Excitement for IDEM 2024 builds as speakers share more!

The upcoming IDEM 2024 is set to present a well-rounded experience for all participants from 19-21 Apr at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. In addition to the opportunities for business exchange, attendees can learn from a line-up of renowned experts at its comprehensive three-track scientific conference featuring more than 30 speakers from around the world, featuring a wide range of topics.

Dental Asia catches up with speakers set for the stage in Singapore in a preview of what IDEM 2024 has in store.

Dr Wong Keng Mun IDEM 2024
Dr Wong Keng Mun will be showcasing treatment techniques in his workshop on ‘Treatment of Complete Edentulism: Full arch Concept II’

Your dental academy and practice provide treatment and education in a variety of areas. Why did you choose to showcase the ‘Full-arch Concept’ for your workshop?

Statistics illustrate that nearly one in three Singaporeans beyond age 60 have no teeth. Many older Singaporeans are reliant on dentures or are left with exposed gums, which can lead to a wealth of health problems. Full-arch is not only among the most innovative approaches to full mouth restoration practiced internationally, but it is also a potentially ideal procedure for our aging population, many of whom are edentulous.

I consider dental implants optimal for such patients and the Full-arch system streamlines the process significantly while carrying a higher success rate. With Full-arch, only 4-6 implants are needed to “anchor” the new set of teeth, far fewer compared to older methods. This allows patients shorter recovery times and a less painful procedure and is also less expensive than individual implants throughout the mouth.

However, even though we often refer to Full-arch as “teeth-in-a-day” it is not to be mistaken for an easy procedure. Through this workshop, I wanted to share some of my experiences to shed some light on this complex and regionally relevant topic for others.

How did you come to gain the expertise and competence needed to treat complex fully edentulous patients?

During my university days, dental implantology was not nearly as common in Singapore as it is today. Then, most edentulous patients here relied on dentures, which have their drawbacks and are thus slowly being phased out in recent years. The epicentre for dental implantology advancements was in North America and Europe, so I seized an opportunity to pursue my postgraduate studies at the University of Washington.

My studies abroad introduced and accustomed me to many other methods that were at that time relatively novel, or not yet implemented here in Singapore. I believe a great deal of the expertise I have today can be attributed to my further education abroad, and I am immensely grateful for that experience.

Above dental expertise and clinical skillset, one also needs communication, compassion and empathy to treat patients, something often overlooked but no less important. This is achieved through interacting with patients and understanding their needs.

Dr Gabriel Lee IDEM 2024
Dr Gabriel Lee will be at the Dental Hygienist & Therapist forum presenting his lecture on ‘Oral Care for the Dependent Older Adult: How Can I Help?’

Your teaching and research areas focus on geriatric oral health and oral health services in nursing homes. Why did you choose to focus onto these areas?

The choice to dive into geriatric oral health stems from a combination of understanding societal needs and a personal desire to help address healthcare disparities. My interest is rooted in the belief that oral health is integral to overall well-being, particularly in older adults.

The demographic shift towards an ageing population, particularly in Singapore, underscores the growing importance of catering to the unique oral health needs of older adults. With one in four individuals projected to be aged 65 and above by the end of the decade, there is a pressing need for specialised attention to the oral health challenges that come with ageing.

A personal focus on oral health services in nursing homes also aligns with the broader context of healthcare accessibility. Nursing home residents often face distinct oral health issues, and there is a recognised gap in delivering comprehensive dental care within the long-term care setting. Through research and contributing to clinical services this area, I aim to contribute to filling this gap and improving the overall quality of oral health services for a vulnerable segment of the population.

What is the role of international collaboration and knowledge exchange in delivering better health outcomes for older adult populations globally?

The exploration of oral health needs, access challenges, and the role of dental professionals in enhancing oral health for Singapore’s older adult population prompts a broader consideration of the global scenario. In addressing the shared challenges faced by numerous societies, regional and international collaboration and knowledge exchange play pivotal roles in fostering improved health outcomes for older adult populations globally.

Partnerships that extend beyond borders facilitates the exchange of best practices and innovative approaches within geriatric oral health care. By learning from the experiences and successes of different countries, dental professionals can gain valuable insights into effective strategies and care models for addressing common challenges such as access to care, preventive measures, and tailored treatment approaches.

Knowledge exchange also promotes the development of interdisciplinary approaches to geriatric oral health. Establishing collaborations between dental professionals, healthcare providers, researchers, and policymakers from various countries can potentially lead to a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted nature of oral health in older adults.

Dr Andrew Fish IDEM 2024
Dr Andrew Fish will be presenting in the scientific conference on ‘Bone Regeneration, A Scientific and Clinical Review of New Synthetic Material and Surgical Protocols’

What is the significance of the new synthetic materials and surgical protocols for bone regeneration reviewed in your session?

Modern synthetics are revolutionising the dental bone grafting world. With these products eliminating the need for a separate collagen membrane, they make my surgery quicker, easier and more predictable. The fact you can load your implant at three months with enough vital bone to have great stability is a game-changer.

From experience, we also see it completely replaced by host bone at around 12 months, so there are no foreign body particles left in the body, which you often see from xenografts and other synthetics. These materials have transformed the way I do surgery, giving me greater predictability and ultimately better care for my patients.

As new materials and protocols continue to develop, what trends are you keeping an eye on to achieve optimal long-term outcomes for bone regeneration?

I have always strived to look for what is best for my patients. I really believe that minimally invasive surgery helps patients heal. The way I see dentistry moving is more towards giving the body what it needs to heal, to get it as close to the patient’s original state as possible, instead of relying on foreign materials that can linger in the site long-term.

To read the full article, click here or refer toDental Asia March/April 2024 issue.