The European Association for Osseointegration meeting opened on Wednesday evening in Dublin, Ireland . The conference theme being ‘Preparing for the Future of Implant Dentistry’.
On the Thursday morning we started with a presentation about the importance of maintaining the bone supporting the teeth and gums after extraction. In a normal extraction we lose 50% of the supporting bone within 4 months. This volume of bone loss can make it difficult to restore the missing tooth later both functionally and aesthetically. Bone loss can however be reduced to about 20% with the immediate use of bone substitutes placed in the extraction socket at the time of extraction making speeding up healing and future restoration of the space more predictable.
The afternoons title was ‘Treatment planning for success-how to get in right.’ and was presented by Dr Mark Pinsky a dentist who is also a commercial airline pilot. The theme revolved around the adoption of airline style checklists to reduce errors in surgery. As a side note we have been using these checklists in the practice for the past two years already and find them extremely useful as treatments and patients medical histories get more complex.
Friday morning we discussed the increasing problem of infection round dental implants and whether it was an infection or just the body trying to reject the implant, the conclusion was that more research needed to be done into this area but both factors were to a degree responsable.
The afternoon covered treating patients with long-term loss of upper back teeth from a quite minimalist approach to major surgery for cancer patients.
By far the most interesting series of lectures was on saturday morning titled ‘Implants in the Aging population’. In a lot of Western countries there are more over 65 year olds than 5 year olds and we discussed the problem of how to manage dental health in the age group 80-100. In fact the population of 100 year olds will increased by 400% in the next 25 years. The biggest problems were dental health, retaining unhealthy teeth into old age and long-term chronic illness. Though this subject is not a political vote winner we do need to acknowledge its existence and positively take charge of the challenges it presents. One strategy was the use of a single implant to stabilise a lower denture which over 10 years has dramatically improved patients quality of life at a significantly reduced cost and level of intervention.I have always found the Saturday morning lectures to be the most thought-provoking and applicable to the real world of dental health.