The look on his face said it all. I trusted him immediately.

That is what I was thinking as I had a serendipitous meeting with the guest of honor, American Dental Association President Dr. William R. Calnon, two weekends ago at the Western Regional Dental Convention in Phoenix.

During our famous Friday night "social," we hang around, let our hair down and get to know each other as people. As I was searching for some common ground to welcome our guest of honor, I was amazed at the connection that just seemed to happen naturally.

My wife and I are dentists from a small town in Arizona and here we found ourselves speaking with the president of this national professional organization. Both my wife, Debbie, and I knew immediately that we connected with him. We three bonded when we discovered he was a "dentistry junkie" like us.

In this case we talked about some shared dental experiences from the 1970s through 1996, when we all lived and practiced in New York state. We all were very involved in the same state dental society and reminisced about all the folks we knew and respected.

Debbie brought up the memory of a past editor of the New York State Dental Journal whom we all remembered as a very special guy. I recalled his first name, Bernie.

Bill's face contorted with concentration as his mind worked overtime to recall Bernie's last name. After less than a minute he blurted "Tillis. Bernie Tillis."

This is where the buzz comes from for a dentistry junkie. We remembered how comforting it was to be around a person like Bernie. Trust is a very powerful drug that fuels our souls. In that moment of bonding as human beings, our circle of trust extended to include Bill. We rejoiced in the memory of Bernie with a spontaneous high five.

Our thanks to Dr. Calnon and ADA District 14 Trustee Dr. Gary Yonemoto for coming and sharing in the heart and soul of a state dental society willing to tackle the issue of racing to relevancy as best we can.

During that weekend the ADA saw us learning, meeting, connecting, convening, discussing, voting, dancing, laughing, cheering, standing to applaud, shedding some tears, remembering those who have passed, and sharing our families and our frailties.

It was quite a weekend for us dental junkies. I am so glad we got to share our efforts to remain bonded as we evolve to relevancy.

Enjoy the journey,

Bob and Debbie

Bob and Debbie Oro are delegates of the Southern Arizona Dental Society to the House of Delegates of the Arizona Dental Association. They practice dentistry and live in Oro Valley.