CDA Presents Chair Reflects on the Show and the Profession

Dentistry Today


The California Dental Association (CDA) has wrapped another edition of CDA Presents, held May 12 to May 14 in Anaheim. Its officers were upbeat about the show’s success too, with 6,300 exhibitors and more than 200 sessions serving up techniques and technologies to 27,000 attendees including 6,700 dentists from across the Golden State and the nation.

“The show is outstanding. It’s going well. Registration is up this year. The classrooms are full, and we’re ready to put on a good show,” said Gary Ackerman, DDS, chair of CDA Presents, before the conference opened on Thursday morning.

More than 130 speakers came to the Anaheim Convention Center to instruct dentists, hygienists, and other personnel on a host of issues, including clinical techniques, cutting-edge equipment, practice management, current legislation, and more. Getting top talent to speak at the show is a priority for the CDA, too.

“We always have great speakers at CDA. They’re brought to California from all around the country and all around the world,” said Ackerman. “We go out and scout them and invite them and bring them into our meeting.”

The show’s organizers also sought the participation of the next generation of practitioners. All 6 of the state’s dental schools were represented, with students competing in a table clinic presentation. Plus, the CDA recommended a series of specific clinical and practice management sessions for dentists new to the profession.

“This year we’re trying to focus more on a pathway to success for the new dentist. We’re also reaching out to the dental students and trying to involve them in our program,” Ackerman said. “We have many dental students who are auditing some of our workshops. We have some dental students that are room-hosting for us.”

The CDA also was pleased to offer an unusual session open to all attendees. Presented by Henry A. Gremillion, DDS, and M. Franklin Dolwick, DMD, PhD, “Anatomy of the Masticatory System: Clinical Application and Dissection” gave participants a chance to sharpen their blade skills and learn more about the body.

“We have a cadaver workshop. We’re actually doing dissections of the temporomandibular joint and the head and neck anatomy—actual cadavers and cadaver heads, and attendees will be able to dissect and work on them,” said Ackerman. “That’s pretty unique to us this year.”

Back on the show floor, corporate giants and scrappy startups alike among the 575 companies on hand showcased their latest gear. Many booths gave attendees the opportunity to get their own hands on these new tools and give them a try. And Ackerman wasn’t shy about what he was looking forward to seeing.

“We’re always excited to see the new CAD/CAM technology,” he said. “With the new CAD/CAMs that are coming out, you have the ability to use impressions without having to use actual impression material. You’re able to just CAD/CAM that. It’s very exciting.”

Also on the cutting edge, the Academy of Laser Dentistry presented a 2-day proficiency program. Attendees who completed it then could get certification through an online course. Topics included the different kinds of lasers available for dental use, contact and noncontact delivery systems, and soft and hard tissue procedures.

Beyond the show, the organization also is involved in community outreach through its CDA Cares program. Each of its clinics provides free dental services including extractions, fillings, cleanings, education, and assistance in finding ongoing dental treatment to the 10 million Californians who face barriers to dental care.

“We were just in Ventura and we saw 1,800 people in 2 days,” Ackerman said, referencing an event where 1,394 volunteers performed 11,583 procedures worth about $1.5 million. “CDA Cares then goes to Stockton in the fall. Then it’s San Mateo and back to Bakersfield. That’s our reach-out program.”

The CDA has its eyes on the profession as a whole, too.

“The business of dentistry always presents challenges because you have changes in the insurance industry. You have changes economically. You have changes in the workforce,” Ackerman said. “Students are coming out of school with high debt ratios and trying to find a way to pay that back.”

Fortunately, Ackerman notes, CDA Presents offers all dental professionals the tools and education they need to navigate these often murky waters.

“The CDA is, in my opinion, the premier dental meeting in the nation,” he said. “I would like to invite everyone to be a part of it and part of the CDA. I think we have many, many things to offer.”

Related Articles

Video: Gary Ackerman, DDS, Chair of CDA Presents

Dentists Gather in Anaheim for CDA Presents

CDA Presents: Live Blog