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Dentist Health and Wellness Conference participants share their life stories

The Dentist Health and Wellness Conference is not like any other conference dentists attend.

Image: Dr. Rob Lees
All smiles: Dr. Rob Lees shares a laugh at the Dentist Health and Wellness Conference.

It is like other meetings in that dentists pick up informative statistics, learn about topics they may not be familiar with and have the opportunity to network with their colleagues. But the Dentist Health and Wellness Conference is more personal.

Dentists share stories about their lives, their battles with addiction, a loved one’s struggle with drugs or alcohol, back problems and other health issues. With the exception of a keynote address, dentists convene in small group workshops throughout the day, learning about topics they’re interested in.

The conference, which drew 140 dentists, spouses, dental team members, students and other professionals Aug. 18-19 at ADA Headquarters, is dedicated to educating people on professional impairment, general health issues and ergonomics.

Image: Dr. Jamie Manders gets her point across during an interactive session.
Dialogue: Dr. Jamie Manders gets her point across during an interactive session.

Breakout sessions included My Journey from Chronic Pain to Addiction and Into Recovery; How to Reduce and Manage Career Burnout; Loving an Addicted Dentist: Understanding the Family and Loved Ones; Prescription Drug Abuse: The Drug-Seeking Patient; and Ergonomic Considerations for the Successful Dental Practice: Preserving Mind and Body for You, Your Staff and Your Patients.

“The ADA recognizes the single most valuable asset in any dental practice is the people; the people who devote their lives to relieving suffering, preventing disease, educating patients, restoring oral health and maintaining self-esteem,” said Dr. Stephen Glenn, chair of the ADA Council on Dental Practice. “I would guess almost each and every person here is motivated by their love and concern for a dental team member. Some have wrenching personal tales and firsthand knowledge gained at tremendous personal expense. Others have suffered, as witnesses, the tragic decisions made by those we love the most.”