Aligner orthodontics: EAS summer meeting in Portugal offers clinical and technical expertise

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Aligner orthodontics: EAS summer meeting in Portugal offers clinical and technical expertise

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The second EAS summer meeting was held in Oporto in Portugal. (Image: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

OPORTO, Portugal: The second European Aligner Society (EAS) summer meeting, held at the Hilton Porto Gaia hotel on 1 and 2 July, was attended by 276 dental professionals and 11 exhibitors, who presented their products in two dedicated areas. Held under the theme “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.

Commenting on the meeting turnout, EAS CEO and Executive Secretary Dr Leslie 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.”

The congress opening address was given by EAS 2022–2023 President Dr Tommaso Castroflorio and EAS Scientific Chairman Dr Francesco Garino. Dr 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.

To conclude the morning session, Dr Castroflorio spoke about the European Board of Aligner Orthodontics’ (EBAO’s) certification of excellence in aligner orthodontics, introduced during the third biennial EAS congress, and the accreditation process. He also announced EAS’s partnership with Align Technology, aimed at elevating education standards in orthodontic aligner therapy. Align will be advocating its educational programmes as preparation for the EBAO Clinical Master, and EAS recognises them as being compliant with the EBAO clinical guidelines and objectives.

Information on the EBAO Clinical Master process can be found on the EAS website.

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 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 was most enjoyable.

A highlight of EAS meetings is learning about new technology and how to apply techniques, and attendees thus look forward to the workshops and in-depth courses. 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. Tracy Posner who attended the session commented: “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.” 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.

Attendee Dr Karolína Floryková, from the Czech Republic, told Dental Tribune International: “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.”

The Italian city of Turin, the home of Drs Castroflorio and Garino, will host the fourth biennial EAS congress from 11 to 13 May 2023. The theme of the congress will be “The next level”. In aligner orthodontics, the technology is progressing so fast that it would not be an overstatement to say that the event will have much new to report.

Impressions from the EAS summer meeting 2022

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