BDJ In Practice and BDJ Student Editor David Westgarth travelled to Croatia in June for the Align Growth Summit 2022.

On Friday 17 and Saturday 18 June, Align's Growth Summit returned to an in-person event in the home of Game of Thrones' King's Landing, aka Dubrovnik.

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©Align Technology

Now, when you read 'Growth Summit' you may well think 'ah it's nothing but a sales conference with clear aligners for breakfast, lunch and dinner' - before I attended the conference I certainly did - but like me, you'd be wrong. Yes, there was plenty of talk about growth, but not how to grow sales - it was how to grow as a practitioner, a decision-maker and a leader in your field.

As consumer expectations as a whole are on the rise, and a clear link between patient expectations and the money paid for a service, there's growing pressure on all service providers to now go above and beyond what's expected just to get customers and patients through the door - and dentistry is not immune to these pressures. In a nutshell, that's what this summit did - it provided you the tools - if you wished to use them - to provide the best patient journey possible. After all, those in attendance didn't need to be lectured on how to be better dentists (although some of the clinical sessions did provide attendees with useful points of reference for troublesome cases), they needed to offer the best.

With speakers from around the world, the summit featured a mix of clinical tips and insights mixed in with that vital ingredient - improving the patient experience. Sessions from Kerry Bodine, Dr Marcos White, Jim Lawless (a personal highlight), Dr Christian Coachman, Dr Affan Saghir and Chris Barrow offered thoughts and insight on how to push the boundaries of the goals you set yourself - 'how does it get better than this?' is one line I'd scribbled down, as it was one question each speaker posed. The line-up itself was an attraction, but for me, the essence of any good conference is the ability to challenge those in the audience, and that's what the 2022 Growth Summit did.