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EAS Spring Meeting: Clear aligner treatment is not a revolution; it’s an evolution

From left to right: Dr Tommaso Castroflorio, EAS Scientific Chairman, Dr Sean K. Carlson, and Dr Francesco Garino, EAS President. (Photograph: Mauro Calvone)
Nathalie Schüller, DTI

Nathalie Schüller, DTI

Wed. 3. April 2019


VENICE, Italy: For the Spring Meeting of the European Aligner Society (EAS), the organisers again chose the splendid Hilton Molino Stucky hotel on Giudecca island, right across from Venice, the location of its last congress. The event was held on 29 to 31 March and attracted 354 attendees from 41 countries, confirming the need of practitioners to experience the latest developments and their interest in learning from experts about aligner technology, an area of continual growth.

EAS was founded by colleagues from Italy, the UK and France as a society aiming to be the main continuing development provider for professionals in aligner therapy. It holds various educational events, including its biennial meeting and interim congresses. The society’s goal is to continue to explore the ongoing advances in the technology and techniques of aligner orthodontics. At the Spring Meeting, new board ambassadors were introduced: Dr Jose Luis Gandia to represent Spain, Dr Sandra Tai of Canada to represent North America, Dr Gina Theodoridis to represent Greece and Dr John Kaku to represent Japan.

The programme kicked off on Friday with pre-congress company lectures, covering aligner orthodontics, light-accelerated treatment options, photo-biomodulation, artificial intelligence and digital orthodontics, hybrid aligner treatment and software protocols, treatment plan optimisation, advanced monitoring and CBCT integration.

On Saturday, the topics of the plenary session were varied. Dr Stephen Chang from Taiwan discussed aligner biomechanics. Teen treatments were the focus of the presentation by Dr Julia Haubrich of Germany. She included a walkthrough of some cases she had treated, one of which was the case of a disabled patient who could be treated remotely only because of aligner technology and the collaboration of his parents, who acted as her clinical assistants in the treatment process. Haubrich also mentioned the importance of giving back to others and referred to Align Technology’s charitable campaign, Act of Random Kindness (ARK), launched in 2015. ARK offers Invisalign treatments to patients with oral challenges who, for medical reasons, cannot be treated with fixed orthodontic appliances but can be treated with aligners.

Enhancing orthodontic treatment and diagnosis using 3-D technology was the theme of the presentation by Dr Sean K. Carlson of California, who told a captivated audience that in orthodontics, as in life, the more information you have, the better off you are, and only then can the best results be achieved. To stay on top of technology, one can never rest and stop learning. All the information one learns from a case is of no use if the associated findings, research and experiences are not shared. He stated, “The more you experience, the better the clinician you become.” This fits in perfectly with the EAS concept of giving dentists a platform for presenting their research and cases and a forum for showcasing the latest developments in aligner treatment.

Dr Cristina Viyuela of Spain explored the keys to obtaining a perfect finish and management of the posterior open bite. Dr Federico Migliori of Italy spoke about asymmetries and aligners, from digital planning to treatment mechanics. It is clear that, even though human beings crave symmetry, most things in the world are asymmetric. Orthodontics deals with finding the symmetries and correcting asymmetries and taking advantage of the great tools it has in order to plan precisely.

To conclude Saturday’s plenary session, digital dentistry came alive via a Skype presentation by Dr Christian Coachman from Brazil, as the first part of a paper delivered in collaboration with Dr Kenji Ojima of Japan. His theme was about staying ahead of the game with comprehensive facially driven digital dentistry using digital smile design and aligners.

To Coachman, aligner therapy is making a little magic happen in bringing the restorative and orthodontic world together by using technology to blend tooth movement and restorations. To him, “Aligner congresses do not belong to a specialty; they belong to dentistry in general.” Coachman believes in a future where there will be no freehand procedures—everything will be guided. Modern patients will not agree to treatments unless they can see what is being planned, understand what is going to happen and have the possibility of controlling the results. It is clear to him that “the better the smile designer we become, the more we see the benefits of orthodontics in our restorative cases”.

To conclude the meeting on the third day, attendees could choose different company workshops to attend for in-depth coverage and experience of the specific topics discussed during the company lectures of the first day.

A fitting conclusion, which describes what we are seeing in dentistry today, would be Leon C. Megginson’s paraphrase: “According to Darwin’s Origin of Species, it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”

The EAS meeting was able to demonstrate to attendees that one cannot advance in aligner treatment if one does not use the technologies available and take the time to continuously educate oneself.

With the theme of “Let’s go invisible!”, the third EAS congress will be held in Malta from 19 to 21 March 2020. The Maltese minister of health will open the congress, where the latest innovations will be presented by an international line-up of speakers. Attendees can expect two days of plenary lectures, interspersed with breakout sessions and workshops, followed by a half-day of company workshops. The full programme will be announced in November on www.eas-aligners.com.

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