Real-World Insights from AADOM Authors - Sharon Garner, FAADOM, author of blog post on preparing for AADOM Conference

If you are a newbie (first-time attendee) preparing for AADOM Conference this year, welcome – you have found your tribe!

And boy, are you in for the best conference experience of your life!

You’ll not only come away with a ton of information but will make new connections with others who walk your path every day.

Then, you’ll return to your office energized and ready to take your practice to new heights, with resources and connections you never knew existed.

Here are a few suggestions to help make your AADOM Conference experience amazing:

Before the conference

Research and book your courses in advance

Begin looking at course selection early in order to ensure you get the classes you want during registration.

Some courses book up quickly.

When you get that all-important e-mail announcing that the AADOM conference registration site is open, start researching the courses right away.

Click on each link and read the course description. Some courses are listed for FAADOM advanced members only.

Register as early as possible.

New courses are often added while registration is open, so you will have the time and ability to change your selections.

Reserve your hotel room

AADOM reserves a block of rooms, which often sell out.

If your doctor is paying for your hotel and you do not have a corporate credit card, request and submit a “Credit Card Authorization Form” from the hotel to avoid problems when you check-in without having the credit card physically present.

Request to join the AADOM Annual Conference Facebook page

A ton of valuable information for preparing for AADOM conference is posted on our Facebook page, as well as questions and answers from other attendees.

The Facebook page remains active for a period of time after the conference for follow up questions and connections, after which AADOM posts a date it will close for that year.

Be sure to sign up for the Newbie Orientation, held the morning of the first full conference day before the opening ceremony.

There, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the conference and meet returning attendees who will share hints and take you under their wing.

During the conference

Meals and networking opportunities

Breakfast and lunch are provided to conference attendees each day (with only breakfast on Saturday).

Dinner is on your own, and many conference attendees take advantage of the opportunity to explore the area outside the hotel in the evenings.

Groups will post to the conference Facebook page and invite interested people to meet and join them.

Do NOT be hesitant to approach an AADOM group eating in the hotel or at one of the tables during one of the sessions.

We are a very friendly bunch and love connecting!

Bring your business cards to exchange and build your network!


Make sure to attend lunch Thursday and Friday, where each year’s awards are announced – Practice Administrator of the Year, Dental Practice Administrators of Distinction, Green Leader, Chapter of the Year, and Dentrix Dental Practice of the Year.

Also, during lunch, FAADOM, MAADOM, and DAADOM inductee classes are presented for graduation, with all its pomp and circumstance.

Goodies and take-aways

You will be provided with a tote for all your vendor goodies at conference check-in, as well as your name badge and official conference directory.

Make sure you leave extra room in your suitcase – you’ll be taking home some extra stuff to keep or share with your team!

You will also receive a document called “Action Plan” which you can use to write your three biggest takeaways from each course. More on this in a bit.

Your name badge

That name badge mentioned above has the best-kept secret – your entire conference schedule and conference room numbers are printed right there and worn around your neck.

Make sure you wear your badge during the conference.

Some of the courses require your badge to be scanned for attendance and CE credit.

Dress Considerations

Bring a sweater. Some of the conference break-out rooms can be chilly.

Speaking of clothing, preferred attire is business casual although you’ll see a range from capris and sandals to nice suits.

Remember to pack a swimsuit if you’ll be checking out the pool, and casual temperature-appropriate attire with comfortable walking shoes for venturing off in the evenings.

Outside activities

Every year, a group of dedicated walkers and runners makes itself known.

You’ll see a Facebook notification about a group meeting early in the morning before the conference to get a quick workout in.

Provided necessities

A pen and paper for notetaking, as well as water, is provided in each break-out room.

Some of the break-out rooms are set up with tables and chairs, and some only have chairs.


Notetaking can be a challenge on your lap, so consider bringing a clipboard, portfolio, book, laptop computer, or something else.

Most courses also allow you to take pictures of slides with your phone but won’t allow you to video the entire presentation.

AADOM Chapter booth

Visit the AADOM Chapter booth to learn more about local chapters to help keep you inspired all year with connections to people right in your area.

Check out the many early registration specials at the AADOM booth for next year, and consider signing up for FAADOM, MAADOM or DAADOM induction.

Exhibitor Adventure

During breaks, the Exhibitor Adventure happens.

Attendees go around to the many vendor booths, pick up some amazing information, and have their Exhibitor Adventure form signed.

Once the minimum number of signatures has been obtained, forms are turned in at the registration booth to be entered in a drawing.

Each vendor donates a door prize for the end-of-conference drawing on Saturday. You must be present to win.

In the past, we’ve had Tiffany jewelry, Apple watches, tablets, Coach and MK purses, gift cards and other incredible items.

Several of the vendors also offer drawings throughout the conference, so keep your eyes open!

After the conference

Remember that “Action Plan” mentioned before?

On the way home, take a few minutes to review what you wrote and make some more notes.

When you return to your office, full of excitement and all the knowledge you gained at the AADOM annual conference, meet with your doctor.

Share what you learned with them for two reasons:

First, so that they see the value in the conference (and hopefully send you back).

Second, so that you can jointly make decisions on what to implement and how to best do so.

Now, go back to “Before” and repeat the entire process as soon as possible when preparing for AADOM Conference…Opens in a new window to AADOM Conference site… next year!

Meet the Author

AADOM Author Sharon GarnerSharon Garner has been a Practice Administrator since 2011 and joined AADOM in 2016. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. She was inducted as a Fellow of AADOM in 2017 and was been nominated for Practice Administrator of the Year three times. Twice she was awarded Dental Practice Administrator of the Year. She is currently pursing induction as Master of AADOM, with plans to ultimately be inducted as a Diplomat of AADOM.

Sharon lives in Maryland with her husband, Jeff, and has three sons and three wonderful grandchildren. She is an active volunteer with Special Olympics Maryland, is the Secretary of Charles County Volunteer Rescue Squad and works with a local kitten foster group to help find their loving fur-ever homes. Sharon is an avid lifelong learner, enjoys taking every dental management course she can find and loves sharing her knowledge with her amazing dental team members.


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