Dental Insider Blog

Observation and Commentary On the Dental Industry


Posted by dentalinsider on May 13, 2008

Thanks to reader Tom, we were able to get a look at the attendance numbers that the California Dental Association published this week. I am calling Bullsh$t! on the CDA and their inflated numbers. Here they are…

Dear Exhibitors:

On behalf of the California Dental Association and the Scientific Sessions Board of Managers, thank you for your participation in our 2008 Spring Scientific Session in Anaheim and your contribution to the success of our show.

Approximately 27,041 dental industry professionals, including 7,348 dentists from California and throughout the nation attended the convention. Following is a complete breakdown of attendance.

DDS 7,348
Guests 2,076
RDA/DA 5,812
Exhibitors 5,355
RDH 2,300
Press 63
Lab Tech/CDT 119
CDA Staff 87
Office Staff 2,129
Misc. 15
Dental Students 560
ADHP Students 1,177
TOTAL 27,041

The dentist to total attendance ratio is 27%.

Next week you will receive a post show survey via e-mail. Kindly take a few moments to complete the survey, as your feedback is very important to CDA. Your concerns and suggestions enable us to enhance our future Scientific Sessions and exhibitor services. CDA is dedicated to being a leader in the dental meeting industry and we believe our exhibitors are our partners in that endeavor. We strive to enhance our meetings for the success of all participants and I hope the 2008 Spring meeting was a positive experience for you and your company.

When is the CDA (and all associations for that matter) going to stop inflating these attendance numbers and start using the magnetic strip technology on the backs of the badges and release “through the gate” numbers? I guess the members of the associations don’t understand that the exhibitors are subsidizing their membership dues. Think what it would cost for membership if the exhibitors weren’t subsidizing their dues…double, triple, quadruple? To the manufacturers and distributors…it is time to take a stand. The DTA also needs to get more involved. Its great that they published a paper on trade shows, but now its time to take action.



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7 Responses to “Bullsh$t!”

  1. AssociateQ said

    Whoa DI, don’t go around saying that manufacturers and dealers subsidize membership dues. You might get in trouble and anger people.

    But seriously, how much BS are these numbers. I have heard people say that the true attendance what anywhere from 25% to 50% of these published numbers. So exactly what is this? Is this false advertising? Is it OK to lie like this to inflate numbers because they can charge more from everything from booth space to courses if the numbers are higher?

    I mean think if somehow NBC falsified the number of people who watch a particular show in order to command higher advertising fees. There would be hell to pay.

    But somehow in dental this is all OK. They do it at all the shows in February in Chicago. The lab shows seems to have “record turnout” every year, even though the crowds get smaller. But here you have a case where someone is actually saying the “through the door count” what X amount, and anybody I talk to who was at the show – both dentists, manufacturers, dealers, and press say that was not the case at all, not even close.

    I know that someone should call them out on this BS that is for sure.

    DI, do you have an e-mail for whoever published this from the CDA? I would be happy to shoot them an e-mail to try to get clarification.


  2. John Schwartz said

    This is an age old problem. Print media solved it by paying to have circulation audits. This way advertisers are relatively sure they are getting the exposures they are being charged for. Perhaps the industry should require a similar 3rd party audit of attendance at dental shows? J.

  3. AssociateQ said

    John –

    That is a great idea, but the thing is print media is really hitting their numbers so they are willing to put them out there. The shows know they are not getting the attendance, so they might be hesitant to agree to this.

    I think the real problem is that the in this industry the inmates run the asylum. The ADA is the strongest group and the DTA is pretty far down the ladder. And the DTA is really nothing but a joke any how. All they do at those meetings is have contests to see who has the longest johnson. I mean anything that a Steinbock can be President of must be screwed up.

    Plus, the bigger dealers and manufacturers can continue to drop the cash. I have spoken to many at some of these companies and they know going into the situation that it is a loss. But the pressure to attend is so high they can’t back out.

    It’s like peer pressure.


  4. Dental Guy said

    Well, the DTA had their chance with DPR World, and they chose not to participate in an official capacity. So, Advanstar is doing DPR World on their own. Does anyone think that CDA’s attendance was down a bit because more Dentists would prefer to go on trip to Vegas?

    If DPR World succeeds, then there will be some proof that the “new way” is better.

  5. Joe Fazzio said

    The DPR WORLD, what a joke, 4000 people at the CHER Show, 1600 people at the JERSEY BOYS show, 100 dentist maybe or less at the DPR WORLD. I think it was the first and LAST DPR WORLD….

  6. Hans H Nahme said


    It seems to me that we had that discussion before – a long time ago. Remember the SEADMRA (South-East-Asian-Dental-Manufacturers-Association) or whatever the acronyms had been?

    Nothing new on the Western front. Take care


  7. Confused Exhibtor said

    Can someone please explain why dentists did not walk the floor?

    What was missing?

    Why do dentists go to tradeshows?

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