Reflecting on the Summer Meeting
The second European Aligner Society (EAS) Summer Meeting, held in the spectacular World Heritage city of Porto in Portugal on 1 and 2 July, was attended by 276 dental professionals.
Delivered under the overriding theme of "Aligners and 3D planning: From virtual to real", the event provided a day of lectures and a day of workshops and in-depth courses hosted by leading aligner and treatment planning companies. 11 exhibitors presented their latest innovations in two dedicated event areas.
The congress opening address was given by EAS 2022–2023 President Dr Tommaso Castroflorio and EAS Scientific Chairman Dr Francesco Garino.
Professor Castroflorio emphasised the importance of science and technology and EAS’s goal of benefiting its 600 members by inviting “Real innovators to share their knowledge to improve everybody’s work”.
He further stated that EAS “Always strives for excellence and has a need to show that excellence is possible with aligner orthodontics”.
With the stage set, Dr Victoria Martin gave the first presentation, describing her virtual planning routine and mistakes to avoid. She advised attendees to consider attachments on the anterior teeth because without them some movements are impossible and to order fewer aligners and adjust the number ordered as the treatment progresses. Ordering all the aligners at the beginning of the treatment creates waste, takes up office space and pushes up the treatment cost. Finally, she emphasised the importance of respecting the biological limits and of taking good photographs to develop a treatment plan that respects them, the software not being able to do it for the practitioner.
Dr Bruno Filipe Almeida Gomes talked about movement predictability in the analysis of the treatment plan. He highlighted that predictability supports good results and that in this regard aligners offer something conventional treatments do not: control. The biological limits are the basis of a treatment plan, and for a good treatment plan, the amount of movement to be done as well as the type and the sequence of movements need to be well defined, he advised.
In his presentation on Invisalign with mandibular advancement in Class II malocclusions, Dr Pedro Costa Monteiro made it clear that dentists should fully exploit technology. Furthermore, he emphasised that the airway is crucial in early orthodontic treatment: a patient who does not breathe normally will face many problems in their future lives which can be addressed interceptively while they are young.
In the afternoon, Dr Bruce McFarlane went over the advantages of using Henry Schein SLX/Reveal clear aligners. He explained that the design and material and fabrication method used make it possible to have fewer attachments, aligners that are less visible and reduced risk of staining.
Matthias Peper, founder and managing director of TP SOLUTION, explored whether there is a science behind digital treatment plans in complex aligner orthodontics. A master dental technician, he pointed out the importance of the dental practitioner giving as much information as possible to the dental technician to achieve a successful digital treatment.
Dr Vincenzo d’Antò discussed aligner treatment of patients with dentoalveolar asymmetries. According to him, the only way to plan predictable movements is to move the crown, not the root. The clinical tips he gave were to evaluate elastic biomechanics, to be careful with jumps and ask why the dentist would want to plan the jump and to consider extractions as an option.
The first day concluded with a visit to and tour of the Ferreira cellars to learn about the winery’s history and to taste the famous port wine. The welcome reception with Portuguese cuisine as well as fado music, which was supported by Align Technology, made for a celebratory conclusion to the first day of learning. As a result, white port with tonic is the new favoured tipple of the author!
A highlight of EAS meetings is learning about new technology and how to apply techniques, and attendees were invited to a series of workshops and in-depth courses on the second day.
On Saturday morning, Intensiv SA, SprintRay, ORTHOiN3D, Clear TPS and DentalMonitoring offered five 45-minute workshops in five sessions, making it possible for delegates to attend each of them.
Dr Paolo Manzo presented the DentalMonitoring workshop, during which he explained how using the company’s software can improve the dentist’s practice and relationship with patients. The smart algorithm supports the dentist in detecting problems and checking treatment progress based on intra-oral images taken and submitted by the patient, reducing the need for office visits. The patient can contact the dentist directly via the app, and the dentist can chat with the patient too but can decide when, where and how.
Longer courses were held on Saturday afternoon.
Align Technology hosted a practical discussion on complex cases in teens by Dr Ramón Mompell and a session in which Zelko Relic, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Align, explored reimagining digital orthodontics and Dr Costa Monteiro described his experiences of treating growing patients with the Invisalign system, demonstrated with examples of some of the challenging cases he has treated. His kick-off point was the use of the newly enhanced aligners for young patients which enable mandibular advancement, and he went on to share in depth his tips and tricks for getting the most from the Invisalign innovations. This proved to be fertile ground for a slew of questions from engaged delegates keen to pick the brains of such an experienced Invisalign master.
Meanwhile in Henry Schein’s course, Dr McFarlane, with great enthusiasm, presented on aligner treatment efficiencies and Class II and III correction with SLX/Reveal aligners.
Commenting on the meeting turnout, EAS CEO and Executive Secretary Dr Les Joffe said:
“When we met in Malta, we had a lower attendance than expected because of travel restrictions due to the corona pandemic. This time, many airlines were either striking or cancelling flights and some of the registered attendees just could not make the trip for this reason, having to cancel the day prior or the day our meeting started. I was able to offer them livestreaming, but it is of course not the same as attending the meeting live. I think as well that some people are still scared of COVID. I would have liked more attendees, but I am still pleased with the turnout.”
Meanwhile delegate Dr Karolína Floryková, from the Czech Republic, expressed:
“For me, coming to a congress is not ‘just’ about getting knowledge and information about new products and techniques. It is about meeting old friends, meeting new ones and making unforgettable memories. Coming to the EAS meeting gives me a feeling of being part of something bigger, ‘fresher’, something that keeps growing like a living organism and which never stagnates. It pushes me to be better every day, to be the best I can be, to do world-class orthodontics in a small-town office.”
Professor Castroflorio concluded:
“I think it was a successful event because we had a good representation of the members of the orthodontic profession and all the main players in the field in terms of companies involved in aligner orthodontics and in digital orthodontics. Sometimes we forget that the EAS is not only focused on custom aligner orthodontics, but also on every aspect of digital orthodontics, and today we are living in a phase in which orthodontics is involved in huge developments in terms of 3D printing new materials. I think that this event was a good representation of what is new and innovative in the field”.
The European Aligner Society looks forward to welcoming delegates to its 4th Congress in the wonderful city of Turin on 11-13th May 2023.
For more information, please visit EAS website.