The Dentistry Show

I realise that it has come and gone by just over a week but I thought I would keep my powder dry on my thoughts on the Dentistry Show for a while.

Having made the gradual transition from delegate to provider (if that word hasn’t been devalued by the 2006 NHS contract) I see things from a different perspective. So my visit is for two days and I talk to people on stands for different reasons.

The general impression was that the show has definitely come of age and compares well with both Dental Showcase and the BDA Conference. It is different from each of these but they could both learn a good deal from the Show. The BDA conference reflects the Association itself, poorly led, not sure exactly where it’s going or what its membership really wants. The Dentistry Show by comparison feels younger, more vibrant and more in touch with what the majority of dentists are doing or at least trying to do in their practices every day.

One huge improvement was the lecture theatres, far more professionally arranged – well done. My concerns are still that business calls the shots, so many of the speakers were sponsored by certain companies and therefore tended to speak favourably about their sponsors. You may say it’s the way of the world, but I wouldn’t be comfortable if at a medical conference a speaker was bigging up an antibiotic because they were being paid to do so.

On the technology front I was fascinated to see the revolution that digital impressions and 3-D printers are bringing to dental laboratories and their products.

It’s hard to remember the world without STO (Short Term Orthodontics). I encourage my clients to cautiously embrace the benefits that these can bring for their patients. I also have to remind myself that just because someone has thrown millions of $/£/€ at marketing doesn’t mean that osteoclasts and osteoblasts have changed their behaviour and that relapse, occlusion and perio are still big factors leading to disappointed patients.

One of the highlights was sitting and palying with the products from Welltime. I was particularly impressed with Patient Connections a system providing the ability to automate your patient feedback system. Easy Dental Referrals is an elegant way for dentists who take referrals to help their referring dentists and to keep them informed of treatment plans and progress. Finally, I loved their TrueNorth Dental Dashboard system which helps practices to monitor the performance of their businesses; this is currently being beta-tested, watch this space.

It seems that the divisions in dentistry are continuing to grow. On the one hand there are those who are very optimistic about their future. They are the ones who continue to embrace change by incorporating different skill sets into their practices by delegating as much as they can. They take their dental businesses seriously, learning from the best within dentistry and observing what makes for excellence in other spheres. They invest in themselves and their teams, many bringing team members to the NEC for the experience and two days of CPD.

On the other are those who seem to believe that in spite of many disappointments over the years the next new NHS contract, in no matter which part of the UK they reside, will bring them hope. They know there’s going to be no more money, no change in control and no more freedom to practice the dentistry to which they should aspire. Some were there only to tick CPD boxes and perhaps to be one of the ones have made the decision to jump, and the talk on the Plan Provider stands was of increasing numbers of NHS practice owners saying, “enough, how do I get out of this system?”.

One of the highlights for me was being able to take part in Practice Plan / The Business of Dentistry’s re-make of the Peter Kay, Children in Need video of Tony Christie’s hit “Show me the way to Amarillo”. This time led by Les Jones in the Peter Kay role we were fund raising for Bridge2Aid. With Jem Patel in autocratic director mode the participants did as much as they could to show their skills at walking and lip-synching around the aisles of the hall. Watch this space.

The other Bridge2Aid awareness raiser was “a sea of pink” where loads of companies had their own logos added to the charity’s distinctive pink shirts. Saturday will never be the same again.

I have only skimmed the surface of this I realise but The Dentistry Show has come a long way from Jonny Rees’s dream with one theatre and a dozen stands less than a decade ago. Well done & here’s to 2015.


Published by Alun Rees

Dental Business Coach. Analyst. Troubleshooter. Consultant. Writer. Presenter. Broadcaster.

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