Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  See the Chicago Blackhawks vs Boston Bruins with your CDS colleagues April 3


Blackhawks vs Bruins

Sunday, April 3 • 11:30 a.m. matinee start

Join your friends and colleagues from the Chicago Dental Society for a special matinee game at the United Center featuring the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks and one of their Original Six rivals. CDS has reserved two non-adjacent suites stocked with food and refreshments for the Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Boston Bruins on Sunday, April 3. The puck drops at 11:30 a.m. (may be subject to change)

  • Price: $175/each (face value: $218.75)
  • Limit: Two tickets per member
  • Tickets on sale online only in the CDS Store.
  • Phone and fax orders will not be accepted.

The United Center is located at 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago. 

Parking is not included.

Tickets will be mailed in March. 


Permanent link  Connecting at the Midwinter Meeting - A Social Media How-To


Setting up a profile on Facebook and/or Twitter is an easy way to engage with the CDS community and stay up-to-date on the latest Midwinter Meeting news. 

Twitter page

Facebook page   

Join the Chicago Dental Society online community for updates and information during the Midwinter Meeting. Start by setting up and customizing your own profile on Facebook and/or Twitter.  Find and follow us on Twitter @Chicago_Dental and on Facebook.  From there, you can start engaging with CDS’s posts and network with the CDS community. Check your newsfeed on each social media channel for updates and news from CDS during the Midwinter Meeting. 

On Facebook, you can engage by liking, commenting and sharing posts.  

 like comment share

like Show your support by “liking” a post from CDS.  CDS will receive a notification that you have “liked” their post.

 CommentHave a question or comment regarding a post or photo shared by CDS during the Midwinter Meeting? Simply comment under the post and CDS staff can answer your question on the spot.

 Share"Share" a post from CDS to quickly share this information with all your Facebook friends. When you “share” a post, it will show up on your friends’ newsfeed.

Engage with CDS on Twitter as well, by favoring and retweeting tweets posted on our Twitter page.  

Retweet favoring bar

Retweet“Retweet” a tweet from CDS to quickly share this information with all your Twitter followers. When you “retweet” a post, it will show up on your followers' home page.

Favor tweetShow your support by “favoring” a Tweet from CDS. CDS will receive a notification that you have “favored” their Tweet. 

You can engage with CDS and share your own Midwinter Meeting experience by creating your own tweets and sharing pictures from the day with the hashtag #CDS16.  

CDS Hastag Example

Facebook and Twitter are not only great ways to stay up-to-the-minute with CDS, but to also be able to network with other dentists and dental professionals within the CDS community. In sharing and posting information, you can create a dialogue with fellow members, and stay in touch with those dentists and individuals you meet at the Midwinter Meeting.


Permanent link  Midwinter Meeting driver alert


Driving alert for users of Lake Shore Drive and I-55

The Illinois Department of Transportation has begun the reconstruction of the northbound U.S. 41 (Lake Shore Drive) ramp to outbound I-55 (Stevenson Expressway). Motorists can expect delays and should allow extra time for trips through this area. During this reconstruction period, drivers wishing to avoid expected delays might consider using the following alternatives when approaching our McCormick Place Campus. Find complete information and driving directions.


Permanent link  CDS Foundation to host Give Kids a Smile Day event


Chicago Dental Society Foundation’s Give Kids A Smile Day

Friday, Feb. 5, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Individuals aged 13-18*

Many children in Illinois are not smiling because of untreated tooth decay. It’s painful and makes it hard for kids to eat, sleep and pay attention in school. On Friday Feb. 5, the Chicago Dental Society Foundation will provide free dental health services to individuals in need, aged 13-18 at the CDS Foundation Clinic at 416 E. Roosevelt Rd., Suite 102, Wheaton.

*Individuals must pre-register by calling Kristen at 312.836.7301 or Melissa at 630.260.8530.

Register now! Together we can give kids a smile.


