Last week I traveled to Birmingham to attend the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show. This two-day event is one of the largest dental events in the year and encompasses all aspects of dentistry. The event is restricted to those involved in dentistry and is not open to the public. The main focus of the event is the wide variety of exhibitors who filled Hall 5 at the NEC. There were manufacturers of dental products and materials, training companies, dental solution providers, website and SEO developers, legal and financial businesses, trade organisations and many more. In two days it would be impossible to speak to even a small fraction of those present so part of the planning for attending an event such as this is to review the exhibitor list and note those you wish to speak to.

When visiting a show, I like to arrive early when it is still relatively quiet and quickly walk around to get my bearings. It’s easy to get lost in such a large hall and finding stands and lecture theatres can be a bit of a challenge at times. I then plan how I am to spend my day by reviewing which lectures to attend (the programme changes up until the last minute so best left until close to the show). Once these times are fixed in my diary, I use the other times to visit stands, talk to exhibitors and to meet up with colleagues and friends in the profession.

With a focus on orthodontics and patient engagement, it was easy to narrow my search but despite this, it was still a very busy and tiring couple of days. I attended several lectures in the Short Term Ortho Lounge and a couple of interesting presentations in some of the skills development and business theatres. There were a number of orthodontic providers there including Invisalign, Smilelign, Quick Straight Teeth, TePe, and 3M. In addition, there were organisations such as Philips, Oral-B, Colegate, Waterpik, British Orthodontic Society and many others providing products and services relevant to those undertaking orthodontic treatment.

The longest queues at the event were around (literally) the Philips Sonicare stand as they were providing one of the new Sonicare 4300 Protective Clean Professional electric toothbrushes to the first 1000 attendees at their stand. The wait time exceeded an hour at times demonstrating how keen people were to try out their latest product. I’ll be bringing you a review of this brush soon. Invisalign had an impressive stand and were detailing upcoming changes to their Invisalign Go product and their iTero intra-oral scanners, again, more details to follow. I spent time chatting with a UK based manufacturer of aligners and will be sharing some interesting features of their product over the next few days.

Whilst at the show I was able to catch up with a number of people who have supported this blog which is always a highlight for me. A couple of opportunist conversations might lead to some interesting new posts in the future too! So what were the highlights for me this year? Hearing Anna (@LondonHygientist) and Dr. Ben Atkins talk about Behavioural Change and Oral Healthcare was fascinating and demonstrated the enormous challenges faced by dental teams across the country and the huge benefits dentistry can bring. Attending Dr. Milad Shadrooh’s (AKA The Singing Dentist) lecture on Aligner treatment was most entertaining and gave an insight into the orthodontic solutions provided by GDP’s. Discovering that my blog was read and recognised as a valuable resource by so many people was humbling too. I am grateful to all the exhibitors who spent time talking to me about their products and services and to those who have invited me to future events.

Overall, it was an incredible couple of days and I look forward to visiting again next year.