Dental News - ASDA celebrates 38th anniversary

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ASDA celebrates 38th anniversary

Clockwise from top left, Dr. Robert Weller, Lucia Smigel, Dr. Paul Belvedere, Dr. Irwin Smigel and Dr. David L. Hoexter at the ASDA reception at the National Museum of Dentistry, a Smithsonian Affiliate museum. (Photos: Provided by Dr. David L. Hoexter)
David L Hoexter, BA,DMD, FACD, FICD, Editor-in-Chief, Dental Tribune

David L Hoexter, BA,DMD, FACD, FICD, Editor-in-Chief, Dental Tribune

Mon. 15 June 2015


NEW YORK, N.Y., USA: The American Society of Dental Aesthetics (ASDA) met this year in Baltimore for its 38th annual conference. Founded in 1976, the ASDA is considered the nation’s first esthetic dental society. Others followed, but only after ASDA founder Dr. Irwin Smigel courageously bucked the rigid, monolithic dental organizations of the era. He stimulated the public to want more appealing smiles and teeth, and he encouraged dental professionals to meet this challenge.

Companies started producing better and newer products and materials to enable dentists to provide better results. Public awareness and desire also grew, creating a watershed in dental esthetics. One major direction was opened by the public’s growing demand for whiter teeth — and the abundance and variety of products created to address that demand.

Smigel, with Dr. George Friedman, teamed, led and guided the profession, thereby protecting the public and dental professionals from abuse. A plethora of new dental groups were formed to educate the dental field about the ever-expanding numbers of new products and procedures. Still in a leadership role, the ASDA should be recognized for its important and seminal contributions to dental esthetics.

The 2015 meeting had numerous dental standouts. In particular, Dr. Galip Gurel from Turkey gave a meticulous and imaginative presentation on “Today’s Practicalities with Tomorrow’s Possibilities.” Gurel, joined by his towering son (for the record, 6’6”), was honored with New York University’s prestigious Smigel Award for excellence in esthetics. NYU Dean Ken Beechum presented the award.

Drs. Robert Weller and Paul Belvedere were awarded lifetime achievement awards. Also worth noting, Robert Smigel, son of Dr. and Lucia Smigel, orchestrated much of the expansive dinner event. The acclaimed producer, known for his creative work with “Saturday Night Live” and other top television shows, provided top-caliber entertainment and had me and the rest of the gathering in stitches.

Credit for organizing the meeting goes to Drs. Dan Ward, Elliott Mechanic, Freedman and Marvin Fier. Mechanic and Ward raised the bar once again with quality educational offerings. Hands-on courses were plentiful and well attended. Among the commercial booths present, I was happy to see AMERICAS Co. promoting Wolf handpieces once again. These well-balanced handpieces make it a pleasure to practice dentistry.

One of the events of this ASDA meeting was an arranged reception for all attendees and their guests at the National Museum of Dentistry, a Smithsonian Affiliate museum in Baltimore that comprises a building dedicated entirely to dentistry, one entire section of which is for just esthetic dentistry. And at its center is ASDA Founder Smigel, depicted in recordings and movies — with many of his insights on display. It is not to be missed by anyone in the oral health field.

I was there in the beginning, when three pioneering dental leaders decided to initiate and form this first esthetic society. Dr. Stan Behrman brought orthognatic surgery into the fold. Dr. Len Linkow, the pioneer in implants, brought implants. But it was Smigel who pursued and persisted to create what is now known as the esthetic field.

The ASDA is noteworthy for another reason. It not only emphasizes all possibilities of education, techniques and products, but it is also based on the warmth of family members, guiding future growth. This was clearly evident during this year’s awards presentation when, as Smigel and partner/wife Lucia were presenting awards, they were surprised by the appearance of their entire family to help honor them. The couple was surrounded by their son and daughter with their spouses, as well as a sister, nieces, nephews and all of the grandchildren. The special tribute to the Smigels and their central role with the ASDA reconfirmed the society’s comittment to not just esthetic dentistry but fostering an overall atmosphere of professionalism, education and warmth.


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