Trade shows are a tremendous opportunity for dental professionals and distributors alike to network, learn, and touch base with potential customers.
But in the current moment, these time-honoured events are all but extinct – and there’s no telling when they’ll be back.
With the spread of COVID-19 forcing a wave of cancellations across North America, dental distributors and dental professionals have had to find alternate ways of keeping up with the latest in dental research, products, and innovations.
This begs the question: with trade shows on pause, how else can you learn about top-notch dental tools and supplies?
Here, we’ll highlight how to find the best available dental tools on the market without the benefit of in-person trade shows.
Virtual Meetings and Trade Shows
First, the good news: thanks to an abundance of video conferencing platforms, virtual trade shows are easier and more accessible than ever. Many big-name dental trade shows, like the Pacific Dental Conference and the American Dental Hygienists Association, have already opted for this route in 2021.
Now, we're not trying to pull the wool over your eyes. There’s no doubt that face-to-face interactions and customized product demos can't be precisely replicated via virtual means.
All the same, virtual trade shows provide a valuable means of interacting with other industry professionals, and there are ways to perform demos through these conferencing platforms.
Plus, there are plenty of advantages to attending a trade show virtually: travel costs are drastically reduced, and it’s far less of an undertaking to attend compared to in-person outings. You can participate while in the comfort of your home or office!
Online Forums for Dental Professionals
There’s already been something of an ongoing “networking event” in the dental industry for years – that being online forums like those hosted by DentalTown and HygieneTown.
Throughout these spaces, you’ll find your peers sharing their accounts about the best available tools on the market. You'll be able to read multiple opinions about dental equipment and weigh the pros and cons before you buy.
Online Magazines and Blogs
Dentists and dental hygienists love to write – almost as much as they love to talk! There are multitudes of online dental blogs, magazines, and journals with relevant information about best-in-class dental tools.
No, it doesn't necessarily replace the hands-on experience you'll enjoy at a trade show. But such resources provide a critical first step in your research process when seeking out the most high-performing dental equipment.
Combining a three-pronged approach of virtual events, peer reviews, and articles will help you make do until it's safe to attend trade shows once more!
How to Find the Best Dental Products Online
Finding quality dental products online is a challenge, especially when you haven’t had the chance to demo the product in person.
By following the tips below, you can offset the risk involved in the online purchasing process and find reliable products that don't let you (or your patients) down:
- Verify FDA Approval: Many dental tools, including handpieces, must survive the scrutiny of a rigorous approval process before being listed as an FDA-listed class I medical device. This process, known as the 510(k) FDA clearance, is both expensive and long-lasting – all to ensure the utmost patient safety. The #1 sign that a manufacturer and its dental products are credible and reliable is their investment in this testing for every new model. Don’t get misled by shady manufacturers with labels saying, “purchasers must be licensed professionals” – the only thing that matters is FDA approval!
- Buy from Reputable Sources: Situations involving counterfeit dental products being sold over the internet are at an all-time high. Manufacturers of ill-repute will design inferior handpieces and similar equipment that resembles offerings from reputable brands. They’ll emulate the logos, designs, and branding to trick unsuspecting customers. A critical warning sign is gaps in pricing. If you see something being sold for $200 on one platform and $1,500 everywhere else, that's a red flag.
- Don’t Get Fooled by Savvy Marketing Campaigns: Marketing hype can lead you astray during your hunt for optimal dental tools. Instead, you must focus on specifications (e.g., torque power, bur concentricity, noise, warranty length, and price).
Sure, in-person trade shows aren’t really an option right now. But by following the aforementioned suggestions, you’ll still find best-in-class dental tools for your practice!
Like you, we here at Sable Industries are hopeful there will come a time soon when we can safely meet again in person. Should all go well, our team plans to attend two trade shows in the second quarter of 2021: the Ontario Dental Association’s Annual Spring Meeting in Toronto on May 6th to 8th, and the Journees dentaires internationals du Quebec in Montreal on May 28th to June 1st.
In the meantime, we hope you and yours are staying safe, healthy, and optimistic!