As you head to the AAO meeting in Miami Beach, here’s a plan for how to get the most out of the exhibit hall and ensure you meet the right suppliers/vendors for your practice’s needs.


We’re back, baby! For many (myself included), this will be the first AAO event they’ve attended since the pandemic. I’m looking forward to walking through the busy AAO exhibit hall, seeing colleagues, and enjoying every ray of sunshine I can get before heading back to the Midwest. (Do you blame me?) It’s also the first time we’ll have a booth for Details Concierge, so come check us out.

The break from in-person AAO events has caused me to reflect (more than usual) on what I want to get out of the conference. Before, it was a matter of routine that I would attend. I’d show up, hit the specific booths I always hit, attend courses, and then wine and dine with friends. This time, I want to do all of this, but more intentionally. My practice partner, Vince Hanson, DMD, MSD, (who would like me to remind you that he’s younger than I am) and I have been thinking through how to get the most out of the event.

Through that discussion I’ve realized that younger orthodontists have a different approach to the AAO. Vince views the booths as an extension of his continuing education process, whereas (traditionally) I’ve viewed them from a shopping perspective. Typically, I would b-line for the suppliers I already use, see what deals I can get, and make a large purchase. Then, wander around and see if anything catches my interest.

But this year, we’re planning ahead. Here’s our approach, which we hope can be helpful for you as well.

First, we reviewed the AAO’s floor map and picked out the suppliers we already work with and want to visit. Then, we listed out additional suppliers/vendors we’ve heard about but haven’t yet had time to research.

Next, we assigned our purchasing concierge from Details to research what other vendors will be there that directly address a few things we’re trying to solve for our practice. This resulted in a short-list of vendors for us to reach out to and with whom we can set expectations ahead of time. “Look, we’re trying to solve for ABC, what’s the best you can do at AAO?”; “We want to meet, but really only have one question for you to answer….”

In other words, we’re flipping the typical funnel from vendors asking for 15 minutes of our time, to us asking for 15 mins with only the vendors we know we want to talk to. Because we’ve set our intentions around what we’re open to, it allows us to not feel obligated to entertain each and every vendor trying to get our attention. It doesn’t hurt that we can give them the email of our purchasing concierge who we use to help vet potential suppliers/vendors (because they understand what we’re looking to achieve inside our practice).

Using this approach, we can knock out any important decisions early, and spend more time “continuing our education” by intentionally visiting vendors that align with ideas we have or challenges we’re overcoming in the practice. And, if I’m being honest, this allows us to spend more time doing what we look forward to most at AAO—hanging out with other orthodontists!

If you’d like the specific plan we put together, or specific vendors that have caught our attention, shoot me an email  at [email protected] and I’d be happy to share them. OP

Send us your thoughts and questions at [email protected] and we will answer them in a future column.

jeff biggs

Jeff Biggs, DDS, MS, is an ABO certified orthodontist with more than 20 years of experience. In addition to actively practicing in Indianapolis, Jeff is the CEO of Orthodontic Details Marketplace, and a sought-after advisor for other practices. Jeff lives in Indianapolis with his wife Amy, and two kids, Drake and Ally.