CE Beyond Hygiene Conferences: Explore learning opportunities outside of dental hygiene

June 18, 2016
Dental hygiene has a number of continuing education programs that offer dental professionals a vast array of opportunities to enhance current knowledge, learn new skills, and network with like-minded dental hygienists.

Explore learning opportunities outside of dental hygiene

By Ann-Marie DePalma, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH

Dental hygiene has a number of continuing education programs that offer dental professionals a vast array of opportunities to enhance current knowledge, learn new skills, and network with like-minded dental hygienists. RDH magazine's RDH Under One Roof, the ADHA's CLL/Annual Session, and state and district components/study clubs offer CE for hygienists on both the national and local level.

As dental hygienists move beyond the traditional hygiene operatory into different avenues of dentistry, other continuing education programs may offer a variety of experiences. Whether in public health, administration, or treatment coordination, a hygienists' knowledge and skill can be applied to numerous clinical and non-clinical applications. There are many excellent non-hygiene centered CE programs that hygienists can participate in and learn new skills.

This month's column will spotlight three such programs:

  • Sirona's SiroWorld 2016
  • American Association of Dental Office Managers' (AADOM) annual session
  • The Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries' (ADIA) summer symposium with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI)

Although each program is not specifically geared toward the hygienist, any hygienist interested in learning more about dentistry beyond the hygiene operatory can participate. In fact, many practice teams participate in these programs.


As CAD/CAM and digital dentistry have evolved, many dental teams seek continuing education that develops their skills beyond the basic level. In 2015, Sirona celebrated 30 years of CEREC with a continuing education program in Las Vegas that offered participants an exciting mix of continuing education, networking, and fun! Technology is an integral part of the 21st century dental practice, and teams that attended CEREC 30 were immersed in technology.

The experience last year prompted Sirona to move beyond a single event to offer educational opportunities in a variety of venues and make the event an annual gathering of technology driven teams. SiroWorld 2016 will be held on August 11-13 in Orlando, Fla. SiroWorld is designed to be the place to engage in discussions about current or new skills while sharing in the experiences of those using technology to grow practices and enhance the patients' experiences. Whether a hygienist is involved in a practice that uses CAD/CAM and digital dentistry or is merely interested in learning more about technology, SiroWorld can offer that immersion.

Business magnate and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson has been enlisted as the keynote speaker. Headlining the entertainment is the Grammy nominated band, One Republic, performing in a private concert for SiroWorld 2016 attendees. The educational component of the event includes programs dealing with implant restoration, aesthetic dentistry, CBCT imaging, practice enhancement, and patient engagement. For more information about SiroWorld, visit cereconline.com.


AADOM will host its annual session Sept. 15-17 in Boca Raton, Fla. For a variety of reasons, many hygienists are seeking positions as office managers or treatment coordinators. The skills necessary to be successful in the role of office manager are often different than those of a clinical hygienist, but the clinical hygiene skills can enhance the office manager position.

AADOM brings together the finest dental consultants and speakers to enable a hygienist or other dental team member to share the day-to-day rewards and frustrations of being in the dental office management role. With the support of generous sponsors and exhibitors, AADOM showcases products and solutions that enhance the managers' position. Programs on medical billing, dental insurance, leadership, empowering teams, increasing case acceptance and providing excellent customer service will engage attendees. Lest you think it is all about learning, there are numerous social events planned throughout the event for fun and networking opportunities. To learn more about AADOM or the annual conference, visit dentalmanagers.com.


The ICOI/ADIA will hold its annual summer symposium on Aug. 25-27 in San Diego. ICOI is one of the preeminent organizations for dentists involved in implant dentistry. ADIA is a component association of ICOI for dental team members who possess an interest and passion about implants. ADIA offers certification program for hygienists, assistants, practice managers, and implant coordinators along with a variety of other educational programs.

Participants in the summer symposium can attend programs presented from the main doctor program or from the auxiliary program. One day of the ADIA program is devoted entirely to the certification programs that run concurrently. Many participants often take each of the certifications at different meetings to learn about all aspects of the dental implant process. For more information about ADIA or the summer symposium, visit icoi.org.


Although not continuing education opportunities, textbooks offer both students and practicing hygienists the opportunity to learn new skills and refresh current skills. Rachel Henry, RDH, MS, and Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, BA, MS, have developed a textbook, Dental Hygiene Applications to Clinical Practice, published by F.A. Davis Co. as a tool to achieve the path to hygiene success. Many contributors (this author included) delve into the clinical and nonclinical aspects of today's dental hygiene professional.

We all remember our dental hygiene educational experiences. For those of us whose hygiene programs used Dr. Esther Wilkins' textbooks, the color of the textbook marks the beginning of our careers. In 2016, the 12th edition of The Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist, a green colored edition, has arrived!

Both textbooks can be purchased through Amazon.com.

Lifelong learning is essential to the dental hygiene profession. Most states require continuing education credits for relicensure. While some hygienists only meet the minimum CE requirements, many others are constantly seeking new avenues of learning. These hygienists take continuing education courses not for the credits (some may or may not qualify for state requirements) but rather for the joys of learning and networking. If you are one of the hygienists who wants to learn more every day, investigate the opportunities presented here. You will be amazed at what you will discover about dentistry, dental hygiene, and yourself.

Author's disclosure: Ann-Marie is a Technology Advisor for Patterson Dental, a member of AADOM, and Fellow and Educator of ADIA. She is also a contributor to Dental Hygiene Applications to Clinical Practice. She did not receive any compensation from any of the above for this column.

Thought for the Month: "Education is the key to self-development and empowerment." from Lailah Gifty Akita, Think Great, Be Great! RDH

ANN-MARIE C. DEPALMA, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene and the Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries, as well as a continuous member of ADHA. She presents continuing education programs for dental team members on a variety of topics. Ann-Marie is collaborating with several authors on various books for dental hygiene and can be reached at [email protected].