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“Shaping the dental future” with 100 years of success at IDS

Mark Stephen Pace is chairman of the board of IDS co-organiser the Association of the German Dental Industry. (Image: Koelnmesse/IDS Cologne)

Tue. 21. February 2023


The 40th IDS marks 100 years of the trade fair, and this is surely a reason to celebrate, says Mark Stephen Pace, chairman of the board of the Association of the German Dental Industry, co-organiser of the event. In this interview, he shares his thoughts about the anniversary and the ways in which this IDS takes history in its stride while looking far into the future.

Mr Pace, what ideas come to mind when you think of the 100-year anniversary of IDS?
I have always experienced IDS as what it primarily is, the leading dental industry event. At IDS, we regularly see state-of-the-art technology and current innovations from the dental industry. Dentists, dental technicians and their teams come here to experience what they could gain from new concepts and products. This leads to lively discussions, which are always a stimulating experience. IDS has been achieving this for longer than the span of a typical human life—this fascinates me! At the same time, I find difficult it to comprehend the amount of courage shown by the initiators of the trade fair considering that in 1923, when the first IDS was held, Germany was in a state of crisis.

How can one seek to do justice to this long tradition while also focusing on the future of dental practice?
I tell myself that it took a great deal of effort to initiate IDS and to maintain its growth with an ingenious concept. We will be celebrating this and doing justice to a long tradition by pausing for a moment to look back. Primarily, we will be taking a close look at innovations and thus preparing ourselves for the next 100 years. At its essence, IDS 2023 will strike a balance between reviewing dental revolutions of the past and offering a careful preview of those to come.

IDS 2023 will mark 100 years of the dental exhibition—pictured is the 1986 iteration of the event. (Image: Koelnmesse/IDS Cologne)

How have you determined what pioneering advancements from the past to highlight and what promising areas of innovation to discuss?
This can be best determined by looking at different innovations that have been or are currently being presented at IDS. For instance, one example from the past is the replacement of vulcanite with heat-polymerising polymethylmethacrylate resin as a denture material. This year, the extended range of indications of the intra-oral scanner and the possible applications of artificial intelligence are likely to attract a great deal of attention.

Could you explain your example of denture acrylic resin in a little more detail?
In the first third of the 20th century, vulcanite was the denture material of choice, despite it having several downsides. Patients did not find it to be overly comfortable, and the material was associated with unpleasant odours that developed owing to the added sulphur content. Nonetheless, masticatory function could be carried out. It was the best material available at the time, and it heralded a massive step forward compared with the 19th century. But polymethylmethacrylate heat-polymerising resin set a new standard when it was presented at IDS in 1937—including a practical procedure for processing. It gave patients unprecedented wearing comfort, and this acrylic resin is still widely used around the world.

You mentioned expanded applications for intra-oral scanners. What can visitors expect from the 40th IDS in this regard?
Dental professionals have become familiar with the benefits of using an intra-oral scanner, for example being able to produce impressions without impression material. Many patients prefer the improved comfort that this digital procedure offers, and they are surprised to hear that it can be superior to elastomeric impression taking in terms of accuracy for smaller restorations, up to small-span bridges. However, the use of physical impressions remains indispensable, including in areas that are difficult to see or in broad areas of implant prosthetics.

In the future, the intra-oral scanner will also be used for preliminary examination and in caries diagnosis, and this information will complement that gained from clinical and radiographic examination. This also brings us to the topic of artificial intelligence, which is particularly effective in detecting structures and patterns in images, such as those indicating caries and caries-free areas.

“IDS 2023 will strike a balance between reviewing dental revolutions of the past and offering a careful preview of those to come.” 

The use of intra-oral scanners and pattern recognition software that employs artificial intelligence will also help to change the way that dentists and dental clinics communicate with patients. Using intra-oral images, the goals of treatment and options available can often be explained much more clearly to patients.

How has the format of IDS evolved in the past?
For 100 years, IDS has been a classic trade fair—classic in the sense that visitors attend the event in person in order to experience it. In the past three years, the fair has developed to also include hybrid visitation. Like in 2021, IDS 2023 will again offer digital features. IDSconnect gives visitors and exhibitors alike the possibility of preparing for their time in the exhibition halls, of meeting in virtual rooms and exchanging ideas, and of following up on conversations and meetings held at IDS 2023, after the event. These tools will be utilised to an even greater extent in the future.

At the same time, I see an increase in appreciation of face-to-face meeting in the exhibition halls. We are social beings, and in my opinion, visiting the show provides a great feeling, makes it easier to maintain contacts and offers a very human approach. I look forward to many good meetings and intensive exchange within the dental family—on-site or via IDSconnect—at the 40th IDS.

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