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After a long-awaited pause, we were finally able to experience our annual Spear Summit live in Scottsdale, Arizona. This exclusive dental networking event provided three days of personal and professional growth under an interactive atmosphere of camaraderie and friendship.

What makes this Spear event so special? Let me capture some of the experience by sharing a few insights from the perspective of:

  1. Our Guest Speakers
  2. Our Attendee Community

Summit Dental Networking Event: Guest Speakers

guest speaker

Historically Spear Summit has been able to attract the best and the brightest speakers in the dental world, which means that these individuals have been exposed to a vast array of meetings, congresses, and symposiums across the globe, becoming relatively easy for them to benchmark and express what their experience at our Summit was like.

This year, the program was nicely balanced as topics ranged from dental materials update, interdisciplinary esthetic dentistry on teeth and implants, interdisciplinary management of airway, digital dentistry, as well as a well-rounded classes on leadership and practice management.

Our list of speakers included:

  • Dr Ken Malament (Boston, Mass.)
  • Dr Mariana Evans (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  • Dr John Burgess (Ala.)
  • Dr Drew McDonald (Albuquerque, N.M.)
  • Dr Shoroush Zhagi (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Dr Ińaki Gamborena (Spain)
  • Dr Luis Baratieri (Brazil)
  • Dr Víctor Clavijo (Brazil)
  • Dr Galip Gurel (Turkey)

And of course, lectures from our resident faculty: Gregg Kinzer, Bob Winter, Frank Spear, Darin Dichter, Jeff Rouse, Gary DeWood, Jason Smithson, Aimee Fletcher, Amy Morgan, Rebecca Bockow, Jim McKee, Martin Mendelson, and myself.

Since most of the guest speakers are close personal friends of the resident faculty, it becomes easy for us to reach out to them and easy for them to accept participating at Summit, bringing their best game and gifting their knowledge with open arms, with no other agenda than to share and celebrate a space with like-minded peers.

Let's face it, today many large meetings are packed with beautiful presentations with incredible photography but with a relatively low educational value as they are more “show and tell” than they are didactic.

Nonetheless, something that is often not considered, is the willingness of many of these world-class thought leaders to travel across the globe and lecture. Their overarching sentiment was how impressed they were with the caliber of the audience, which was eager to learn and grateful for the knowledge.

Here are just a few of their reflections:

“After so many years of giving presentations around the world, I recently had the enormous joy and great honor to participate in one of the most wonderful events in Dentistry: Spear Summit 2022. I can honestly say it was one of the most extraordinary surprises in my lifelong journey as an educator. An impeccable organization, the highest scientific level, and the warmest and most engaging audience eager to learn and to celebrate dentistry.”Luiz Baratieri
“I had the most unusual time enjoying the friendship, warmth, and enthusiastic learning experience at the Summit. I watched almost every lecture and participated in the breakout sessions. I knew almost no dentists at the Summit and was so impressed with the excitement to learn and to share with each other. Each lecture I saw was well-designed and organized to allow the participants the best potential to learn. There was new information for me now that I will take very seriously. I listened to the other students and was so impressed with the depth of their conversations and engagement in the entire meeting. My experience at this Summit with you was second to none. Each area was carefully designed thoughtfully to be able to teach and to have a student work and learn at the best level.”Ken Malament

Summit Dental Networking Event: Attendee Reflections

dentists networking at event

When I asked our guest speakers about their experience, they consistently referred to our Summit as quite unique. They were particularly impressed with the impeccable organization of the event, but more importantly by the caliber of our Spear community. Keeping in mind that most of these speakers gravitate from one world-class meeting to the next this is certainly special.

This is reflected in the lectures and felt by the audience as well. Our Spear community had so many takeaways from what they received at the event.

Here are a few attendee reflections from the event:

“I've seen so many speakers where their lectures are just a big presentation to show off their work with no real substance. I didn't get that at all. I felt that each speaker had a specific message along with showing world-class dentistry.”

“My first Summit and it did not disappoint. The entire event was masterfully executed. The speakers were top notch. I just wish each speaker could have spoken a little bit longer. But if that were the case, obviously there would have been fewer speakers. I've seen so many speakers where their lectures are just a big presentation to show off their work with no real substance. I didn't get that at all. I felt that each speaker had a specific message along with showing world-class dentistry.”

