ODA exhibit hall provides large convention experience with a more personal feel

Jackie Best, Staff Writer

     From toothpaste and loupes to special events and continuing education credits, the 2012 Ohio Dental Association Annual Session exhibit hall is a can’t-miss event.

     “The ODA Annual Session is fabulous. It has all of the manufacturers you would find at a major convention, but in a much more intimate setting, at a less frenzied pace,” said Celeste Sferra, a regional business specialist with Sunstar Americas who serves on the ODA Exhibitor Advisory Committee. Sunstar Americas, a large toothbrush company, will be at the 2012 exhibit hall.

     With more than 200 vendors showcasing a wide variety of products, the ODA Annual Session exhibit hall is the largest in the region.

     Jeff Hughes, owner of Hughes Diversified Dental, said dentist and team member participation is what makes the ODA exhibit hall so strong. Hughes Diversified Dental, an Ohio-based hand piece repair company, will be participating in this year’s exhibit hall.

     “I think the ODA dentists do a great job of visiting the exhibit hall,” Hughes said. “I’ve done smaller shows in neighboring states, and participation with the Ohio doctors (at the ODA Annual Session exhibit hall) is very good, and they should be commended for that. That participation in the exhibit hall is what keeps vendors coming back.”

     Dr. Dale Anne Featheringham, senior exhibits co-chair, said when attendees purchase products at Annual Session, it helps maintain such a strong exhibit hall that supports the Annual Session, which directly supports and helps fund the ODA.

     “If you’re going to buy a product anyway, buy it at the Annual Session to support our vendors,” she said.

     Dr. Featheringham said the exhibit hall also is a great place to catch up with and connect with friends, former classmates and vendors.

     “The layout of the hall is designed to provide spaces to sit down so you can visit with people you don’t normally get to see,” she said.

     The exhibit hall will be open from noon to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15.


     With more than 200 vendors at the exhibit hall, dentists and team members will be able to find everything they need for their dental offices and compare products to find just the right fit. Knowledgeable representatives will be available to answer questions and help attendees find the right product at the best price.

     Dr. Featheringham said attending the exhibit hall is valuable because attendees can see the product, try it out and ask questions of the vendors.

     Another beneficial aspect is that attendees can attend a CE course and learn about a technique and then go straight to the exhibit hall to learn about any products used in the course, she said.

     “That’s a unique experience – to see a solution in a course, and then to go straight to the hall and be able to have that specific product demonstrated,” Dr. Featheringham said.

     Sferra said dentists and dental team members should take advantage of the one-on-one time with sales representatives to get all the information they need about products.

     “We’re all there to help them get as much knowledge as they can possibly get about our products so they’ll hopefully use them,” she said. “I strongly suggest doctors ask questions and interact with the sales reps.”

     Hughes said dentists can get a variety of different information by stopping at a booth like his. For example, dentists who are interested in hand pieces would be able to get information about how to maintain hand pieces, look at options for better lighting, or purchase new or refurbished models.

     Hughes added that dentists might be able to find new products at the exhibit hall that they wouldn’t be exposed to anywhere else, and often they can find lower prices and deals that wouldn’t be available to them at another time.

     Attendees can make the most of their experience in the exhibit hall with a little advanced preparation.

     The vendor list is located under the Annual Session section of www.oda.org, and includes company information and the ability to search by product. Pre-planning a visit to the exhibit hall will help attendees make the most of their experience, Dr. Featheringham said.

     Sferra said dentists and team members can look into what new products and specials will be available before visiting the exhibit hall so they have an idea of where they want to go.

     “Have an idea as to what you’re looking for,” she said. “It’s like any shopping experience; if you go in not knowing what you want, it can be overwhelming.”

     She added that it’s important to bring hygienists to the exhibit hall to look at products as well, especially for the products they will be using most often.

     “For products like mine, hygienists are very important and can have a big part in the decision making process,” she said.

Exhibit Hall Events

     The Annual Session exhibit hall will feature a variety of special events and activities where dentists can relax and have some fun while shopping for products.

     “I strongly suggest doctors and hygienists come and take part in the special events because they provide even more of a relaxed setting and a way to view products,” Sferra said.

     Attendees can kick off the ODA Annual Session at the Welcome Reception in the exhibit hall from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13. Attendees will enjoy free hors d’oeuvres and cash bars. Also during this reception is a special program for dental students, where member dentists will escort students through the exhibit hall to show them the convenience of purchasing products for their future offices at dental trade shows.

     Attendees can Take A Break! in the exhibit hall while enjoying ice cream or freshly baked cookies from 3 to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14.

     Attendees can also stop by and finish up any last minute shopping before Saturday’s football game at the Tailgate! From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, attendees can enjoy popcorn and a free drink while keeping up with the day’s football games. The Buckeyes play at home Sept. 15, and kickoff is at noon.

     Attendees also can enjoy lunch in the exhibit hall throughout Annual Session. Grab lunch at one of the concession stands, which offer choices from full meals to sandwiches and salads and snacks. Dr. Featheringham said the vendors have been encouraged to offer healthier options this year at the request of past attendees. And there’s plenty of comfortable seating to take a break for lunch while in between shopping!

     Also, attendees can stop by the ODA Membership Booth from 5 to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, and 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 to meet with ODA executive staff members.

Door Prizes

     Don’t miss out on your chance to win one of the prizes donated by Philips, the Ohio Dental Association Services Corporation (ODASC) and the ODA. Member dentists and team members who are registered for Annual Session (excluding the Exhibits Only Pass registration) are eligible to win prizes. Entry tickets are automatically printed with name badges, and just need to be dropped off at the ODA membership booth.

     Separate prizes for dentists and dental team members will be drawn Thursday, Sept. 13; Friday, Sept. 14; and Saturday, Sept. 15. Prizes for dentists include: a $500 gift card to Tiffany & Co., a Philips Fidelio Docking Speaker with AirPlay, and an iPad. Prizes for staff include: a Coach Poppy IKAT Pocket Hippy Purse, a sterling silver Tiffany 1837 Toggle Bracelet and a Coach Kristen Leather Domed Satchel.

Table Clinics

     Attendees can stop by the exhibit hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, to earn up to two hours of free CE credits by attending the Table Clinics presented by member dentists, auxiliary staff, dental students and hygiene students.

     These brief, informal, interactive presentations last up to 15 minutes and are given several times throughout the two hours. The topics are designed to promote education and dialogue among colleagues by addressing some of the clinical issues dental professionals face in day-to-day practice. Presenters and viewers alike can earn free CE credits.

     Anyone interested in presenting a Table Clinic should contact the ODA at (800) 282-1526 or denise@oda.org for information.

Saturday Exhibits Only Pass

     New this year, the ODA will offer an Exhibits Only Pass on Saturday, Sept. 15. Any dentist or staff member can register at no cost. This pass allows attendees only to visit the exhibit hall, and does not include any benefits available with other registration categories.

     “If someone already has gotten all of their CE credits, but they really want to go to the exhibit hall, this pass provides an opportunity to do that,” Dr. Featheringham said.

     These registrants may not register for any continuing education courses (free or paid), cannot attend the Table Clinics, cannot win any of the door prizes and cannot receive any CE credits or any other benefits included with other Annual Session registration categories.

     Exhibits Only Passes can be picked up at the registration desk during Saturday exhibit hall hours, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 15.

Information, registration

     Be sure to visit www.oda.org for more information about Annual Session and the exhibit hall, including a full list of exhibitors and booth locations. Also visit www.oda.org to register online or to print out a paper registration form that can be mailed or faxed in. Online registration will be available throughout Annual Session, and attendees can also register on-site.