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Local dentists pitch in to ensure course at ADA 2018 continues

November 05, 2018

By Michelle Manchir

Honolulu — An hour before a course on caries management was supposed to start during ADA 2018 – America’s Dental Meeting, workshop organizers realized an essential tool for participants was missing: about 200 dental burs.

So two members of the ADA Committee on Annual Meetings, Drs. Bud Evans and Charles McKelvey, launched into action, scouring the Exhibit Hall floor for sample burs they could potentially use.

When none were to be found there, a vendor suggested checking a medical building next door, where a number of dental offices were located.

That’s where Dr. David Dung, whose orthodontic practice is in the building, overheard Dr. McKelvey talking with a security guard.

“I was returning from lunch when I saw this gentleman with a name badge looking for a dentist,” said Dr. Dung.

The two spent the next half hour visiting about a half dozen dental offices in the building. Dr. Dung led the way, since he knew all the clinicians being approached.

“I told them we have a workshop starting in 43 minutes and we need these burs, could you help us out?” Dr. McKelvey said.

Within the hour, Dr. McKelvey had all the burs needed to make sure all workshop attendees could participate. There were about seven minutes left until the course was scheduled to start, said Dr. Evans.

“They were all very willing to help. I think they could see the panic in my eyes,” Dr. McKelvey recalled, laughing. “Everybody was so generous.”

Dr. Dung, who contributed some of the burs, said some of his colleagues called him later to ask for more details about what was going on — and to see if more burs were needed.

While Drs. Evans and McKelvey credited Dr. Dung with helping save the course, Dr. Dung said he “didn’t do anything any other Hawaii dentist wouldn’t do.”

“That’s just he way we are here,” said Dr. Dung, who has a practice in both Honolulu and Aiea, another city on the island of Oahu. “The aloha spirit is ‘help others.’”

Dr. McKelvey said the episode is an example of “the dental community really coming together.”

“We were in a corner and these dentists really helped us out,” he said, calling Dr. Dung an “angel.”

Drs. Evans and McKelvey said they wanted to ensure all the local dentists who pitched in were thanked. They include Drs. Dung, Ronald Mau, Kevin Saito, Jacqueline Brown, Berwyn Ito and Katsuhiko Sano.

Dr. Dung got an extra “thanks” during ADA 2018 when a performer during the meeting’s Welcome Celebration, Ruthie Ann Miles, a native of Hawaii, gave him a shout out from the stage. Dr. Dung is her orthodontist.