DentalTown / Townie Meeting – A Collective Dental Intelligence

Happy New Year!  And, this also marks the 1 year anniversary of my Dental Warrior blog.

Many of you are already on Dentaltown, and you might skip this blog post.  Preachin’ to the choir, as they say.  If you’ve been on Dentaltown and haven’t been to a Townie Meeting, keep reading anyway.

But, if you’re a dentist who has landed on and have somehow missed Dentaltown, then listen up.  Or maybe you joined Dentaltown a long time ago but then didn’t go back.  Here’s why you should.

I have a long history of being on the “internetz.”  I started playing with and programming computers in 1977.  I first went “online” with my Commodore 64 around 1983 hacking into “Bulletin Board Systems” (BBS) using a phone line and modem at a blistering “300 BAUD.”  For those who don’t know, that’s really slow.  You could watch text appear almost a line at a time.

Then I took a break from computers while in dental school and serving in the Navy.  Then around 1991, I got a PC with a 486 Intel chip.  Oh, baby!   I bought a membership with Compuserve.  If I recall, we were charged by the hour for use.  By then we had 1200 BAUD phone modems.  Woohoo!  But, a single low-res photo could take several minutes.  And, I do mean SEVERAL minutes.  So, the content on Compuserve was largely text-based.  There I discovered my first online dental forum (called MedSIG – Medical Special Interest Group).  It was a small group, with maybe a few dozen “regulars.”  That forum eventually was closed down by Compuserve for reasons unknown.  Some of those “MedSIGgers” are on Dentaltown today.


Dr. Howard Farran – Mastermind and genius founder of Dentaltown.

But, today I’m writing about Dentaltown.  This online forum was created by my friend Dr. Howard Farran in 1999.  Dentists, dental staff, auxiliaries, lab technicians, consultants, and anyone who is in or serves the dental profession is welcome.  And, it has grown to be the largest online dental group in the world.  I’ve been on Dentaltown since it started, and I’ve logged on virtually every day since.  It is an essential part of my daily professional life.

Never Practice Alone

Dentists have traditionally practiced in virtual isolation.  Most are in solo practice.  And before Al Gore “invented” the internet, our only interaction with other dentists was typically limited to a monthly dental association meeting.  You might chat up other dentists during the cocktail hour.  Then it’s a sit-down dinner with an informative lecture that might bring you “up to date” with material that’s three decades old…. slightly better than dental school!  😉  And as soon as that is over, everyone bugs out and heads home.  Not much opportunity to interact there.  “Hey… anybody try out that new ______ I’ve heard about?  Anyone?”

Way Better Than a Dental Society Meeting

By stark contrast, offers access to colleagues from all over the U.S. and the world on a “24 / 7″ basis.  There are over 130,000 members registered on Dentaltown at this point.  And, there are active discussions every day about every possible dental topic.  Imagine having the opportunity to get “wet-fingered” feedback about any dental material, equipment, or technology.  If you want opinions, you’ll surely get them on!  And, I will give you fair warning that many opinions will be very candid.  So, bear in mind that we dentists have strongly-held opinions.  So, don’t expect everyone to agree on everything.  But, it is a vastly friendly environment.  I have made many life-long friends on Dentaltown.

You have access to literally thousands of dental minds any time you want on Dentaltown.  I call it a “collective intelligence.” Together we are smarter than individually.  If I have a question about ANYTHING dental, I can find answers on Dentaltown.  I don’t have to know everything myself.  I have access to minds that compliment my own.  The denizens of Dentaltown call themselves “Townies.”  And, I know that my fellow Townies can fill in whatever blanks I have on any given day.

  • Having trouble with composite sensitivity? You’ll find the answer on Dentaltown.
  • Can’t decide which digital x-ray system to get? You’ll find tons of information on Dentaltown.
  • Have a troublesome staff issue?  On Dentaltown, you’ll even find well-known consultants answering questions for free.  No strings.  No sales pitch.  You’ll also get plenty of input from “in-the-trenches” dentists.

Dentaltown Is  a Good Habit

Author, Steven Covey, wrote a very well-known book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”  One of the seven habits is to form a “mastermind.”  In his book, he suggests that you regularly meet with a group of talented, intelligent people.  Together, your collective intelligence will be beneficial to the individual members of that “mastermind.”  Dentaltown fits the definition of a mastermind perfectly.  And, the best part is that you don’t have to have scheduled meetings.  You can use it any time of day, 365 days a year.  Another one of the seven habits is to “sharpen your saw.”  That means taking time to learn more about what you do.  Dentaltown is a great way to do that, too.

