3rd CONGRESS MALTA - Dr Graham Gardner's report

EAS 3rd Congress Malta 2021 proved a great success, as Dr Graham Gardner, Past President of the EAS reports.

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. 

Dr Graham Gardner, pictured centre, with Dr Francesco Garino (past-President EAS 2018 & 2019) left, and Dr Tommaso Castroflorio (President-elect 2022 / 2023) right.

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 the 9th


Although the number 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 Francesco 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.


Plenary Hall

A strong message that emerged out of the latest advancements presented in the congress is that we now have the possibility of 3D treatment planning incorporating CBCT scans; new software advancements can use this data to generate 3D tooth movement simulations which allow for an even more realistic visualisation of the final tooth position.  It is becoming evident that as this digital advancement evolves it is allowing us not only to more accurately predict crown movement, but assess the root movements as well. The possibility to move the roots to more ideal positions can contribute to even more successful outcomes in the orthodontic treatment with aligners.

A fact worth mentioning here as many clinicians 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? Radiation exposure for patients always remains a factor to consider. 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 encountered 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 the desired 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 was discussed in the presentations is correct staging.  The advantage of plastic biomechanics allows us to stage movements sequentially, reduce velocities when appropriate and assess 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.

EAS 3rd Congress Committee (from left: Dr Leslie Joffe, Dr Jose Gandia, Dr Gina Theodoridis, Dr Francesco Garino, Marco Moschin, Elena Cimenti, Dr Alain Souchet, Dr Tommaso Castroflorio and Dr Graham Gardner)

The welcome return to live events made us realise, more than ever, how much we 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, we 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. Our tour guide, 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 Summer Meeting in Porto, Portugal in July, then the 4th Congress in the wonderful city of Turin on 11-13th May 2023.
For more information, please visit EAS website.

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