Health and happiness are only possible through education

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“Health and happiness are only possible through education”

Curaden Academy’s yearly iTOP Symposium is an opportunity for its top lecturers to hone their prophylaxis skills. (Image: Curaden)

Fri. 22. December 2023


BARCELONA, Spain: Perfect oral self-care is attainable, but mastering the necessary skills is a hands-on affair. In September, 55 leading iTOP lecturers from around the world gathered in Barcelona for Curaden Academy’s nineth iTOP Symposium. The yearly symposium is a pivotal event in prevention, allowing iTOP teachers to share up-to-date knowledge and skills and enabling attendees, in turn, to serve as premier oral health coaches for others.

The dental practice of the future

ITOP—short for individually trained oral prophylaxis—is a hands-on training programme designed by Czech prevention pioneer Dr Jiří Sedelmayer. It sets the gold standard for teaching prevention through a learning-by-doing approach and provides dental professionals with clear guidelines for instructing patients. Furthermore, iTOP is increasingly being implemented at universities, offering dental students a rare opportunity to become oral health coaches for their patients.

The annual iTOP Symposium serves as an important refresher for an international panel of leading iTOP lecturers to keep their own skills at the highest level. Only by mastering perfect individual prophylaxis themselves can they provide other dental professionals, dental students and patients with the most effective instructions on using the right oral hygiene tools and techniques. According to Christine Breitschmid, managing director of Curaden, “It is important to come together once a year to exchange ideas, reinvigorate our commitment and perfect our skills. We must promote the idea that taking care of our oral health is synonymous with taking care of our overall health and happiness. Health and happiness are only possible through education.”

Hands-on programme for a new generation of dental professionals

Modern dentistry is becoming increasingly patient-centred, emphasising education and long-term health. In addition, a growing number of patients are becoming more conscientious and proactive about their oral health. They seek out dental professionals who prioritise prevention and wellness, driving the industry towards preventive care.

This year’s symposium in Barcelona reflected this new direction with a series of lectures that highlighted the patient’s perspective. Dental hygienist Sabina Floridia presented her experiences with the BOB-App, a smart practice app that connects dental professionals with their patients and supports regular recalls.

“You are in cooperation with the patient, not to direct, but to listen and guide based on their motivation and stories.”—Dr Viktoriia Gabal

Behavioural change was also a prominent topic. According to speaker Dr Mário Rui Araújo, an expert in health psychology, dental professionals need to identify patients’ triggers, their motivational reasons for behavioural change. He explained that it is important “not only to achieve goals but also to find what prompts specific behaviours. This is a new responsibility for dental professionals: to understand the social environment of the patient and build a story together.” This sentiment was echoed by Dr Viktoriia Gabal in her lecture on motivational interviewing. “You are in cooperation with the patient, not to direct, but to listen and guide based on their motivation and stories.”

The iTOP community is growing. Almost 50,000 dental professionals have been iTOP-trained, and that number is increasing. “It is our mission to contribute to a healthier and happier society and to believe that future and active dental professionals play a crucial role in maintaining and promoting oral health behaviours,” Dr Sunčica Ilija, head of Curaden Academy, concluded.

Dentists interested in taking part in an iTOP seminar can visit and explore the upcoming courses at

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