I recently had the pleasure of attending the American Dental Trade Association's annual meeting. During the meeting, one of the talks focused on the generation gap that exists in our society. According to this talk, there are currently four generations in America — Traditionalists (who fought during World War II), the Baby Boomers (who came around after the GIs came home from World War II), Generation Xers (those born between 1964 and 1981), and Millenials (those born between 1982 and today). I'm fortunate enough to have these four generations covered in my family (from my grandma to my 5-year-old daughter), and there are moments when our generations don't exactly see eye to eye. I'm not sure if that's because we're family or because we're from different generations, but I know my view of what the speed limit means is vastly different than my dad's definition. He sees it as an unattainable goal while I join Sammy Hagar in saying I just can't drive 55 (or 65 for that matter).
Anyway, one of the main messages of the talk was the fact that the Baby Boomer generation has really become the focus of marketing campaigns because it is so large. During the Baby Boomer years (1946-1964), 75.8 million Americans were born, the most of any span in U.S. history. Did you know that another Baby Boomer turns 50 every seven seconds? It's pretty amazing, and companies inside and outside of the dental industry have been trying to figure out how to reach this market because of its size and buying power.
OK, so maybe you knew all about about Baby Boomers, but what about the Millenials? That group that ranges from college-age to diapers is just slightly smaller than the Boomers. Did you know that? Did you know there's another market with huge potential out there — one that you should be watching and preparing for their needs as well?
Often times, dental professionals shudder when they think of pediatric dentistry. Dr. Greg Psaltis captures some of those feelings in the first few lines of his article which begins on page 63. However, I think you'll see from the articles in our focus section on pediatric dentistry (which Dr. Psaltis leads off) that reaching out to this Millenial generation can not only be rewarding for you now, but rewarding for you in the future when these kids turn into adults. I invite you to open your eyes to the world of sealants and small patients and think about the impact they could have on your practice.
One of my hobbies is covering high school football and basketball games for the Tulsa World. During the last regular-season football game, I was asked to cover one of the smaller schools in the area. With a lack of seats in the press box, I sat with one of the home team's coaches on the upper level. After he interrogated me to make sure I really wasn't a spy for the other team, the game began.
Early in the game, the home team scored on a long touchdown run and decided to go for two points rather than kick the extra point. The team's star running back had gone to the sideline thinking his team was going to kick. The coach sitting next to me saw this and said calmly into his headset, "Coach, Jeremy isn't in the game." There was no response from the field. He uttered a few curse words as he noticed the coach on the field had taken off his headset. From the press box, the assistant coach began jumping up and down, waving his arms, and screaming, "Jeremy isn't on the field! Jeremy isn't on the field!" Well, Jeremy suddenly realized he should be in there, sprinted to the huddle, and scored on the two-point conversion. I chuckled under my breath as the coach kept muttering to himself.
That encounter made me think of Dr. Kent Smith's article on page 21. Do you need headsets in your office? Contrary to many of the gurus on the dental lecture circuit, Dr. Smith says new types of communication devices in the office may eliminate the morning huddles. I think you'll find this article a good read with some good ideas.
Read on, this is your magazine...
Kevin Henry, Editor