Dental Tribune USA

Dental industry going strong, even in challenging times

By Fred Michmershuizen, DTA
March 16, 2009

CHICAGO, IL, USA: The United States economy may be in the grips of a recession, but you would not know that judging by business activity at dental events held so far this year. Take the recent Chicago Midwinter Meeting, for example, where the aisles were just about as crowded as they have ever been.

While organizers of the Chicago Dental Society’s annual dental conference and tradeshow, held 26 February to 1 March, acknowledged that attendance was down slightly from 2008, they also said that 82 per cent of exhibitors reported generating new business at the show
. Total attendance for the meeting was 31,333, representing a 9 per cent drop over the 2008 figures, which were an all-time high in the meeting’s 144-year history.

Organizers of the Chicago Midwinter Meeting said that nearly one-quarter of the conference’s 240-plus courses were sold out, and the vast majority of courses were near capacity. 

The exhibit floor, which showcased 570 companies, was completely sold out months in advance.

“I think we all went into this meeting holding our breath a little, but the feedback from exhibitors and the number of sold-out courses reveal just how strong our meeting is,” said Dr David Kumamoto, president of the Chicago Dental Society, in a press release after the show.

Those interviewed by Dental Tribune during the meeting said that while many of their patients are struggling financially, those who can afford treatment are getting it done.

“Some of my patients are losing their third-party coverage and discretionary dollars for cosmetic procedures are slowing down, but on the flip side people who can afford procedures are doing it now,” said Dr Howard S. Glazer, who has a practice in Fort Lee, NJ, USA.

Dr Mark Hochman, a periodontist and orthodontist based in New York, NY, USA, said that while many people are concerned about their own economic challenges, they still value the treatment and services that dentists provide.

“We have to be sensitive to the economic climate we are in and provide a higher level of care,” Hochman said. “We are entering a golden age of technology for dentistry that is going to empower dentists to maintain thriving practices in this economic environment.”

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