Choosing the right dental conference is a bit like setting sail on a grand voyage—you want it to be smooth sailing, filled with exciting discoveries and valuable treasures of knowledge. But with so many options out there, how do you pick the perfect port of call for your educational journey? Fear not, mates! We’re here to navigate the waters together and help you find the conference that’s just right for you. First, finish reading this article to map out what you’re looking for. Then, check out our post of this year’s top dental conferences and use what you learned here to plan out your dental continuing education calendar.
Define Your Professional Development Needs
Charting your course to dental conference success starts by identifying your professional goals and aspirations. Are you looking to sharpen your clinical skills for a specific type of procedure? Eager to explore new tools, techniques or technologies for your practice? Do you want to deep-dive into different aspects of the business of dentistry?
Understanding what you hope to gain from the conference will guide you in the right direction. Write out your professional development priorities and compare your list to the course offerings of each conference you’re considering.
Choose Between Virtual or In-Person Classrooms
The next decision on your educational journey is whether you prefer the comfort of your own home office or the camaraderie of an in-person event. Consider your personal preferences, as well as any state-specific licensure renewal requirements for online verus in-person CE credit.
When deciding between virtual or in-person attendance, you’ll also need to assess your ability to travel. Are you able to jet off to a conference in person, or are you limited by time, budget, or other commitments? Factor in the logistics of travel, including transportation, accommodation, and time away from your practice. If attending in person isn’t feasible, virtual attendance can be a convenient alternative that allows you to soak up the knowledge from the comfort of your home or office.
Luckily, for those who need or prefer a virtual option, Smiles at Sea is excited to be introducing virtual tickets for our upcoming Virgin cruise in November 2024, ensuring that everyone can join the adventure, no matter where they are in the world.
Consider Formal vs. Casual Learning Environments
An important factor in determining the Do you thrive in a more formal conference setting, with structured sessions and professional attire? Or do you prefer a more laid-back atmosphere, where learning is mixed with a dose of fun and relaxation? Think about what environment brings out the best in you and aligns with your learning style.
Let’s face it—we all love a good vacation! If you’re craving a conference experience that feels more like a getaway, consider options that combine learning with leisure. Cruise conferences like Smiles at Sea offer the perfect blend of education and adventure, allowing you to earn CE credits while exploring exotic destinations and enjoying onboard amenities. It’s the ultimate dental vacation!
Decide Your Desired Conference Destination
Are you drawn to the bustling energy of a vibrant city like Chicago or NYC, where skyscrapers tower overhead and culinary delights await around every corner? Or do you dream of chasing sunsets on the sandy shores of Key West, with the gentle lull of the ocean as your soundtrack?
For the adventurous souls among us, why not set your sights on an exotic international destination? Imagine immersing yourself in the rich culture and history of a far-flung locale, sampling local cuisine, and exploring ancient landmarks between conference sessions.
Do you prefer to plant your feet firmly in one city for the duration of the conference, immersing yourself in its sights, sounds, and flavors? Or does the idea of setting sail on a cruise ship, with each day bringing a new port of call and a new adventure, sound like the ultimate dream? With a cruise conference like Smiles at Sea, you can combine learning with leisure as you sail the open seas to exciting new destinations, all while earning CE credits and making memories to last a lifetime.
Examine Networking Opportunities & Recreational Activities
One of the highlights of any conference is the opportunity to connect with fellow dental professionals. Look for conferences that offer ample networking opportunities, whether it’s through structured networking events like The Dental Festival’s Speed Networking, social mixers, or interactive workshops.
Don’t forget to factor in the recreational activities! After all, research shows that learning is enhanced when you’re having fun. Whether it’s a themed party, a beachside barbecue, or a group excursion to a local attraction, these activities add an extra layer of enjoyment to your conference experience while offering unique opportunities to create connections.
Inclusivity for the Whole Dental Team
Last but not least, consider whether the conference is inclusive of your entire dental team. From dentists and hygienists to office managers and assistants, everyone plays a vital role in the success of your practice. Look for conferences that offer educational opportunities tailored to different roles within the dental team, ensuring that everyone can grow and learn together.
Align Conference Offerings with Your Goals
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to choose a conference that aligns with your goals, interests, and values. Whether you’re drawn to the educational content, the destination, or the onboard experience, trust your instincts and follow your heart. After all, this is your dental voyage—make it a journey to remember!