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 Annual Conference 2018: Liverpool

The Society’s 2018 Conference was held in the magnificent setting of the Grade 1 listed St George’s Hall in Liverpool. The historic setting of the Concert Room was complimented by first rate audio-visual support and a series of presentations by experts in their field. The camaraderie, friendships made and renewed, provided the background for a truly memorable Conference.

The Conference was opened by Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed Liverpool University, a world expert in Personalised Medicine. He set the scene with the context of Dentistry in Liverpool and contributions made to this field sustained over many years. He went on to link personalised medicine with the Cleft Palate theme of the first day of the conference.

Professor Bill Shaw was able to give remarkable insights into the development of our current strategies and protocols in the management of Cleft Lip and Palate. These resulted from what appeared to be tremendous international collaborations involving multidisciplinary contributions. The research methodologies and support involved were testament to those striving for clinical excellence involving multidisciplinary teams and serve as a lesson to us all.

Mr Simon van Eeden then focused our attention on the surgical aspects of managing clefts. He was again able to support the choice of surgical procedures and protocols based on a sound evidence base, illustrating our speaker’s mastery of his chosen craft.

Dr Susana Dominguez-Gonzalez was next to update us on orthodontic procedures in cleft palate, bringing us all up to date on the protocols used to ensure that the dentition is developing and being aligned appropriately for any associated surgical procedures or subsequent prosthodontic rehabilitations

Over a lunch posters were on display and there was an opportunity to speak to the presenters and quiz them about the work they had chosen to display. There was a great diversity of posters that illustrated that our members continue to be active in all facets of the Specialty, namely research, clinical excellence and audit. Entries for the Schottlander Poster Prize competition were displayed together with non-entry posters the main hall of the venue. The scale of the surroundings lending itself to accommodating our colleagues form the ‘Dental Trade’, lunch and leaving sufficient circulation space around the posters! The poster boards remained throughout the two-day event.

After lunch, our attention was turned to the psychological aspects of managing patient’s with cleft lip and palate, and we were treated to a most illuminating presentation by Dr Zoe Edwards who works in the multidisciplinary team managing our patients in the North West.

The remainder of the afternoon saw us taking inspiration from a formidable double act of Ginette Phippen and Sandip Popat. They carefully led us through the maze that is often associated with managing speech alongside prosthodontic rehabilitation. The explanations of speech sounds/phonetics is the clearest I have witnessed and the associated prosthodontics was impressive and of great interest to members too.

Our first day concluded with a tour de force from Andrew Barber, his presentation on Prosthodontic rehabilitation was fabulously illustrated and demonstrated an amazing breadth of skills in planning, simplifying and executing complex rehabilitations in a diverse group of patients.

This session was immediately followed by the Annual General Meeting.

In a departure from our Conference tradition we aimed to modernise by substituting a social mixer in place of the more formal dinner. Whilst this was something of a tester for the future it seemed to work well and I think was more inclusive, attracting a wide range of attendees, perhaps more diverse than would chose a formal occasion. How this goes in future is of course down to future President’s and there will no doubt be differing views but I hope that whatever direction this takes it will continue to be a friendly, inclusive and enjoyable event.

Friday’s Conference sought to focus on updating members firstly on contemporary research in Prosthodontics, and this was followed by current approaches to clinical management in associated specialties. The session started with the research entries for the Schottlander Oral Prize. The standard was impressively high and all our speakers displayed an extraordinary depth of knowledge of their chosen topics. It certainly made for some difficulties in our judging panel in deciding the prize award!

The remainder of the second day saw the attendees being updated by an array of speakers renowned in their own field of expertise. This was a truly stellar line-up that involved nationally and internationally recognised speakers. Professor Ian Needleman, fresh from his Presidency of the BSP, updated us on clinical periodontology; Mr Mark Hunter showcased contemporary endodontics with a refreshing patient centred approach; Peter Briggs showed us how to apply our skills and knowledge in managing failing restorations; Professor Craig Barclay brought us bang up to date in how to manage the edentulous atrophic mandible; Professor Alex Milosevic rounded off the conference with a great presentation on the contemporary management of tooth wear.

The Conference concluded with the inauguration of Professor Philip Taylor as the President for 2018 -2019 and he invited everyone to what promises to be an excellent Conference in the iconic Royal College of Physicians in Regent’s Park, London.

The success of the Liverpool Conference was as a result of the combined efforts of BSSPD Council members, and particularly our Administrative Manager Mrs Kirstin Berridge, plus of course the support of the membership.