A defining milestone for the Society

Our fourth European Aligner Society Congress, held between 11th - 13th May at the Centro Congressi Lingotto in Turin, marked a defining milestone for the EAS - it was the best attended event the Society has staged by some margin. The Congress was attended by 1,095 delegates from 67 countries and was supported by twenty-two companies who presented their products and services.
EAS President Dr Tommaso Castroflorio and EAS Scientific Chairman Dr Francesco Garino gave the opening addresses and talked about the progress made in the development of aligner technology since the Society’s inception, and how this has changed the lives of millions of people around the world. They explained that EAS members represent more than 67 countries and were justifiably very happy with the high attendance at this fourth congress, compared with just over 300 participants at EAS’s first congress in Vienna in Austria in 2016.

Dr Castroflorio explained “EAS has become a platform where researchers and clinicians can start new initiatives, exchange their experiences and learn from one another.” He added: “It is only through this spirit of collaboration that we can move the boundaries of orthodontics and of aligner orthodontics forward.”

He thanked the presenters having accepted the invitation by EAS to share their experience and knowledge with the attendees, giving them inspiration to advance to ‘The next level’ of aligner orthodontics, which to him can only be achieved by collaborating with one another. In the spirit of sustainability, Dr Castroflorio invited attendees to download the United Nations’ AWorld app - https://aworld.org/ - a guide on living in a more sustainable way, with less paper and less plastic (more of which later in this issue).

29 speakers over two days

On the first day in Turin delegates could participate in a range of pre-congress courses and workshops, and for the second time, a dedicated progam was organised for the practice team - as Dr Garino exclaimed: “Without the staff there is no practice!”

Satellite symposia and plenary sessions were delivered by 29 speakers, over the second and third days. These covered the Congress topics of 3D diagnosis, biomechanics, open and deep bite, 3D printing and in-office aligners, auxiliaries and aligners, early treatment, orthodontic surgery, artificial intelligence (AI), multi-disciplinary treatment, orthodontic and restorative care and digital planning, and the future of aligner orthodontics.

Among these presentations was Dr Ravindra Nanda’s on materials, bio-mechanics, 3D printing and temporary anchorage devices (TADs) in aligner treatments. He advised that it is a given that you cannot move teeth and apply force without biomechanics, and it is difficult to know how much force is applied with aligners. In complex cases, according to Dr Nanda, aligner treatment requires the use of TADs and auxiliaries. It is also important to identify the length of time needed for certain types of movements.

According to Dr Nanda, many companies do not perform the research for their products, universities do, and practitioners too often follow the company’s recommendations without the requisite basic information. He feels that orthodontists should decide on treatment plans rather than accept company treatment plans blindly. Therefore, it is necessary to look for evidence-based data from research before adopting any system or treatment plan.

Another highlight was Dr Nikhilesh Vaid’s lecture on orthodontic care driven by AI. The most commonly utilized AI domains were for diagnosis and treatment planning, automated anatomic landmark detection and/or analyses, assessment of growth and development, and evaluation of treatment outcome. He asked whether we know enough about the ethical principles of the use of AI and to consider the warning of its “profound risks to society and humanity”, as asserted in an open letter signed by hundreds of the best-known names in technology, including Elon Musk.

All speakers, emphasized the need for orthodontic critical thinking to achieve excellent clinical results with aligners. And for the most complex cases, the need to use the aids that technology makes available to orthodontics today to achieve results that absolutely overlap with those achievable with conventional orthodontics was emphasized. Aligner orthodontics has become mainstream.

In the poster competition at the congress, first place went to Dr Tarek Elshazly et al. for their poster titled ’Experimental and numerical study of the effect of trimming line design on force generation by orthodontic aligners’.

One of the benefits of EAS membership is that recordings of the Congress plenary sessions will be made available on www.eas-aligners.com for those who would like listen again… or if they were unlucky enough to have missed the meeting. See more reasons to become an EAS member below.

Stressing the importance of stress management, and other workshops

One of the more memorable Congress workshops was deemed to be personally beneficial to all attendees. Dr Ben Bernstein, a US psychologist, also known as ‘The Stress Doctor’, shared his unique approach to recognising and reducing stress to improve delegates’ overall performance and health. He stated: “All of my work is based on the science of how stress affects human performance. To be your best - to perform to your potential -you need to keep your stress at an optimal level.” His session outlined easy-to-grasp core tools delegates could employ to achieve this.

On the same day, 12 aligner companies held workshops in parallel sessions, giving Congress participants the opportunity to attend as many as they wished. These workshops are always a favourite because participants can learn about new technologies in more depth, and explore how to put them to use in daily practice.

Positive feedback

Travel and other pandemic-related restrictions somewhat limited attendance at EAS’s previous two events in Malta and Portugal so the lifting of restrictions was a considerable relief for EAS members who value in-person education; people like Dr Dorottya Frank, an orthodontist from Hungary, who tries to attend as many events as she can, as she is keen to improve her knowledge of aligner treatment, and Dr Maria Soledad Urzua and Dr Carol Weinstein, both from Chile, who come to meetings in Europe once a year. Their consensus was that Europe has gained tremendous momentum in aligner education and development recently, surpassing the US, in their opinion.

Guest speaker Dr Stephane Reinhardt commented: “Incredible event! Not to be missed by anyone who’s interested in clear aligners and want to stay up to date on the subject. Thanks to my friends at ClearTPS and ClearForward, for inviting me and The CLEAR Institute [for inviting me] to lecture at the pre-congress and making me discover this event. It’s only beginning and I’m already looking forward to next year’s meeting.“

Karol Miranda Spark Aligner’s Clinical Manager, from its product innovation team added that the Congress was “The Next Level” whilst Nearchos Panayi, 2nd Research Scientist at Clinic of Orthodontics and Paediatric Dentistry Center of Dental Medicine, at the University of Zurich added “I really enjoyed giving my lecture in an outstanding congress and to a huge audience!!”

The congress ended with a riverside party. During the three hours of eating, music and dancing, participants could let down their hair, enjoy themselves, converse with the Congress speakers, and in a spirit of entente cordiale, network with fellow delegates from the 67 representative countries.

View our image gallery here to bring back happy memories of Turin 2023: https://adobe.ly/3qQGvQL

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