18 April, 2010

dental convention! oh yeah!

i have just spent several* days at a big dental convention in vancouver. this was my first time. in prior years, when i lived far far away, i thought it beyond stupid to pay money to fly to vancouver only to spend precious time inside a convention centre filled with all manner of plastic smiley conventionally dull dental zombies. now that we live but a ferry ride away, i get my fill of vancouver and feel perfectly happy to pop in on occasion for reasons other than plain old fun. of course fun was also on the menu: with every registration package, came four (4!) free drinks!

the convention, for those of you unfamiliar with the world of teeth**, comprised a series of lectures of varying mind-numbing dullness and a large floor show filled with all the glamour and glitz expected of brand new impression materials, latex-free gloves, dental chairs, digital x-ray programs, retirement opportunities featuring golf in various exotic locales, anti-sensitivity toothpaste, investment advice, implant screws and biodegradable flosspiks. yes, very very exciting.

there were people everywhere. people who, with every smile, declared to the world their unwavering allegiance to the world of cosmetic dentistry. scores and scores of girls with perfect glossy hair, giggling maniacally in small groups. besuited company reps exuding professional "friendliness" and a slight whiff of desperation. elderly dentists on the cusp of retirement dragged from booth to booth by their youthful and invariably busty staff. old school chums with receding hairlines revisiting their past alcoholic and sexual glories. serious and passionate dental professionals with incomprehensible political agendas. i could go on, but the list bores me almost as much as the people. the air was periodically rent by the high pitched squeals of girlish delight at the proudly produced obligatory 1 carat engagement rings or poorly lit photos of drooling offspring and what i really really wanted was to get my free wine and get the fuck out.

i attended some* courses and picked up a handful of samples, as well as piles and piles of informative reading material handed to me by the ├╝ber-friendly reps. i hadn't the heart to tell them that i would toss that toothpaste into my travel bag and breathe not a word of its astonishing therapeutic properties, as outlined by the glossy and (i think) excessive brochure, to my patients. it's off to recycling with you, my pretties!

the courses on offer ranged from the practical (fiber post selection and clinical use for restoring endodontically treated teeth***), to the interesting (the nutrition prescription), to the usual greedy business bullshit (leadership challenge: playing your A game). i spent hours i will never get back listening to a dental hygiene forum wherein audience members hopped up on their overinflated sense of self-importance asked the same questions over and over. you care about patients. i get it. you want the government's stance on dental hygiene self regulation to change. i get it. you think our association needs to do more. i get it. now shut the fuck up, so we can have our delicious free lunch, ok? i may have made my peace with my profession, but i will never find it either fascinating or worthy of a more than a tepid emotional response. it's a job, people, get over it.

i went out for lovely boozy dinners with various peoples, i bought myself a pair of swiss army pants (16 different combinations, will take you from the top of mount everest to cocktails with the queen, yo!)(not really), i sat in the sun and looked at dogs, i talked to an old man about politics, i gave myself blisters from cheap socks, and eventually came home earlyish* because i could no longer remain upright and coherent.

glad that's over.

*it was based on the honour system, so i will not tell you how many days i actually attended. i want you to respect me a little bit.

**you lucky, lucky buggers!

***no, i don't really know what it means either. nor do i care.

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