Dr Graham Gardner – Past President of the European Aligner Society reviews the 3rd Annual Congress in Malta, 7-9 October 2021
It is a pleasure to report back on the European Aligner Society’s first live face to face event in over a year and a half. The EAS hosted the 3rd International congress in Malta which had to be postponed several times from the original date of March 2020.
There was an air of excitement as delegates arrived, the companies unpacked their equipment to set up their incredible stands in the exhibition hall. Colleagues from all over Europe and a number of other countries around the world were once again reunited. The Malta Hilton was a fabulous backdrop to the congress which had initiated a number of workshops on the Thursday 7th October to warm things up. Delegates could choose from a variety of sessions hosted by some of the companies supporting the event, allowing delegates to experience a hands-on experience.
The main plenary session started on Friday 8th October and continued onto Saturday 9th. Although the numbers of delegates was understandably lower than originally hoped for, there were still 350 attendees, and there was a palpable atmosphere of excitement as the first session was opened by the President of EAS, Dr Alain Souchet and his event organising team Dr Tommaso Castroflorio, Dr Francesca Garino and the CEO Dr Les Joffe. The program was designed to address new aspects of aligner orthodontics with the morning sessions dedicated to diagnosis and treatment planning which obviously transcends any specific aligner system – as this is probably one of the most important steps in successful orthodontic treatment.
Without doubt the message coming through is we now have the facility for 3D treatment planning incorporating CBCT scans and the incredible digital advancements using this data to generate 3D tooth movement treatment plans which allow even more realistic visualisation of tooth movement. It is becoming apparent that this incredible digital advancement is allowing us not just to visualise crown movement, but almost more importantly, the root movements as well. The ability to get the roots in the correct place could be more significant to successful outcomes and predictability than we originally thought and CBCTs are giving us the ability to assess this. crowns.
A statement that sticks in my mind as many of us battle with the investment and use of CBCT’s, is that when the lateral ceph x-ray was first introduced most rejected its significance and it took a further 20 years before it was widely accepted in orthodontic treatment planning. People are generally resistant to change and maybe this may be the case for CBCT’s at present? However, the quality of the presentations and the evidence suggested is persuasive that 3D treatment planning is the next evolution in orthodontics. As always, these new horizons are exciting developments in our wonderful world of orthodontics.
The afternoon session and Saturday session moved to clinical tips to improve predictability in aligner therapy. Presenters discussed and presented practical solutions to the common challenges we all encounter in aligner orthodontics and the use of TADs to enhance predictability was a common theme. TAD’s not only offer improved anchorage (directly or indirectly) but can also reduce unwanted vectors of force. Of course, correct placement of the TAD’s is crucial in achieving our treatment objectives. Sound biomechanical knowledge of how to get to the final result influences the placement of TAD’s and once again understanding 3D movement influences TAD placement. Another theme that came out of the presentations is correct staging. The advantage of plastic biomechanics allows us to stage movements sequentially, reduce velocities when appropriate and assess our anchorage requirements precisely. Pushing the envelope to include orthognathic surgery was impressive to see. It was refreshing to see different aligner systems coming to market and producing some impressive results.
With aligner therapy now a mainstream approach to successful orthodontics, EAS was delighted to announce the introduction of European Board of Aligner Orthodontics Certification for excellence in aligner orthodontics. The accreditation process will require 5 cases to be submitted by candidates to the accreditation board, including presentation of the cases and an oral exam which will then result in the prestigious EAS accreditation confirming excellence in aligner therapy. Details of the process can be found on the EAS website and is open to anyone confident in treating with aligners.
The welcome return to live events made me realise, more than ever, how much I had missed them. Online meetings are great for short presentations but one forgets how wonderful a live event is until you are back in an auditorium sharing the learning experience with other enthusiastic colleagues and being educated and entertained by the different personalities and presentation styles of our esteemed presenters. Being able to ask questions face to face, interact with the presenters and share ideas with colleagues is a welcome return.
Finally, I would like to thank the Maltese people who made us feel very welcome. Their friendliness and obvious patriotism to their wonderful country is heart-warming to see. I will not forget our tour guide, one evening, who epitomised this as she so proudly shared their heritage in the historic and walled town of Medina. To the delegates and companies who made it across to Malta we thank you for a wonderful few days together and getting the ball rolling to live events.
The European Aligner Society looks forward to welcoming delegates to its Spring Meeting in Porto, Portugal on 6-7th May 2022 (dates to be confirmed), then the 4th Congress in the wonderful city of Turin on 11-13th May 2023. For more information please visit https://www.eas-aligners.com/.