Forging ahead to make the world smile

Dr Otani Kazunori, a prosthodontist and director of Otani Dental Clinic, has more than two decades of dental practice. Passionate in restoring and maintaining oral function, he shares a glimpse of his career and what dental professionals can expect from his lecture in the upcoming Fifth International Dental Symposium on 16 to 17 April 2022 in Tokyo, Japan.

What are the factors that have influenced your decision in pursuing a career in dentistry?

Dr Otani: My father is a dentist, and I grew up in an environment where his dental clinic was located on the same premises as my home. Since then, I started thinking about dentistry as a career option. I was also influenced by the daily clinical training and clinical inquisitiveness of the senior students in the Department of Crown and Bridge programmes at Nihon University School of Dentistry, Japan, where I was enrolled after my undergraduate degree.

Why did you choose to specialise in prosthodontics, and what is the most fulfilling aspect of it?

I have been interested in the field of prosthodontics since I was an undergraduate student, so I joined the prosthodontics programme at graduate school. The professor of that course took good care of my extracurricular activities (club activities) in university.
Currently, patients with various complaints visit my daily clinical practice. Most of the treatments is for missing tooth or teeth, but some patients may be treated for the entire jaw. In full-mouth reconstruction, defect treatment on an oral basis and recovery of function must be considered. When I get the expected treatment results, I feel glad that I gained experience in handling those cases by specialising in the prosthodontic field.

What is the most challenging case you have handled, and how did you overcome it?

A symptomatic TMJ patient had a difficult case of a full-mouth reconstruction with occlusal height modifications. We were able to overcome this problem by adapting a diagnostic splint, pursuing jaw position by occlusal analysis, and setting the final prosthesis after multiple evaluations with provisional restorations.

As chairman of the Study Group Esthetic Explorers, what is your vision for it?

Since many young dentists participate in this study group, I am conscious of organising a study group that is not biased toward any particular field, but rather provides a good balance of prosthetic treatment, conservative treatment, periodontal treatment, and implants. I hope that dentists of the study group will be able to increase the number of their treatment options.

With the advent of digital technologies, how has your practice, Otani Dental Clinic evolved?

I have not yet been able to actively introduce digital technology in my chairside work, but I am beginning to use it for the fabrication of prosthetics. As a result, the quality of prosthetics has improved and the choice of materials has increased.

How do you keep yourself updated with the latest technologies and techniques?

I update myself on new technologies and treatment techniques as soon as possible by reading dental journals, attending seminars, and participating in hands-on seminars. Recently, I have also been attending more web seminars.

What is your view on minimally invasive treatments?

I try to propose minimally invasive (MI) treatment to patients not only for dental conservative treatment but also for prosthodontic and implant treatment. I believe that MI treatment can extend the life of the teeth because it can preserve the sound tooth structure as much as possible.

Could you share with us on the three must-have devices, systems or materials that have been useful for your practice and why?

G-CEM ONE, self-adhesive resin cement, is very convenient because it can be used to set not only ceramic inlays made with LiSi Press (lithium disilicate) but also various restorations with one cement. In addition, the G-Multi PRIMER is a primer that can be applied to all major restorative materials currently being used, so the dentist does not have to use individual primers. The progress and simplification of the bonding system will not only lead to more effective treatment but also to a more stable prognosis, which will be of great benefit to the patient. Lastly, G-Fix is useful for anchoring mobile teeth, and because it is a composite resin with a little toughness, it is sometimes used for reinforcing and splinting provisional restorations.

How do you think an ageing society will impact dentistry in the years to come?

We believe that home visit dentistry will be indispensable in the future because not all patients will have the mobility to visit a dentist.

What do you hope future dental innovation will achieve?

We hope that further innovations in digital technology will lead to the mechanisation (e.g., surgical robots) of precise treatment in the oral cavity (caries treatment, root canal treatment) by direct methods.

Can you give us an overview of your lecture in the upcoming Fifth International Dental Symposium and its relevance in today’s practice?

In the Fifth International Dental Symposium, I will talk about the clinical application of adhesive bridges for the prosthetic treatment of single tooth defects. Thus far, conventional three-unit bridges or implants have been the most common treatments for single missing anterior teeth. Since around 2013, I have been actively applying adhesive bridges, which are less invasive than other treatments, in clinical practice. I am convinced that the adhesive bridge has joined the list of treatment options with high patient satisfaction.

What excites you the most about this event?

I am looking forward to learning about the current trends in dentistry around the world.

As we move forward from the pandemic situation, what do you think is the best lesson to take away?

It is necessary to adapt constantly in response to the rapid changes in society.

Any other closing message for our readers?

Many dental events have been postponed or cancelled, and in this day and age, there is a lot of negative information flying around. However, just as the rain always stops, there will always come a day when the sky is blue and the sun is shining. I am looking forward to enjoying the Fifth International Dental Symposium with you. Let’s meet on that day.

Published in Dental Asia November/December 2021 issue.