The AADA Conference was a great opportunity for me to dive into the dental world. Since my husband, Nick, is a first year dental student, all of the dental world is new to me, and I was excited to meet so many others who were so friendly and willing to share their take on the dental profession! First, the Welcome Event Dinner was a fun chance for me to meet other student spouses and talk with them about their situations. I enjoyed seeing the dental influence across the U.S. as we got to hear each state’s attendees tell us about how life was elevated in their state. This opened my eyes to how universal the need for dentistry is, and it help calm a few of the nerves that I have in regards to the fact that my husband and I don’t quite yet know where we want to end up once out of dental school. Later that evening, I was overwhelmed by the literally breath-taking experience of listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearsal; I love music and that is one of my passions (outside of supporting my husband in dentistry, of course), so I was touched that we got to hear such talent and be so close up for a great rehearsal. Finally, that Thursday evening we had a late night dessert, and it was a neat environment to have some more relaxed conversations with various others; whether it was hearing from a retired Naval dentist about how to reach into the community and promote whole-body wellness, or hearing from younger dental spouses about the funny stories that happened to their families while in dental school, I certainly enjoyed the evening. After meeting and talking with so many nice and helpful individuals the first day, I couldn’t wait to come back for more the following days!
Friday’s breakfast was one of my personal favorite events, mainly because it focused on dental health education. Health education is my chosen field of study, and in my every-day life of motherhood, I don’t often get a chance to participate in this passion. The puppet show and dental education stations that were put on for the school children were a real treat, and I loved being able to jump in at one of the stations and help with the clean up and set-up between rotations of students. The AUDA luncheon was a great opportunity to bring my husband along, and we both enjoyed meeting and talking with even more faces that were new to us. Making those connections is key for our networking in the future, and we appreciated the ease with which we were able to meet various dentists from across the nation at this event.
Saturday’s events started with a bang with the ADPAC breakfast. Though the ADPAC is not necessarily my vein of interest within the AADA, I did enjoy the speakers and what they had to say about the importance of legislation and having a voice for our dental community. The Rocky Mountain Strings also did an excellent job with their musical presentation; so many talented violinists! Next, the break out class was a fun chance to hear from our student spouse liaison, Susanne Espinosa. This event helped me most to feel an understanding about what exactly the AADA is, as well as got me excited to help promote the AADA to other student spouses in our class. I wrote many notes about fun ideas to “market” the group to other spouses, and I also took quite a few notes about things to talk with my husband about — Do I want to be an office manager for him? Will he join the ADA? How can we better share with your classmates and their spouses about the AADA and how great it is?, etc. We even had a good chance to talk after the class with the ADA representative and that seemed to be helpful (though I admit, some of that life insurance talk was still a bit fuzzy to me!). Saturday evening’s auction and gala dinner was such a fun way to wrap up the weekend! I was blown away by the kindness of many donors who gifted my husband and I raffle tickets, and I was pleased to feel I could introduce my husband to many who seemed dear to me after only a few days of knowing them. We felt we could not only relax and enjoy a good meal and fun dancing, but that we could also openly ask questions and get advice from the many dental professionals in the room. We loved the chance to network again, and to think more about what we want out of our future career. Overall, the AADA Conference really was a chance for me to feel “elevated” by all that I learned; the personal connections, the answered questions, and the thoughts to ponder about our future really did help me feel like I have a better grip on starting out on our dental future. Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend!