Third EAS congress: It finally happened!
ST JULIAN’S, Malta: The third European Aligner Society (EAS) congress was postponed three times owing to coronavirus restrictions, but finally the EAS organisers were able to welcome the congress lecturers and delegates to Hilton Malta in St Julian’s. The event was held on 7–9 October and attracted 221 attendees from 27 countries. Six hundred people had originally registered for the congress, but many cancelled as late as a week before the congress started because of the many restrictions still in place.
The feedback from the attendees leaves no doubt that the fourth EAS congress planned to take place in Turin in Italy in 2023 will be very well attended. Aligner technology is still an area of continual growth, and practitioners cherish events where they can learn more and engage with experts and peers about techniques, cases and problems they have encountered.
The programme traditionally starts with pre-congress company workshops, and this edition was no different. What a better way than hands-on experience to really understand how a technique or product works?
A new dedicated assistants’ session was introduced this year, and participants had the opportunity to learn more on clinical topics such as digital scanning and challenges with bonding procedures, as well as ways to efficiently communicate in their practice and create exceptional experiences for their patients.
Dr Graham Gardner gave a great summary of the plenary sessions in his recently published article. The presentations addressed three main areas: diagnosis and treatment planning, clinical tips and patient perception.
Dr Sean K. Carlson could not attend physically this year, but nonetheless gave a presentation from his home in California in the US, centred on the virtual patient, the “holy grail of orthodontics”. All the information now available in 3D regarding the jaws, root canals, soft tissue and facial features has completely changed how treatment is planned and patients are treated.
Dr Chris Laspos, president of the organising committee for the European Orthodontic Society’s 2022 congress to be held in Cyprus, focused on the limits of treating complex cases with Invisalign and the need for critical thinking when planning and treating a patient. “We cannot treat what we do not see, and if we fail to plan, we plan to fail.”
In the clinical tips session, non-clinical but very important insight was given by Jerko Bozikovic in his lecture on the dilemma of not changing in an ever-changing world and the necessity of reacting to and adapting to change, in which he quoted Epictetus: “It’s not what happens to us but how we react to it that matters.”
The attendees I talked to were evidently very pleased at having attended the congress. Dr Isaac Perle, who has an orthodontic practice in New Jersey in the US and is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the US, told me: “I enjoyed learning about the latest research in aligner therapy. I also enjoyed the opportunity to travel after this awful pandemic. I am glad that I came and had the opportunity to meet colleagues from all over the world and look forward to the fourth EAS congress in Turin.”
“I can safely say that I gained knowledge at this event, as well as interesting food for thought”
Dr Martin Bauer, who runs a private practice in Munich in Germany, explained why he came to Malta: “My motivation to take part in the EAS congress again resulted from the experience I had during the last congress in Venice in 2019. I found then that the lectures were of high quality, and I had a wonderful feeling interacting with the many other participants. The congress made me realise that nobody is alone with their own problems, and the possibility of strengthening my knowledge on the subject also gave me renewed energy. I attended the third EAS congress with a similar expectation.
“My first workshop was a live broadcast from a Brazilian speaker. Thanks to today’s technology, he was able to stand in front of me as if he was in the congress hall, and in the question round at the end of his presentation, it was easy to forget the physical distance.
“The feeling of watching pre-recorded lectures was different. Towards the end of the congress, I had gradually gotten used to it, and ultimately there was still a special feeling of having travelled thousands of kilometres to watch videos, which I understood was necessary for this congress owing to travel restrictions and doing so made it possible for all the originally planned speakers to present.
“I can safely say that I gained knowledge at this event, as well as interesting food for thought, some critical questions I had were answered and I left with my own new ideas to take back home. In this respect, I would personally rate the congress as a great success.
“I especially enjoyed making interesting and inspiring new acquaintances after the pandemic break. I will continue to put the EAS event on my agenda and I am looking forward to seeing the further development of the hybrid solution for congresses.”
This congress was different to the first two, and even though a reduced number of attendees was not optimal for the exhibitors, EAS executive secretary Dr Les Joffe said in an interview that he was quite pleased with the results.
We all look forward to the spring meeting planned for 6 and 7 May 2022 in Oporto in Portugal and hope that Dr Joffe manages to put together the autumn meeting he is considering, provided that life returns increasingly to normal.