Permanent link  Dr. Zehak's Installation Address


2016 Installation

Welcome to the 2016 Installation of Officers. It is my extreme honor and privilege to spend the evening with you.

Tonight is a special night for all of us in our beloved Chicago Dental Society. I will briefly discuss what I would like to accomplish with you as president of CDS. As president, I will concentrate our work on energizing our Midwinter Meeting, networking in dentistry, and educating our society. To do these things it is helpful to focus on two key themes: change and doing good for others.

  1. We must embrace changing with the times. That will keep us relevant and meaningful to our members. This is important both to retain current members and to recruit new members.
  2. CDS also needs to continue and expand its efforts of helping and doing good for others. We need to in effect "brand" The Chicago Dental Society as an outstanding humanitarian organization in the Chicagoland area. It will further enhance our respect and visibility in the community.

Two famous people also stressed these themes of change and helping others:

As to change, the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” 

As to doing good for others,Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” We at CDS must continue and expand our efforts to help others by improving the oral health care of our communities.  

However, for CDS to be able to adapt to change and help others, we must maintain financial stability. Through our Midwinter Meeting and other efforts we will do so. My great mentor and 2010 CDS President, Dr. Michael Stablein said in his installation speech, “The Midwinter Meeting is the financial engine that enables CDS, your CDS, to carry on its mission of service to our members and serving the public.” Back then, Dr. Stablein noted at length how CDS had “changed” the Midwinter Meeting over the years and prospered in its efforts ultimately to help our community. We moved and expanded the Midwinter Meeting several times, utilizing ever-larger spaces with more booths and other space – providing not only a fabulous meeting but also, with the net proceeds, a vital source of revenue for charitable oral health care efforts.

What Dr. Stablein said back in 2010 rings true today. Adapting to change, including challenges from the Internet age to live meetings, we need to and can revitalize our Midwinter Meeting. As the Midwinter Meeting thrives, CDS will be more able to help unserved and underserved patients in the greater Chicagoland area and engage in other charitable endeavors.

That leads me further into the theme of helping others. We have much more to do than just reinvigorating the Midwinter Meeting. I will also concentrate on dental networking and making CDS a common name in Chicago. Heightened awareness and influence of CDS can lead to membership growth. Membership growth, along with the added involvement of those new members, makes CDS more able to give back to our communities. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’”

CDS has a solid track record helping others already, which I am thrilled to have been a part of. Back in 2001, we started a philanthropy program through a committee called Grants and Donations. Among other things, CDS made 79 grants totaling $4.6 million, gave 837 scholarships totaling around $460,000, and gave $1.5 million to UIC and SIU. We must not forget our dental schools and the importance of our society’s future members and leaders!  

In 2006, the CDS Board founded the CDS Foundation of which I was also proud to be a member. The CDS Board to this day stands behind the CDS Foundation and has been there for its assistance, as it is still a fledgling organization. CDS just recently gave the CDS Foundation $500,000 to support the foundation's clinic in Wheaton. My dream is for the CDS Foundation to open a clinic in Cook County, where it is desperately needed.  

I would now like to take a few minutes and give credit to our amazing and caring dental family. Just recently, I again witnessed first hand how fantastic our dental community is and how we stick together through thick and thin. It was very sad for my immediate family with the recent lost of my mother-in-law who passed away Oct. 16. The outpouring of our dental family’s love to our family was amazing and unbelievable. It truly helped my wife and me get through a time of sorrow and grieving. Our extended dental family is amazing and our family thanks all of you.   

And now I would like to take a few minutes and thank all the people who have mentored and helped me. Time and your patience aren't unlimited, so I'll name only a few, but even if I don't name you please do know that I do thank you for all your help. I will start by thanking those who have gone with me to so many of the branches, societies, and associations to promote the CDS and its Midwinter Meeting. Among them I'll mention specifically my General Chairman, Dr. Jun Lim, and my Program Chairman Dr. Melanie Watson. The three of us will never forget the times together at many, many different meetings. And the Midwinter Meeting could not have been put together without our Directors of Scientific Programs – Drs. Al Kleszynski and Ted Borris

One of my greatest mentors, Dr. Michael Stablein, is looking down from heaven and not only taught me so much, but he was a visionary and a wonderful brother. 

