What are the latest trends and hot topics in the dental implant industry? One way to find out is to visit the EAO congress. Here are 3 key takeaways based on my experience from this year’s event.

Sharing business insights in the dental industry

With 2500 registered participants from 80 countries, the EAO congress 2022 is one of Europe’s major annual events for the dental implant industry. It is organized by the European Association for Osseointegration. This year’s congress was held in Geneva and consisted of a comprehensive program featuring inspirational talks, forums, presentations, and clinical sessions.

Elos Medtech’s dental team was there, and the congress gave us an excellent opportunity to connect with our customers, meet new potential ones, share business insights, and learn about new trends and technologies in the dental implant industry.

The theme of this year’s event was Uniting Nations through Innovations, playing on the fact that Geneva hosts many UN entities. The congress was well attended given the circumstances with post-Covid, inflation, and war in Ukraine.

1. The predictability aspect of digital dentistry

The opening session was a forward-looking presentation about the Virtual Patient. The first part, Digital Human Technology: From Entertainment to Medical Applications, was presented by two scientists from Disney Research Studios and gave a very interesting view of what is possible with today’s AI and graphics software and hardware.

The second part was The Virtual patient: Where are we at in daily practice regarding digital workflows? This was a presentation of where we are today, looking into the possibilities of digital technology in dentistry, such as intraoral and 3D face scans.

This is truly one of the areas with the most growth in today’s dental treatments, and the advantages are multiple. Digital technology provides better predictability. This is what we all want – the lab technician, the dentist, and the patient – knowing that what we plan for is also what we get.

In addition, these digital scans are great tools for getting patients to buy into the procedure. The dentists can upfront show their patients what they will look like with their new teeth as well as discuss and visualize different options.

2. Focus on stable dental implant designs

Another takeaway from the EAO is the increased focus on stable implant designs. There is a lot of emphasis on immediacy and being able to restore or load implants right after installation. Today’s patients want fast treatments but might not always fully understand the biological processes that have to take place.

By adjusting the implant design, it is sometimes possible to increase the initial stability of the implant. All dental implant companies at EAO were showing some type of implant design to facilitate this.

Part of the message is that you have to make sure there is enough bone to place the dental implants, which is why there is also a lot of attention to bone augmentation. One of the seminars we attended included two live surgeries from Turin and Budapest, where surgeons demonstrated techniques to build up the bone with titanium meshes and membranes in combination with bone graft.

This is also an area where digitalization is increasing, as it is possible to combine CBCT scans (cone-beam computed tomography) and X-rays with additive manufacturing of support structures to facilitate reconstruction of the bone.

3. MDR challenges dental implant companies

Another clear observation from EAO is that everyone is struggling with the MDR. We had several discussions with dental implant companies that confirmed their innovation had decreased as they spent more time and resources keeping up with MDR demands for their existing products.

While their product lines will be discontinued, dental implant companies will most likely introduce their new products in other parts of the world (read the US), where regulatory demands are less stringent, and they can gain clinical data to be used for a later European MDR application. Most likely, more dental implant companies will turn to their CDMOs to ensure their products are MDR-compliant.

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