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GNYDM: Not your grandfather’s dental meeting

Nov. 19, 2013

November 19, 2013

When I asked Robert Edwab,DDS, executive director of the Greater New York Dental Meeting, about trade shows going downhill, he swatted at the air as if the idea were a bug he could shoo away. “Attendance is going down at some meetings, but not ours,” he said cheekily. It sounds like a promotional, advertorial slogan, but Dr. Edwab, perhaps knowing he sounded like a commercial for the GNYDM, backed up his claim with the assertion that the problem, basically, is an unwillingness to change.

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The industry is changing. Technology is changing and becoming more prevalent in dental offices. From CAD/CAM to EHR, technology is here, whether you’re ready or not. It comes at an interesting time; a large percentage of dentists are nearing retirement age, and though they may be hesitant to start changing things now (understandably), their replacements won’t be.

Therefore, meetings need to change.

And why not? Things are just a little bit different than they were 20 years ago. There’s more of an assimilation happening within the industry. That’s what aims to do – bring in the dentist, the office manager, the hygienist, assistant, manufacturer, lab technician, and sales representative. It’s a one-stop shop of information, a collaboration of our many dental magazines and e-newsletters, geared toward professionals and specialists. And it’s what the GNYDM aims to do as well. When Dr. Edwab asserted that it wasn’t “your grandfather’s dental meeting,” he meant that attention has shifted from just the dentist to the dentist and everyone else involved. Because whether you want to admit that it’s a “team” effort to get the patient out the door with a healthy mouth, you do have to admit that to know your business is to know your industry and all of the people within it. That’s why the GNYDM targets not only dentists, but everyone else who works in a dental office, as well as the people who make and sell the products they use.

There are courses for every professional in the industry, as well as targeted courses to female dentists, which feature women united by a common thread: complicated personal lives that fueled successful professional lives.

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Uniting the industry is all well and good, but there’s also the fact that dentists need a reason to come to the meeting. Now that CE is offered online and “at Starbucks,” Dr. Edwab said, “Dentists don’t need to get off their couches to earn credits – so why should they go to shows?”

It’s all about the hands-on experience, Dr. Edwab said. “Dentists like to get involved with the product, touch it, feel it in their hands, see how it works. If you don’t understand what a product does or how to use it, why would you invest in it and bring it into your practice?”

It’s obvious, of course, and yet it’s not being done at every dental show. It’s what the GNYDM prides itself on, and it keeps them not only relevant, but competitive. That, and the fact that they don’t charge registration fees or require that you be a member of their organization before coming – they’re not an organization to begin with, so nobody is excluded.

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Celebrity speaker
The celebrity name at this year’s meeting is Doris Kearns Goodwin, a historian and reporter who specializes in politics and baseball (she was the first woman to enter the Red Sox locker room as a journalist). She has several books on the New York Times best seller list and has won numerous awards. The recent Oscar-winning movie Lincoln was based on her novel Team of Rivals.

2013 and Collaboration
Whether you’ve been to the meeting before or this is your first year, there is much to offer. The program guide is nearly 200 pages long, providing information on everything the meeting has to offer, including demonstrations in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, French, Italian, and possibly other languages. “And that’s not translated,” Dr. Edwab added. “Those clinicians are speaking their native languages!” New this year, the GNYDM offers the chance for dentists and technicians to attend courses together. There are four days of Collaboration at GNYDM from Sunday through Wednesday, and all courses and workshops presented in the program are free. Topics cover every aspect of modern-day dentistry and range from digital dentistry and implants to the dentist-lab relationship and updates on the state of the industry.

Find something new at the meeting this year. With attendance increasing, you’re bound to see new faces. The industry is changing, so why shouldn’t you?

This article originally appeared in the November digital issue of Proofs magazine.

Lauren Burns is the editor of Proofs magazine and the email newsletters RDH Graduate and Proofs. She is currently based out of New York City. Follow her on Twitter: @ellekeid.