Greater St. Louis Dental Society finds key to engaging new dentists: Fun

Price Is Right: The Greater St. Louis Dental Society hosts a spoof of the popular game show as part of an effort to engage new dentists in a fun and educational way. Vendors donated more than $2,000 of products and prizes for the event.

Price Is Right: The Greater St. Louis Dental Society hosts a spoof of the popular game show as part of an effort to engage new dentists in a fun and educational way. Vendors donated more than $2,000 of products and prizes for the event.

St. Louis — “The Price is Right.” “Family Feud.” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Spoofing classic game shows and morning talk shows into activities may seem silly. But for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society, it’s been the key to engaging new dentists.

“It’s taken some trial and error, and we’ve had a couple of failures,” said Susan Prosperi, Greater St. Louis Dental Society membership and public education director. “But today, people really look forward to the events.”

Brand new car: A new dentist wins a brand new car — a remote control Ferrari — during the Greater St. Louis Dental Society’s Price Is Right game.

Brand new car: A new dentist wins a brand new car — a remote control Ferrari — during the Greater St. Louis Dental Society’s Price Is Right game.

The games and activities allow the Greater St. Louis Dental Society New Dentist Committee, which began in 2011, to inform new dentists, especially recent graduates, the benefits they receive from organized dentistry, earn continuing education credits and network professionally with their colleagues.

“New dentists need to be able to get together with their peers, see friends, network, and in the process, they can see that organized dentistry has their back,” Ms. Prosperi said. “It solidifies the importance and benefits of organized dentistry.”

It’s also been a way to just have fun.

For a welcome event for new graduates last Fall, a member of the Greater St. Louis Dental Society New Dentist Committee had suggested the idea of doing an NCAA-type tournament bracket with the simplest of games: rock, paper, scissors.

“A lot of the staff members looked at each other and said, ‘Really?’” Ms. Prosperi said. “But the committee members said it would be great, and of course, they were totally right. Everyone was laughing and hollering at the event.”

About 50 new dentists attended the event and the committee plans on doing the tournament again this year.

In 2015, the committee held a “New Dentist Feud” activity, loosely based on the popular game show “Family Feud.” Attendees earned continuing education and competed for prizes.

Last year, the committee held a spoof talk show that educated attendees about the benefits they receive at the local, state and national level. The talk show included a Publishing Clearing House spoof where a new dentist won a membership.

This year, the committee modeled their game show to “The Price Is Right.” Vendors donated up to $2,000 worth of products.

“And they were great products,” Ms. Prosperi said. “I think the vendors were thinking that since they were highlight their product, it had to be a good one.”

The events and activities are things Ms. Prosperi said other local and state dental associations should replicate and repurpose to engage their new dentists.

After all, it hasn’t been all about just fun and games. The Greater St. Louis Dental Society New Dentist Committee is achieving its goal of engagement.

The dental society has a 75 percent market share of new dentists in their area, which grew another 2 percent from 2016.

“We have had openings in various committees and we didn’t have enough spots for the number of new dentists who wanted to fill them,” Ms. Prosperi said. “We’ve had ask some new dentists to become representatives in various committees because we didn’t want to tell them ‘no.’”

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