Some (of my predecessors) looking down from heaven were very important in mentoring me include Drs. David Fulton Sr., Irwin Robinson, Leo Finley and Alan Shapiro.

Three people are here who are partly responsible for why I ran for CDS office, and have given me many ideas – Drs. Davey Fulton Jr., Bill Kort and John Gerding – and Joe Hagenbruch

Among those here with us tonight are: Drs. Dino Nicholas, who does so much for me daily, Drs. Richard Caraba, Sy Wachtenheim, Sam Cascio, Walter Lamacki, Joe Unger and Bob Unger, Paul Smulson, my brother and personal photographer, and all of my West Side Branch family and the Progressive Club for giving me a chance. 

Of course, I want to thank all of my fellow officers, and my (professional) twin sister who is always there for me, Cheryl Watson-Lowry, and all of the officers and directors, including without limitation (as our lawyer friends would say) Drs. Michelle Jennings, Kim Bolden,Illie Pavel and Astrid Schroetter

And then there is the amazing CDS Staff. They are the best. I would like to thank the following: Randy Grove, executive director; Barry Ranallo, associate executive director; sweet and efficient Lennoree Cleary, administrative assistant to the executive director; Will Conkis, director of publications/managing editor; Rachel Schafer, manager of communications; Lisa Girardi, director of exhibit services; Joanne Girardi, director of member services; Dr. Ted Borris, director of scientific programs; Tom Long, publications coordinator/designer (my idol in computer design); Helen Rabitoy, receptionist and manager of mediation/peer review; the genius behind the money, Mohammed Adil, manager of finance and information systems; Lisa Hosley, assistant director of member services; Maura Condon, publications administrative assistant; Nathan Pease, administrative assistant finance/exhibits; Angela Powell, administrative assistant scientific programs; and our newest member, Joe DeRosier, staff writer. 

Next, I thank my family. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. Starting with my wife, the love of my life, Maria. There are no words to express how fantastic a wife, mother and office manager she is. She has a heart of gold. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her and God. I have three beautiful children and love them all dearly. My oldest son, David, who couldn’t be here tonight, is a personal trainer and has trained some important sports figures. My middle child, Natalie, is getting her Master’s degree in teaching from Loyola. Not only does she do a fantastic job there, she shops with me and runs half-marathons while I run 5Ks. We have a great dad-daughter relationship. My youngest son, Connor, is a senior at Purdue doing well, studying biology, is in pre-dental and has a fantastic personality.

Next is my one and only fantastic and always-there-for-you, sister Linda, my sister-in-laws, Sylvia, Laura and Mimma who are fantastic and treat me like a brother, and my fine nephews and nieces. My and Maria’s parents are in heaven looking down. I only wish I could thank them in person for all they did for me.

Last but not least, there is my office staff. They are great, knowing that I am away from the office a lot. Gerri Vondras is the front desk receptionist, and my wonderful dental assistant is Veronica Salas. 

In conclusion, the Chicago Dental Society is the greatest dental society on Earth. We are so blessed to be apart of it. Let’s confront and embrace change with the times so we can keep it that way and help others even more.

To inspire us further, I will end with three of my favorite quotes. The first two are from Albert Einstein. He said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” He also said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Einstein challenged us to constantly imagine and change with the times.

I started with a quote from President John F. Kennedy, and I would like to end with one to leave you with as a final thought. President Kennedy said this, and it has stuck in my mind since I was a little boy, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  I would like to change that quote a little and suggest the following: “My fellow CDS members and family, ask not what your CDS can do for you, but ask what you can do for CDS to keep it the best dental society in the world, and ask what we can do to help others. ”   

Thank you and God Bless!