The International Osteology Symposium was held for the 6th time between 27–27 April 2019. 2800 participants from more than 70 countries around the world attended the congress in Barcelona, which is organised by the Osteology Foundation every three years. Under the motto “THE NEXT reGENERATION”, scientists and practitioners from all-over the world attended lectures, workshops and courses.
The scientific programme
Together with the Foundation’s Education Committee, the two Chairmen of the symposium, Christoph Hämmerle, Switzerland, and Maurício Araújo, Brazil, put together a programme covering all aspects of oral regeneration, including the latest developments in techniques and technologies, whilst also giving the next generation of experts the opportunity to present.
During the symposium in Barcelona, Hämmerle explained: “The world of dentistry is developing quickly in many ways. On the one hand, advancements in dental medicine, biological understanding and technical progress allow us to improve treatment planning, patient communication, therapy execution, reconstructive surgery, and patient care. These developments deeply affect the field of oral tissue regeneration. On the other hand, the dental care providers change. The young generation of dentists is primarily made up of women and the typical one-dentist one-practice model is disappearing, making room for larger group practices which are often organised as part of chains.”
Araújo added: “I strongly believe that in the fast-moving world that we live in today, we have to be dynamic and interactive when delivering information and education. One new interactive format is the case competition where every clinician had the possibility to share their cases with a specific audience and to exchange ideas with other colleagues. We tried to inspire the participants with novelties and advances, but without forgetting the predictability and humanity.”
Linking Science with Practice in Regeneration
Discussing the next generation of technologies, developments and techniques also includes covering the latest results from research. Part of the International Osteology Symposium programme was dedicated to science. More than 288 posters were displayed in the poster exhibition – and the authors of the six best abstracts in both clinical- and basic research presented the content of their posters in the Research Forum on Friday. In addition, the outcome of the XIII European Workshop of the European Federation of Periodontology in collaboration with the Osteology Foundation, a consensus conference on bone regeneration, was presented and discussed. All with the goal of ensuring that clinicians can orientate themselves in the science of regeneration.
The five hands-on Osteology workshops were run by world-class specialists and sold out very quickly. The participants were eager to improve their practical skills in the workshops and to learn new things. Demand for the workshop with Istvan Urban, Hungary, was so high that it was held for a second time in the afternoon. During the workshop called “Management of soft and hard tissues during bone augmentation”, participants where shown the theoretical and practical armamentarium in a very systematic way, allowing them to successfully use the “sausage technique” in their practice. Urban summarised: “The participants were given a broad and systematic overview of the topic. The sausage technique is a predictable technique, and an easier and less-invasive surgery than harvesting bone blocks. The participants trained their dexterous abilities and learned the ‘sausage technique’ under my guidance in the hands-on part of the workshop.”
For the first time: Case Session and Competition
Prior to Osteology Barcelona, participants were invited to submit a clinical case to THE BOX and participate in the first Case Competition at an International Osteology Symposium. 178 cases in six competition categories were submitted. The jury assessed the cases based on the outcome and criteria such as creativity and originality of the treatment, and the biological principles behind the technique. The winner in each of the competition categories received a free registration for the congress and presented their case in the Case Session on Friday afternoon to a targeted audience. When asked about the Case Session, Araújo said:” With this interactive format, participants got the opportunity to get the best out of their cases. They shared their knowledge and expertise, discussed the cases with colleagues from all over the world and got recognition of the excellent work they do.”
Creating a better experience
At Osteology Barcelona, the Osteology Foundation launched THE BOX app. Previously, only a web-based version of the platform was available. The participants had the opportunity to ask questions to the speaker, read abstracts, browse through the posters submitted and view the congress programme. Among these features, an augmented reality interface was also integrated into the app. During the congress, participants had the opportunity to scan pictures around the congress and in the Osteology booth – once scanned, additional content appeared on the smartphone and was merged both online and offline. This added real added-value to the content!
Facing the future
When asked about how the Osteology Foundation has developed since the last International Osteology Symposium in Monaco in 2016, the president of the Foundation, Mariano Sanz, said:” The Osteology Foundation’s main mission is to link science with practice in the field of oral regeneration and therefore, as new scientific advances and technologies have developed in this field during these last three years, the Osteology Foundation has significantly widened its scope.” Evidence that the funding research programme has been widened and diversified can be seen in the fact that the Osteology Research Academy courses have been expanded to South America and Asia. The Foundation’s education and training programmes have also been developed further through the establishment of further key collaborations with some of the most important global scientific associations in the field of oral regeneration. “As beautiful as it is to indulge in the past, we have to look forward and face the future. Our global ambition is to reach every oral health professional. This can only be accomplished if we have the appropriate communication tools. Direct electronic contact with individual professionals must be combined with well-planned educational and scientific transfer activities which collaborate with the most prestigious associations and educational and scientific entities from around the world”, said Sanz.
The congress in this beautiful city came to its end. Barcelona perfectly combines modernity, culture, freshness and the light of the Mediterranean Sea. All of this, combined with the quality of the scientific programme and professional networking of the Osteology Foundation’s International Symposia, was a great cocktail for a successful symposium.