Money Well Spent… In Las Vegas?

This month I went to Las Vegas for the American Dental Association’s Annual Session.  The Annual Session rotates host cities.  Some cities I pass on, others I hate to miss.  Las Vegas is one I love to attend.  However, it wasn’t gambling sprees or late night clubbing this time around.  Over 3 days I took 6 classes and spent several hours on the exhibit floor.  I thought I’d use this month’s blog to share some of what I learned and saw.

My classes offered some review and some new, helpful information.
I won’t bore you with too many details, but I will share an overview of
each course and pass on any tips that might be useful to everyone.  My first class dealt with pharmacology.  It was a review and update on drug
interactions and some new choices when dealing with fungus, virus, infection or pain.  The best tidbit for my readers would be not to use 2 kinds of NSAIDs (ibuprofen) at the same time unless you enjoy having gas.  For those of you with artificial joints, there should be a new pre-medication guideline coming out in 2012.

Class number two was also about pharmacology, but dealt more with oral lesions like herpetic infections, oral ulcers, oral yeast infections and dry mouth.  If you get recurrent herpetic sores, one of the best things you can do is ice the area when you feel an outbreak coming on.   Ice on and off for 90 minutes and many out breaks can be reduced or eliminated.

My third class covered crowns, veneers and bonding of these restorations.  It was a nice update on new products, but nothing of interest to the average patient. 

My last three classes were all tied together.  They dealt with:

  1. 1.  TMJ (jaw joint) pain and dysfunction.
  2. 2. Bite problems, tooth wear and the use of bite splints.
  3. 3. Sleeping disorders that involve breathing problems. 

At our office we have talked to many of you about wear on your teeth, grinding at night and jaw joint or face muscle pain.  All of these things may be tied together by several factors including poor bite, stress, jaw alignment and even inadequate airway space during sleep.  This is a huge topic and I will cover it in more depth in next month’s blog. 

In between and after classes I toured an expansive exhibit floor featuring
hundreds of vendors.  I learned of new products, tested new technology and practiced new techniques.  I purchased several items which will make
your next dental visit more enjoyable.  One such product is the DentalVibe.  This unique instrument uses what is termed “VibraPulse Technology” to block the discomfort of dental injections.  This devise promises to make your next visit a truly painless one. 

Another purchase that will be extremely helpful is the Spectra.  Spectra uses high-energy blue light to detect cavities in seemingly healthy teeth.
Our current technology (the Diagnodent) gives a numerical value to areas of decay.  Spectra goes beyond that and gives a visual, color image of tooth
breakdown and allows us to store those images for comparison from one visit to the next.  In conjunction with our new Cavity Prevention Program we will now be able to track the levels of decay in your teeth and record areas where
re-mineralization of enamel has occurred.

I also invested in an on-line service which will allow us to track current drug compatibility, interaction and dosage information.  We will be able to use this service chair-side to insure your safety when taking multiple drugs that may interact. 

I was a good shopper and purchased some supplies at reduced prices.
I got some ideas for better ways to treat certain challenging situations
in day-to-day dentistry. I networked with vendors, educators, colleagues and
friends.  So, you can see how a trip to Las Vegas can be successful without winning a jack-pot and how one can spend money in Vegas and have it be a good thing.

Thanks for reading.

Dr Bruce