“This was my first time at the Spear Summit. I thought it was excellent! As someone in our group mentioned, we appreciate that Spear seems to be willing to search out and present new techniques and thought processes from a large array of speakers that expand our knowledge and understanding so we can provide exceptional care to our patients. I personally have benefited greatly in my practice from the things I have learned through Spear. Thank you to all of the people who made this event happen. Job well done!”

“Loved it! Great courses and it was awesome to catch up with so many people I haven't seen since 2019. Can't wait for Summit 2023!”

“The past couple years, following the pandemic, in-person continuing education events have struggled to rally, coming up short of the bygone era of inspiration-infused events that left us wanting more and pushed us forward. The Spear Summit this year was a refreshing outlier. It was so good to be back live! This year, Spear brought a world-class faculty to the stage like no other event, to date. We enjoyed workshops focused on leadership and management, point point-counterpoint debates pertaining to the most current topics in dentistry, and spectacular social events, all in an intimate setting. The down-to-earth comradery with today's forward thinkers is incredible, and an element that only Spear Education brings. I feel so much gratitude for being part of the Spear community. I am grateful for this incredible space that supplies unparalleled mentorship, comradery, and ongoing collaboration. Truly, we are better together, and it was so refreshing to feel it in person again this year.”

“This year brought yoga, running, and energy infusion. Spear keeps on getting better.The highlights of bringing Drs. Evans, Bockow, and Zhagi was incredible - three airway giants presenting on well-being, systemic health, and how advocacy to move dentistry ahead rests in our hands.The venue was first-class.Getting back together with colleagues and connecting again through direct voice and touch felt so good. Cannot wait for the upcoming Spring 2023.”
Lisa Teel
“In 1998, I joined my father's private practice in Las Vegas, N.V., a practice he started from scratch in 1968. Yes, my father had a successful practice of 30 years before I joined him as a fresh out-of-school dentist in the winter of 1998. My dad was 57 years old when I joined his practice. Early on my dad knew I needed more education, so he would send me to one- or two-day courses in Southern California and Utah. places that were close by. We had heard of Frank Spear in the early 2000's and noticed that he was going to bring his hotel seminars to Las Vegas. So, we signed up and Dad wanted to go too! Over the course of two or three years from 2005-2007 we took every seminar that was offered in Las Vegas… all of them and even tried to go take a workshop up in Seattle, but the waiting list seemed too long! When Spear finally got going in Scottsdale, we signed up for a workshop a year and we took them together. At this point my dad had been out of dental school for 40 years and loved the learning environment of Spear! We ultimately, took all the Spear workshops and would often come back and mentor FGTP and Occlusion. While mentoring, I would often watch my dad helping a student and often wonder who was learning more. My dad or the person he was supposed to help as he never stopped honing his craft. I think we attended every Spear Summit together, except the first one and the one in 2019, the last one before COVID. Dad was always there to save seats when the doors opened and was at every lecture to make sure he had the latest information to help his patients. In 2019, my dad was a on a trip to Italy, during the Summit, upon his return he wanted a run down from the Summit. He wanted to know what he missed. Then COVID hit and then my dad's cancer returned. After an almost two-year valiant fight, my dad passed away on May 16, 2022. I waffled about returning to the Summit in 2022. I didn't know if I was ready… how would I respond to those asking about Dad? How would it be without Dad? In the end, I realized I had to go, while the chapter of attending Spear workshops and Summits with Dad are over, the relationships I've developed throughout the years are still alive, and felt the need to re-connect those relationships and build new ones! This year's Summit was cathartic for me, while one chapter closed a new chapter has just begun.”Doug Sandquist

I hope these compelling reflections from some of our speakers and our Spear community allow you to grasp how special Spear Summit truly is. Although historically held in the Fall, in 2023 we will be moving Summit to the Spring. It will take place April 27-29, 2023 with the Leadership Symposium being held April 26-27.

This world-class dental networking event has a packed scientific and social program with an array of world-class speakers (next Summit will host Drs. Didier Dietchi from Geneva, Pascal Magne, Pat Allen, Eric Vandooren from Belgium, and the Blasi family from Barcelona) who are absolutely thrilled to share their knowledge with our Spear community.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Ricardo Mitrani, D.D.S., M.S.D., is a Spear Resident Faculty member.