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At ADA 2015, receive 'revitalizing experience'

September 23, 2015

By David Burger

Dr. Kotlarek
Houston — Dr. Mark Kotlarek went a dozen years between attending ADA annual meetings.

He won't make that same mistake again.

"I came back from the 2014 ADA annual meeting having had a revitalizing experience," said Dr. Kotlarek, a general practitioner in Houston and dental school graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Although online courses, textbooks and YouTube videos have a lot to offer, never could I have learned so much as fast as I did at the ADA meeting. During my career I have attended hundreds of continuing education courses and, by comparison, can attest that the ADA annual meeting delivers CE at the highest level. Given my experience, I'll continue attending ADA annual meetings."

Dr. Kotlarek's first experience with the annual meeting was in 2002, when he, his wife and child attended the New Orleans conference. "I was in the midst of building a new office," he said. "We specifically went for the vendor exhibitions. We wanted to choose, touch and feel the new equipment that was used to furnish the office. My spouse and I vividly remember the hours spent checking out the latest equipment and managing our 2-year-old child as we walked the exhibit floor."

It wasn't until 2014 that Dr. Kotlarek came again. "I had an entirely different agenda," he said. "My practice and patient base have grown and aged. In this older population I recognize the importance and need for advanced periodontal care. I came with the two hygienists that I work with, seeking the newest techniques in diagnosis and treatment of periodontitis."

Immediately after arriving at ADA 2014 – America's Dental Meeting in San Antonio,  Dr. Kotlarek and his team embarked on their busy itinerary. "The first course that I attended was given by the renowned periodontist Dr. Edward Allen," he said. "This course was live gum surgery in the round with lights, cameras, scalpels, elevators and sutures. I was blown away. The experience was more intimate than being invited chairside to watch Dr. Allen in his private operatory. The camera views were marvelous."

Dr. Kotlarek ended up attending four courses in all. "As one would expect from a continuing education extravaganza, I brought back to my office new capabilities and perspectives. Equally important, I returned to my practice with a renewed enthusiasm from what I had learned and who I had met."

When looking ahead to ADA 2015 – America's Dental Meeting Nov. 5-10 in Washington, D.C., Dr. Kotlarek remembered something from his childhood. "My fifth-grade teacher, Sister Francis Marie, told me that it was better to spend time weaving a net rather than praying for fish at the water's edge," he said. "The ADA annual meetings provide professional enhancement. In my view, attendance weaves the net to catch practice growth and satisfaction."

Registration for ADA 2015 is open online at Registration fees and CE course fees increase after Oct. 9.

For a list of courses planned, visit

Search for #ADADC on Twitter and Facebook for more on ADA 2015.