Dental experts, doctors, scientists, and students – both experienced and young professionals – from nine countries have participated in the research and practice conference held at St Petersburg University for the fifth time.
‘Current Issues in Dentistry’ is an annual international conference that brings together experts from various dental specialties to share best practices and research outcomes. This year, St Petersburg University hosted participants from Italy, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Belarus and Russia. The Intan Centres for Implantation and Dentistry was a co-organiser of the event as usual.
The conference got off the ground with a series of seven workshops held by top-ranked Russian dentists. The workshop topics were related to innovative techniques; and the participants were experienced doctors, and clinical residency and undergraduate students. In the classrooms, they reviewed: non-routine situations and clinical protocols on training models; techniques for preparing and restoring teeth using innovative technologies and materials; and surgical and orthopaedic aspects of implantation. They also worked with surgical dental microscopes and articulators, and mastered the methods of modern radiological imaging in dentistry.
‘Everything should be interesting for both a young and an experienced specialist. They should learn how to process information better and faster, choose what is necessary, and be prepared to constantly allocate part of their resources for training and improvement,’ said Mikhail Vlasov, a lecturer at St Petersburg University, dentist, presenter of the workshop on total prosthetics on implants.
In his opinion, at present the key priority of dentistry is to adapt digital instruments to routine operations, and introduce new technologies and protocols in dental practice. Innovation requires that a specialist with experience should be continuously involved in the educational process.
Digital technology is an important tool for a dentist, and in skilled hands it makes life easier for the doctor and patient. It helps to implement the invariable principles of dental care at a new level by minimising chair time, and the degree of injury and pain.
Mikhail Vlasov, lecturer at St Petersburg University, dentist, and presenter of the workshop on total prosthetics on implants
Experts agree that the skilled person is responsible for using innovative technologies successfully in dentistry. Digital systems make it possible to: diagnose more accurately; predict every movement; and apply patient-focused methods, i.e. modify protocols to make them tailored to a certain patient. However, according to Alessandro Mario Greco, a doctor at the University of Rome, there should be a human intellect behind beautiful technologies. The task of a skilled person is to manage the process, manage the data obtained by technological systems, and apply them properly. ‘Digital dentistry today is between art and technology,’ the doctor said. ‘We have technologies and innovations, and we must harmoniously combine them with science and the art of seeing, understanding, and diagnosing accurately. This is our art in the world of the future.’
‘In the development of modern dentistry, the guiding principle is the principle of interdisciplinary interaction in research and practice. What is important is teamwork. Clinicians should actively communicate with colleagues from related dental and general medical specialties,’ said Nataliia Sokolovich, head of the Department of Dentistry at St Petersburg University. Dr Karifala Tarawali, a member of the British Dental Association, emphasised that this list had already been supplemented by researchers in the field of basic sciences – physics, chemistry, and microbiology – and IT engineers.
According to Karifala Tarawali, the first step for successful treatment is to organise the teamwork of the clinician, dental hygienist and patient at the stage of developing a unique plan. Modern protocols are tailored. Digital planning makes it possible to: forecast the dynamics of treatment in detail; choose the most effective and reliable method; and get absolutely predictable results.
The innovative developments that are used today make it possible not only to provide a higher level of dental treatment, but also to increase the patient's confidence and motivation. ‘The patient becomes a full-fledged participant in the process. They see the treatment plan, the protocol with the materials that are used, and the simulated result. They can observe on the monitor what is happening. And most importantly, they understand the necessity of every medical manipulation and the importance of their own role in achieving the predicted result,’ said Milana Shvetsova, a student at St Petersburg University.
Every year, students take part in the conference. Workshops for them are a source of unique information from experienced clinicians. Moreover, a scientific conference is an important platform for sharing best practices in innovations and the opportunity to present their research outcomes in a poster session.
The conference attendees are certain that nowadays it is necessary for the dentist to: constantly develop in the information area; have a brilliant command of software applications; understand the mechanisms for translating physical data into a digital format; and have a good knowledge of English. According to experts, it is important to learn how to effectively interact not only with colleagues, but also with the patient. The doctor should develop a systematic view of the problem and be attentive to everyone and remain primarily a doctor, destined to alleviate pain and suffering and provide medical care.