The American Academy of Implants Dentistry’s 64th annual conference took place in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada this year. Before I attended AAID, all I could think of for Las Vegas was the image of bright city lights and casinos, like in the movies The Hangover and Oceans Eleven. Little did I know that Las Vegas could be a place of continuing education for dentists and surgeons. The speakers were announcing CE codes after each of their presentations, and the attendees were eagerly writing them down, which made me wonder what CE stands for. I realized that the dentists were taking Continuing Education courses and needed the CE codes to get the credits and hours approved. With ongoing lectures in the Palace Ballroom, workshops and seminars in the Florentine rooms, networking events in the exhibit hall, and poster displays of studies across the hallway, there was an abundance of education for everybody. Here are some key takeaways I took from the conference.
Everything is being digitized nowadays, and digital dentistry is not behind in innovation. From guided surgery to CAD/CAM and 3D printing, dentists and labs are readily adopting these technologies, and they are becoming the standard of care for tooth replacements. Digitalization is not only in the digital treatment planning itself, but also in the way dentists are communicating and reaching out to the patients. The competition between dentists is rising as they increasingly adopt social media and other marketing tactics to advertise their practice. Growing competition will further drive dentists to adopt new technology to improve treatment outcomes and to remain competitive in dentistry.
As we move into the less invasive era, short implants are becoming more popular because they can minimize bone graft procedures and offer single-unit restorations without splinting. The relationship between critical implant length and failure rate, however, has remained mixed so far. Dr. Zedeh concluded that length is not important for implant survival but important for immediate placement and loading. The effect of implant length on success rate also differs depending on the region of the mouth, connection types, and the width of implants. Therefore, the decision-making process for implant height selection must consider both biomechanical and surgical factors.
“Your patients are the people who have the greatest faith in you, other than your mother” was an inspiring quote from the closing keynote speaker, Dr.Daniel Alam, the surgeon who performed the first face transplant in the US. This served as a reminder of ethical and social implications of surgeries and reminded us of where we are now and where we are going in the future.
The history and evolution of implant dentistry was quite evident throughout the conference, and Caesar’s Palace served as a perfect fit for the classic educational theme, which was “Where classic principles support cutting-edge implant dentistry.” My father used to say that experience is one of the best educations. I don’t believe that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, although one thing I wish I could have brought back to Toronto is the sunny weather.