I know that I would not be the dentist I am today if it wasn’t for Dentaltown.  It is an extension of my practice.  Beyond a source of information, it offers a camaraderie that I think you’ll find valuable and unprecedented in the dental world.  You can even take online video CE courses on Dentaltown.

Townies often share their cases with photos and even video on Dentaltown.  We share experiences, both clinical and administrative.  Running a dental practice is TOUGH.  It’s tougher doing it alone without having confreres to lean on.  Practice management is a popular topic.  If you’re having ANY kind of problem in your practice, I can promise you aren’t the only one, nor the first.  Put it out there on Dentaltown, and you will get nearly instant feedback and suggestions.  I’ve learned so much on Dentaltown.  Again… I can’t imagine practicing without it.  Dr. Howard Farran’s Dentaltown motto is that “no dentist will practice alone.”

I could go on and on about Dentaltown, but blog posts aren’t supposed to be lengthy expositions.  Join me and thousands of Townies on Dentaltown’s online forum and prepare for a mind-expanding experience.    Registration is free!  Here’s the link:

Wait!  There’s MORE!  “Townie Meeting!”

Dr. Ryan Swain (apparently 12 years old at the time!) setting the beat.

For 10 years now, there has been an annual Townie Meeting.  It’s held in Las Vegas every year.  This meeting was founded by two outstanding dentists and Dentaltown regulars, Drs. Tarun Agarwal and Sameer Puri.

When you go to a typical state dental association meeting, you often have to glean one or two gems from the long list of really boring presentations.  Do you REALLY want to spend time listening to “Caries Prevention by Fluoride Content in Soda?”  “Perio Pathogens and Their Affinity to Menthol Cigarettes?”  “Why the Access to Care ‘Issue’ is Your Fault.”  OK… I made those up, but they’re not that far off the mark – right?

Now imagine a meeting where your only source of frustration will be realizing that you can’t attend ALL the presentations.  The Townie Meeting is chock full of MEANINGFUL and USEFUL presentations.  You’ll hear and learn about topics you can take back and implement in your office the following Monday.

You might even meet Dr. Howard Farran!

The same is true of the exhibit floor.  There you’ll find all the Townie Choice Awards favorites eager to share the latest gizmos and materials to enhance your practice.  Just yesterday my assistant and I were marveling at how we could not imagine being without a number of things I picked up (good deals!) at my last Townie Meeting (such as:  V-3 Rings, Picasso Lite Laser and the Isolite).

Tarun Agarwal, Dan Quevedo, me, and Sameer Puri.    I’ve put on weight since then!

And, of course, I MUST mention the social aspect of the Townie Meeting.  You won’t find a more fun and friendly group of dentists on the planet.  It’s a positive and upbeat group of dentists who like being dentists! I PROMISE you’ll have a GREAT time!  There’s always a fantastic closing night party.  And, you’ll return to your practice recharged.  We all need that, especially in this economy.

I’ll be there with bells on!

I’ve been a speaker at a few of the Townie Meetings over the years, and I was invited back again for 2012.  This year my presentation will be “Google-proof Your Website.”  I’d love to see you there!  The meeting runs April 25 – 28 at the new Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino.

A Dental Warrior promise:  This is one of the BEST meetings you’ll ever attend.

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13 Responses to DentalTown / Townie Meeting – A Collective Dental Intelligence

  1. Sam says:

    Mike- thanks for the plug. I love dentaltown and its been an honor to have helped start the dentaltown meeting with my good buddy Tbone! I cant believe 10 years is going to be this year! I think its one of the most fun meetings around.

  2. DrDan says:

    Great article and I feel the same way you do. DentalTown has enriched my career more than any other single thing. My hope is that as many of the ORIGINAL 1st Townie Meeting Alumni as possible will return this year for the TENTH anniversary of this great meeting. Hope to see you all there!

  3. Michael says:

    I guess I need to get my “cherry” popped and attend my first Townie Meeting. I can meet the Famous Mike. We can talk dentistry, race cars and guns!!! Wife loves Vegas so I can take here and make working vacation out of it.

  4. Where can I go to get on to this DentalTown site? Sounds interesting.

    Vegas in May? Sounds like a nice time. I may give it a try.

  5. Ritu says:

    I’ve been guilty of joining DentalTown eons (seems Like) ago and losing touch with it 🙂 I haven’t been back in a long while….in fact, not since I was a new grad and trying to figure out things like associateships, being a new practice owner, etc.

    I much prefer blogs (writing and reading), but of course DentalTown provides a much wider group of resources.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  6. michael says:

    Who is that sexy looking dentist on page 76 of DE? About to read the article.

  7. michael says:

    And Mike on the cover of DT magazine with 6 month smiles!

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