10 Questions: Dr. Michael Stablein 2010 president of the Chicago Dental Society

March 21, 2012

01 As president of the Chicago Dental Society, you get to put your mark on the respected  Midwinter Meeting. What is one new thing you are proud to offer at the meeting this month? The program closest to my heart is our health screening. Attendees can check their risk for diabetes and heart disease in a private area of our exhibit floor and at a deep discount.

01 As president of the Chicago Dental Society, you get to put your mark on the respected  Midwinter Meeting. What is one new thing you are proud to offer at the meeting this month?

The program closest to my heart is our health screening. Attendees can check their risk for diabetes and heart disease in a private area of our exhibit floor and at a deep discount.

02 In terms of continuing education, is there any course or speaker that you are particularly excited about for this year’s meeting?

There’s something for everyone at our meeting, so it’s tough to single out one course. But Friday’s panel discussion on controversies in dentistry will definitely be a spirited one!

03 What do you hope attendees take away from the meeting?

I hope our attendees leave with a renewed enthusiasm for the profession and with knowledge about the newest products and techniques. If you can master one new skill during a course at our meeting, think of the impact that will have on patient care.

04 I know another big change this year is that the meeting is going from four days to three. What were your reasons for the change? 

We wanted to be responsive to the budgets of our attendees-exhibitor and dental professional alike. Plus, we’re now able to coordinate the start of courses with our exhibit floor.

05 It’s impressive to see a dental association modeling budget conscious decision making. What advice would you offer dentists in private practice trying to do the same?

My advice is be very judicious in staffing. Salaries are a big expense and ideally should take up no more than 22% of your budget.

06 In your role as CDS president, you have a platform to address diversity in the dental profession, an issue you are passionate about. What are some ways in which you’d like to see progress on this in the coming year?

Diversity starts with the dental schools and their ability to recruit a diverse student body, so supporting the schools is critical. Strengthening inter-organizational ties, with groups like the American Association of Women Dentists and the Hispanic Dental Association, also is important. We need a “big tent” approach to build the future of organized dentistry.

07 You are stepping into this role at a time when it seems that some form of healthcare reform will be passed in Congress. Is this something the dental community should be paying attention to?

Absolutely, and I salute the American Dental Association for encouraging members to participate. We have to engage with the issue to make sure our voice is heard.

08 How does that play out on a day-to-day level for an organization like CDS and its members?

In recent years, our local governments have cut dental care, and dentistry didn’t have a seat at the table when those decisions were made. Between our state society and CDS, we’re working to change that.

09 As a periodontist, what are some clinical trends you see shaping your specialty and general dentistry in the coming years?

People are keeping their teeth longer, thanks largely to fluoride. So our practice for older adults is changing. Now we are treating more periodontal disease and doing more implants.

10 As editor of a product magazine, I have to ask, what have been some of the technological advances that have made the biggest differences in your practice in recent years?

Definitely advances in tooth-colored filling materials. They’re strong enough now to be placed on a posterior tooth, which was unheard of not too long ago. They also represent a change in mindset: We want something to not only be functional but also esthetically pleasing.