A prescient overview of digital developments and the way they will impact the way dentistry is delivered was the prime focus of Align Technology’s first Growth Summit held in Copenhagen.

The radical and rapid shift towards a digitally focused healthcare eco-system has opened up a new frontier in the world of dentistry.  An overview of digital developments and the way they will impact dental trends were the prime focus of Align Technology’s first Growth Summit for general dentists, which took place in Copenhagen in late September 2018.

Seventy-five leading general dentists converged on the Danish capital to learn from experts within the dental sector and beyond and to experience a summit designed to leverage insights into future technologies for dental healthcare – beyond the science of tooth alignment. There were also forecasts of the innovations to come in the next five years.

Adapting to digital technology

The speakers explored topics ranging as wide as artificial intelligence, the utilisation of social networks to improve health outcomes, big data, biomechanical measurements, the emotional dental experience and the invaluable use of digital tools to aid patient communication.  The presentations also brought into sharp focus the many adaptations general dentists will need to make, as much in their clinical approach as their communications with patients.  

Lectures

Futurism was the theme of the opening lecture with notable futurist and influencer, Gerd Leonhard, considering the issue of Technology vs Humanity and how technological change will eventually impact biology, primarily via the rise of genome editing and artificial intelligence.

Professor Dr Ivo Krejci from the University of Geneva, Switzerland also lectured – his talk about dental fitness focussed on preserving the natural status of the mouth and body, with the goal of optimal dentition and optimal oral health – and aligners, he claims, are the means to achieve this.

Zelko Relic, Align Technology chief technology officer offered a forecast of the future world of Align and its advancing technologies and shared insights into the company’s own innovative applications of digital technology. There were also presentations from two award-winning young dentists from the UK Drs Affan Saghir and Rhona Eskander, Dr Christian Coachman, Dr Brett Jacobson, Dr Brian Gray and specialist periodontist Dr Cristina Romao.

Presenter Dr Monik Vasant, a highly experienced clinician in the UK, with a special interest in minimally invasive aesthetic dentistry commented ‘Invisalign gives a dentist the support to prevent things going AWOL and to prevent real complications from happening, because of the support network, and because of the inherent safety of the system. I think it’s a good time to get involved while things are becoming more affordable with scanners becoming more available to everybody.’

 The take home message from the event came from opening speaker, Gerd Leonhard. Quoting pop icon David Bowie, he told a captivated audience: ‘Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.’


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