Mock Board Examination Question:

What Do You Get When you Mix Prosthodontics with Camaraderie?

Now I grant you that this is not a question likely to be asked by a Board examiner anytime soon, but just in case it was asked, one answer might be "The Academy of Prosthodontics Annual Meeting in 2002 held in Portland, Oregon". Unfortunately, should the examiner offer any or all of these follow-up questions, you might have to give the same answer: "Has Prosthodontics ever entered The Twilight Zone"; "When was the last time a professional organization chose the best day (weather-wise) of its annual meeting for its outing?"; and/or "Can you give an example of a meeting at which Dick Grisius presides that was entertaining, educational and jovial?". If the examiner demands references, I am afraid you are out of luck and it might be time to try the old "verbal communication" ruse. Regardless, repeat the examiner’s questions out loud, don’t forget to take as long as possible to reply to each question, talk slowly when you do answer, and every now and then pull out the "I’m sorry, can you repeat the question" line. In this way, the one hour exam should be over after about…7 questions.

I had never been to Portland until May 2002. Lots of people I knew had been there or thereabouts, my pre-travel reading reinforced all of the stereotypical images of a large city in the Pacific Northwest, and my love of seafood meant the trip was likely to be a huge success on the food-front. I knew the Academy meeting itself would be great, it always is. I would see people whom I respected and whom I admired, I would be able to spend quality time with them, I would hear good presentations, and at the Business Meeting I would watch while the membership spent more time on the issue of meeting location than on any other subject. These are, after all, the fait accomplits of Academy Meetings.

At the traditional Welcome Dinner, we reacquainted and were provided with an overview of the days to come by President Grisius. After dinner, Gerry Barrack led us on a nature slide tour of his local haunt in New Jersey, and we were enthralled by voices "A Capella" from Seattle. We began our scientific sessions with some sobering words regarding addiction. Drs. William Hooker and John Sealy gave us a professional perspective, while Dr. Curtis Vixie’s personal confession of drug addiction added weight to the seriousness of this problem. The morning continued with Dr. Antonio Bello’s discussion of ceramic implant abutments, Dr. Diaz-Arnold’s overview of the impact of saliva on patient care, Dr. McGarry’s description of a diagnostic classification system of partial edentulism, Lt. Col. Taylor’s research on the effect of growth factors on osteoclastic resorption of various graft materials, and Dr. Christian Stohler’s techno-wizardry as he described the pathogenesis of orofacial pain. During the scientific session, the spouses enjoyed a tour of the classical Chinese and Japanese gardens, and the evening brought the opportunity to sample some of Portland’s ales and atmosphere for those who participated in the "Brewery Tour". I can assure you that Bob Kelly’s photos of this event are going to be well worth the wait for next year’s Welcome Dinner slide show.

Saturday morning brought the opportunity to experience actor/director Steve Eckert’s creativity and actor/producer Rhonda Jacob’s passion for Evidence-Based Dentistry as they led Alan Carr and myself through the process of generating a Twilight Zone episode titled "Three Dentists in Search of a Clue". We were then fortunate to hear the wisdom of Dr. John Frush as he described the concepts upon which Dentogenics is based. The morning came to an end with presentations from Dr. Chris Marchack on how to prepare state of the art presentations, from Dr. James Clark on recent developments in digital photography, before Dr. Robert Ahlstrom presented a series of standards for dental informatics. Saturday afternoon and evening were dedicated to the traditional Academy Outing. We began with a bus-ride (Gerry Graser’s favorite part of the meeting) to Mount Hood to experience a feast of desserts and a frigid (and thankfully optional) chairlift ride at Timberline Lodge. We enjoyed sunshine bathing Mount Hood; a far cry from the inches of snow that fell the following day! The Columbia River Gorge Interpretation Center provided the location for our evening meal.

On Sunday morning, we learned more about the University of Toronto experiences of the Implant Prosthodontic Unit in managing partial edentulism. Dr. John Zarb, Dr. Nikolai Attard, Dr. Francine Albert and Dr. Ross Bryant all shared their knowledge with us. The second half of the morning was devoted to additional implant topics: Dr. Lisa Lang summarized key aspects of preload, Dr. Steve Parel described his clinical experiences with the Novum system, Dr. Oded Bahat presented on "Three Dimensional Bone Reconstruction", and Dr. Clark Stanford discussed the interplay between the body and an implant as they shake biological hands. The Installation Banquet once again saw us in our "Sunday Best" as tuxedos and evening gowns were on display. The new slate of officers was installed and we listened intently to Gary Rogoff’s presidential address.

Monday morning’s schedule was slightly different to that advertised as Dr. Keith Phillips’s had presented prior in the meeting on the topic of treatment planning decisions for structurally compromised teeth. Dr. Ken Malament, seemingly in a perpetual state of giddiness following his election to the American Board of Prosthodontics, discussed the management of alveolar ridge deficiencies, prior to Dr. Geoff Thompson’s presentation describing the merits of a biaxial ring-on-ring laboratory test to simulate clinical conditions in order to investigate failure of dental ceramics. Dr. Lawrence Green followed with his research findings related to major connector design and rigidity, and the scientific sessions came to a close with Dr. Jamie Kaukinen outlining his treatment suggestions for patients with ectodermal dysplasia. Monday afternoon brought the Academy Business meeting and the evening offered the last opportunities to enjoy the fellowship of the Academy.

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