Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Welcome to the ADA – The Overlords of Dentistry

So instead of working in the labs, all of us summer research students took a ‘field trip’ to the national ADA headquarters which is conveniently located in Chicago – a mere 20 minute CTA/walking transit. The visit involved a tour of their laboratories as well as presentations. We learned about evidence based dentistry as well as the health screening program. Notice how everything oral related has that little ADA seal of approval? Well, they are apparently phasing that out by the end of the year and placing a new Professional Product Review approval instead. The lab work will still take place as it has for decades, but now the ADA is incorporating more practicing dentists into their reviews. Instead of meeting ‘minimum standards’ everything will be graded based on ‘how excellent’ it is rather than ‘good enough.’

However, the best part of this trip was the actual experience of walking into this building. It reminded me of the headquarters of some evil mastermind from a Bond movie. We were herded into a MASSIVE conference room that was the ritziest looking conference room I have ever laid eyes on. The desk was a giant and U-shaped. If you looked at the face of the desk across from your spot, there were giant flat screen TV’s every 15 feet. These were used to display presentations and insure we all could see. There were also microphones at every spot, and little electronic pads used to in voting and having ‘the floor.’ Hell, even the clicker used to move to the next slide looked like it cost a couple hundred bucks. I couldn’t help but wonder if there were secret trap doors under the chairs ala Austin Powers that could dump naysayers into an incinerator… it would not have really surprised me.

I also regret signing the ‘consent to photography’ form during our first week of research. The faculty at UIC are like paparazzi – taking shots left and right. A few more would have sent me into a seizure. But hey, check out the next ADA quarterly or JADA issue. You may just see a bunch of awkward dental students standing in a giant conference room trying to look important.

Following the tour, we were treated to free lunch at Gino’s – apparently the birthplace of pizza in Chicago. I would have liked it a lot more if every pizza wasn’t smothered in mushrooms. I just can’t stand to eat fungus…or is it fungi?

And what would a trip to the ADA headquarters be without FREE STUFF? Yes I was treated to a bag with two different brands of toothpaste, some Listerine (cool mint of course), a fancy pen, toothbrush, and most importantly, denture ointment.

Ah, I love freebies.