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'JADA Live' debuts in three cities

Oak Brook, Ill.—The Journal of the American Dental Association, which celebrates its 100th birthday next year, has expanded over the years from a print-only publication to a multiplatform learning experience, accessible on your computer or even your smartphone.

Image:  Dr. Edward J. Zuckerberg gives the keynote speech at the JADA Live event in Oak Brook, Ill.
Dr. Edward J. Zuckerberg gives the keynote speech at the JADA Live event in Oak Brook, Ill.

And now comes “JADA Live,” an educational in-person seminar that presents the kind of science-based knowledge and information JADA readers expect.  Three cities—Dallas, Oak Brook, Ill., and Philadelphia—played host to JADA Live, a series of continuing education seminars presenting information on hot topics in dentistry.

“Live meetings and reading journals are the two most preferred learning methods for dentists,” said Michael Springer, managing vice president for publishing at the ADA and publisher of JADA. “With the JADA Live program we are able to offer both in one neat, convenient package.”

The headline for the Oak Brook event, held Sept. 21 at the Chicago Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort, was Dentistry in the Digital Age: Unlock Your Practice Potential. And who better to kick off a technology-filled day than Dr. Edward J. Zuckerberg, a national lecturer on technology, practice marketing and social media for the dental practice? He’s Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s father.

“You know, there was a time when I was just known for me, not just as Mark’s dad,” Dr. Zuckerberg joked to the crowd of more than 150 dentists. “I’ve been on the scene for awhile.”

He discussed the importance of having networked computers in the dental office, a computerized practice management system, a website promoting the practice and an email account. “I don’t care how much of a dinosaur you are, you need these things in your practice,” Dr. Zuckerberg said.

The Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.-based dentist was an early adopter of technology, computerizing his office in 1984, using digital radiographs since 1997 and working paperless since 2005. Despite his familial affiliation with Facebook, Dr. Zuckerberg is a huge advocate for dentists using the social networking website to market their practice.

He provided the audience with a brief tutorial on how to set up a Facebook page and how to create and purchase an ad for a dental practice. Dr. Zuckerberg even gave the crowd an online code that would give them $50 for advertising on Facebook, courtesy of the company.

The digital theme didn’t stop with Dr. Zuckerberg’s keynote address. Each of the breakout sessions offered attendees information on how to digitize their practice and insight into digital radiography and cone beam 3-D.

Image:  Full house: More than 150 people attended the JADA Live seminar in Oak Brook, Ill., on Sept. 21.
Full house: More than 150 people attended the JADA Live seminar in Oak Brook, Ill., on Sept. 21.
Dr. John B. Ludlow, who will join the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs in November, is a professor in the radiology section of the Department of Diagnostic Sciences and General Dentistry at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry. Dr. Ludlow led a breakout session in which he discussed his role as a consultant on the August JADA article presenting an ADA report with recommendations for the safe use of cone-beam computed tomography in dental practice. This imaging method provides three-dimensional detail of oral and maxillofacial structures, which can help clinicians provide improved treatment and lead to better patient outcomes.

The council is in the process of revising its selection criteria guidelines for using radiographs. The ADA has stated that dentists should apply the ALARA principle (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) to reduce radiation exposure to their patients by determining the need for and type of radiographs to take; using best practices during imaging, including the application of quality control procedures; and interpreting the images completely and accurately.

Dr. Ludlow re-emphasized the ADA position and the importance of balancing the risk of the exam versus the benefit of conducting it. He said it’s also important for dentists to reassure patients by providing perspective on the amount of radiation they will be exposed to. He noted that many patients equate radiation exposure to disasters such as the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan last year, when in reality the amount is microscopic. “You can help patients by being well-informed,” Dr. Ludlow said.

Being well-informed is not only an asset for communicating with your patients but for determining how to incorporate technology into your dental practice, according to Dr. Lou Shuman, president of Pride Institute, a practice management consulting firm. Dr. Shuman presented Making Every Technology Purchase Count during a breakout session and outlined what he believes dentists should do before moving in one technological direction or the other.

The most important thing is for the dentist to act as the leader of his or her practice and be the authority on where the office will go in the technological sphere.

“You establish the culture and you are the coach,” Dr. Shuman said. “If you have the right culture, it’s amazing what you can do.”

Dr. Shuman showed an example of a calculator that determines return on investment in any particular technology. It quantifies the purchase and shows how and when dentists  might see a financial return on their initial investment.

Dentists who attended the JADA Live events were eligible to receive up to seven hours of continuing education credit. 

“We’re delighted to be able to engage with JADA’s readers in a live format and to bring them information that is timely and relevant to their practices,” Mr. Springer said.