oral surgery residency. She was a wealth of information on the anatomy of the pig jaw and the profession in general. Apparently, her clientele (primarily cats, dogs, and an occasional monkey) also need crown lengthening and bone regeneration, just like people do. All I have to say is this—respect. The profession of dentistry and the talents of those within it extend much farther than we realize.


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Figure 1:
Crown lengthening on pig jaws. Aren't these the best kinds of patients? ;)

No. 2...

I spent some time with our esteemed Dental Economics editor, Dr. Chris Salierno, who was there giving several practice management lectures. It’s always fun to catch up, brainstorm, and discuss what we can do for you to make your dental experiences—both clinical and business—better. These are the times where the magic happens, and I can say there are some great things on deck for DE and the entire fleet of our online newsletters (figure 2).


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Figure 2:
My good friend and colleague, Dental Economics' Chief Editor Chris Salierno, DDS, and me

No. 3...

The refreshers in the clinical courses were, for the most part, excellent. However, if you get up there and lecture for 30 minutes and use that time as a platform to show off your $70K restorative case (because we all get those, right?), not even the strongest mocha is going to keep me awake. The best way to get your point across, plain and simple, is to use quick-fire slides with relevant information—especially when there's a beach not three blocks away.

I did learn quite a few amazing tidbits and tricks, accompanied with solid advice and recommendations that I have already implemented in my practice. My favorite is infiltrating 4% Septocaine (Septodont) 1:100K for all of my lower molar restorations (crowns, fillings, etc.). I’ve not missed a block (duh!), and the local is profound enough for pretty much anything I’m doing (although I will block for extractions). The benefits of doing this? My patients love not being numb on the right half of their jaw. Happy patients = a happy dentist, right?!

No. 4...

Taking my entire staff to the convention was an adventure in and of itself. The planning to move, accommodate, and get everyone registered for classes was a bit of a process, but the key to it all was that we planned ahead—a year-and-a-half—in advance! Investing in my staff members' education, and subsequently the practice, was priceless. Getting dressed up in heels and kicking back for a girl's night out was a fun way to be with my staff, outside of scrubs and safety glasses (figure 3).


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Figure 3:
My staff and me (on the left) on a fun girl's night out without scrubs and safety glasses!

No. 5...

If you don’t get the free tote that is offered when you register, vendors will be less likely to stop and give you all of their goodies. So, depending on what you want to go home with, the bag is definitely optional!

No. 6...

There was a lot to see on the convention center floor: new products, materials, and equipment to make our lives as dentists easier and the experience for our patients better (figure 4). Crest/Oral-B and GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) had the most popular booths, and the lines to see their "shows" were the longest. Good stuff there for sure!


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Figure 4:
On the convention floor where there was lots of good stuff to see

No. 7...

The ADA app was the way to go. Once logged in, everything about your classes, locations, information on the lecturers, etc., was right there at your fingertips. Redeeming the credits was a piece of cake.

After the convention, I spent a week on Maui soaking up more sun than I probably should have. I learned that wave bashing and boogie boarding are not my thing. I’ll stick to my trail shoes, obstacle course racing, and being a dentist (figure 5).


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Figure 5:
Just me and the sea

Now, it’s time to incorporate more of what we learned and finish out the year with a bang. Until next time, Hawaii...

Staceysimmonsdds Small Signature

Stacey L. Simmons, DDS
Editorial Director, Breakthrough Clinical

LAST MONTH >> 'I saw tadpoles on that patient's x-ray'


Editor's note: This article first appeared in Breakthrough Clinical, the clinical specialties newsletter created just for dentists. Browse our newsletter archives to find out more and subscribe here.


Keep reading more articles about clinical dentistry at this link.


Staceylsimmonsdds 124x124Stacey L. Simmons, DDS, is in private practice in Hamilton, Montana. She is a graduate of Marquette University School of Dentistry. Dr. Simmons is a guest lecturer at the University of Montana in the Anatomy and Physiology Department. She is the editorial director of PennWell’s clinical dental specialties newsletter, Breakthrough Clinical,and a contributing author for DentistryIQ, Perio-Implant Advisory, and Dental Economics. Dr. Simmons can be reached at ssimmonsdds@gmail.com.


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