Today marked the first day of the Academy of Osseointegration (AO)s annual meeting. This year it's being held in Seattle, the Emerald City. First impressions of the city so far: it's hilly! Apparently it is the American city with the most hills, second to San Diego. Seattleites have a reputation for being cold and unwelcoming. They even have a term for it the Seattle freeze. However, I disputed this last night over a glass of wine with some locals I met at a restaurant. I argued that the same could be said of any city, really. They were more than willing to give their two cents on the best things to do and see in town, which I thoroughly appreciated.

This AO meeting is being held at the Washington State Convention Centre, which is a massive centre right in the heart of downtown. It takes about 5 different escalators to get to the floor where the conference is being held, but that's nothing to bat an eyelash at after growing used to navigating the hilly terrain of the city.

The theme this year is real problems; real solutions. For those not in the know, osseointegration is clinical definition of a successful dental implant. That is, one that is fully incorporated to the host site. So, this conference deals with dental implants and its challenges. In the past, this conference has tended to emphasize the triumphs and successes in this field, while overshadowing the challenges and shortcomings of this dynamic field. This year's theme is meant to remedy this. It's about getting real, so to speak.  It's about talking about the challenges that periodontists and implant specialists are likely to encounter at some point in their careers, and how to best remedy these problems.

So, what kind of problems might one encounter with a dental implant. Let me count the ways.

First and foremost is implant rejection. The body's natural reaction to a foreign object is to reject it. Other problems that might occur include chipping of the abutment, loosening of the screw, gingival recession, shifting of the adjacent natural teeth, angulation challenges, and peri-implantitis. As you can tell, there is no shortage of material to be covered at this meeting. Stay tuned for more updates from AO 2014 in Seattle, Washington.

Six healthcare policy questions hanging in the balance as the United States votes

View Now