#isdh 2019: Trends in dental hygiene

The 21st International Symposium on Dental Hygiene (ISDH) took place in mid-August in Brisbane, Queensland (Australia). The ISDH event takes place every three years and, alongside EuroPerio, is one of the most important conferences for dental hygienists. Organized by the International Federation of Dental Hygienists and the Dental Hygienists Association of Australia, this year’s event motto was ‘LEAD – Leadership, Empowerment, Advances & Diversity’.

As an exhibitor, W&H impressed the specialist trade audience with its ground-breaking ioDent® solutions and treatment workflow concepts, such as NIWOP. The latest developments for optimized treatment planning were presented in conjunction with Osstell AB, member and technology partner of the W&H Group. At the Osstell Scientific Symposium on 26 September, around 400 visitors were registered including organizers and speakers setting a new record!

LEAD – Leadership, Empowerment, Advances & Diversity“!

The programme attracted a total of 1200 participants from 43 countries, who were welcomed to Australia with a fantastic Aboriginal show as part of the opening ceremony. Once the conference had been opened, it was time for the keynote presentation entitled ‘Are you a lamp, a lifeboat or a ladder?’ The speakers were Dagmar Else Slot, Mario Rui Araujo, Ron Knevel and Melanie Hayes – four big international names in the world of dental hygiene. The group explained the best ways to implement the LEAD motto in our work and also more generally in our lives:

  • Leadership – “Be the person that you needed when you were younger!”
  • Empowerment – “Insights & wisdom!”
  • Advances – “Advancing yourself is advancing the profession & advancing the profession is advancing yourself!”
  • Diversity – “Be curious, not judgmental!”

The participants were then able to choose from a selection of talks around the motto Leadership, Empowerment, Advances, Diversity or one of the sponsor-organized presentations. The range of subjects was extremely varied. Janet Wallace presented her impressive organization ‘Senior Smiles’ and talked about her long and difficult, but ultimately successful journey. Senior Smiles aims to improve oral health in Australian care homes, by focusing on prevention. After carrying out multiple studies and using various approaches, she came to one very clear conclusion: oral hygiene in care homes should under no circumstances be the responsibility of the existing staff members, as they are already fully stretched with their usual workload. Instead, a system should be created in which oral health professionals can be incorporated into the on-site team and given responsibility for these important tasks.

Another key issue discussed at ISDH was the new classification of periodontal and peri-implant diseases. In November 2017, European and American periodontology specialists met in Chicago to develop the new classification, which was presented for the first time at EuroPerio 2018. Sašo Ivanovski gave an eloquent summary of the most important changes in Brisbane, focusing on the new staging and grading system for the classification of periodontal diseases.

At the end of every week, our iPad shows how many minutes we have ‘spent’ with it – for many of us, this will probably be well over 35 minutes. And 35 minutes is the exact amount of time each week that our patients should spend on their oral hygiene at home: 2 x 2 minutes per day for teeth brushing, plus 1 x 1 minute daily for interdental cleaning. But why is it so difficult to convince our patients that this is what they should be doing? Kerstin Öhrn set about answering this question. The key conclusions from her presentation were that we need to treat the individual person rather than the disease, and that the optimization of oral hygiene at home is the most important part of periodontal treatment – which means we need to be consistently and regularly advising and motivating our patients!

Thomas Viola and JoAnn Gurenlian talked about the importance of dental professionals for the treatment of cancer patients. This session covered a range of topics, from giving an update on the most important medications and associated complications – from a dental point of view, these include primarily xerostomia and mucositis – through to treatment options. The best way to prevent mucositis in cancer patients is to ensure optimal oral hygiene. In terms of treatment, the best option is still ice cubes (or frozen fruit, such as grapes). New directives will be announced soon, and will reveal whether low-level laser treatment is a promising approach in the treatment of mucositis. Again, the conclusion drawn here was that oral health professionals should be included in multidisciplinary teams for the treatment of cancer patients.

Ann-Marie Roos Jansåker explained the importance of behaving in a professional manner from diagnosis through to maintenance treatment in order to work successfully with our patients: “We need to make a constant effort to be guided by what is beneficial for the patient, in the short and long term, by the patients’ legitimate needs and not by our own needs and feelings.”

NIWOP - No Implantology without Periodontology (W&H)

Two other concepts that have been launched and promoted by companies were presented:
- NIWOP – No Implantology without Periodontology (W&H)
- Guided Biofilm Therapy (EMS)

No Implantology without Periodontology – this should go without saying for all oral health professionals, and yet still there are many cases in clinics where this practice is unfortunately not being used on a daily basis. Kristina Bertl presented the NIWOP concept in her talk, focusing on the treatment phase prior to the actual implantation. There was also a detailed discussion of the economic background to the concept and we learned that residual probing depths can in some cases be a problem, especially where we have been unable to persuade our patients of the benefits of regular maintenance treatment. By the end of the session, there was no longer any doubt among participants: No Implantology without Periodontology!

To round off the conference, there was a lengthy discussion on the topic of Guided Biofilm Therapy. We are supposed to always follow an evidence-based approach when it comes to treatment, and who can explain this better than Dagmar Else Slot! Her scientific reasoning was complemented by a talk by Magda Mensi, who presented a concept for implementing Guided Biofilm Therapy in everyday clinical work.

The scientific presentations were accompanied by an outstanding programme of events arranged by the conference organizers – participants were able to get up close to Australian wildlife, enjoy live music under Brisbane’s famous Story Bridge, and listen to the incredible life story of Ahn Do. All in all, this was a highly successful event. The next conference will take place in three years, this time in Dublin!