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BSSPD Conference 2014
The 61st annual conference of the British Society of Prosthodontics was held at the usual time of year in the lead up to Easter. There was a good attendance of dentists as well as a small number of dental technicians, who were no doubt attracted by the quality of the speakers who had been engaged, with delegates travelling to Dundee mainly from Scotland and the rest of the UK as well as a few who had come from further afield including Canada and Jordan.

The theme of the conference for 2014 was "Aesthetics in Prosthodontics" and the society was extremely fortunate to have a panel of speakers who had well deserved reputations and recognized clinical expertise in this area at both national and international level. Within the group of presentations the whole range of fixed, removable, implant and maxillofacial prosthodontics was explored in relation to the aesthetic issues that can arise in the provision of restorative care.

Following the opening of the conference by Professor Mark Hector, Dean of Dundee Dental School, the first speaker on Day 1 was Dr. Basil Mizrahi who explored in detail with the delegates how favourable aesthetic and biomechanical outcomes can be achieved in fixed prosthodontics. Basil is a very well known specialist working both in a referral based private practice in London as well as the UCL Eastman Dental Institute, and runs hands-on and didactic courses for dentists. He took the delegates through a fascinating presentation in which his attention to detail and focus on precision at every stage was clearly evident in all the work that he provided for his patients.

The second speaker, Dr. Kevin Lochhead set up a specialist practice in Edinburgh over 20 years ago which has become a very well known referral centre for dentists in Scotland. Alongside the group of specialists, is a fully developed technologist facility which services the needs of his multidisciplinary referral practice. Kevin spoke about achieving optimum aesthetic outcomes using removable prosthodontics. In a very thoughtful and well illustrated presentation, Kevin took the delegates through a range of techniques used in complete and partial denture construction focusing on optimal outcomes both in relation to aesthetics and function.

Lunch was taken in a suite adjacent to the lecture area where delegates were also able to visit trade displays from a number of exhibiting companies. This was immediately followed by a poster session in which there was a range of presentations on display. Topics included three dimensional imaging of the face, assessment and treatment planning for oncology patients, zygomatic implants, audits, and many others. The Schottlander poster prize was awarded to Ahmed Al-Hilou who, together with his colleagues from the Leeds Dental Institute, presented a poster titled "In-Vitro Evaluation of Fluoroapatite Coatings against Peri-Implantitis".

During the afternoon, during a two part session, Dr. Tidu Mankoo took the delegates through a very detailed review of the surgical and prosthodontic concepts in relation to the restoration of "failing" teeth with implants in the aesthetic zone. Tidu runs a renowned referral practice based in Windsor, UK and carries out both the surgical and prosthodontic components of his cases. In his very comprehensive and thought provoking presentation, Tidu explored the treatment planning aspects of complex cases. He also directed the delegates to consider how aesthetic outcomes depend not only on the clinical management, but also on an understanding of the importance of the biological factors related to the soft tissues and underlying bone.

The conference dinner was held on The Frigate Unicorn, a few minutes walk from the conference hotel. In true Scottish tradition the delegates were piped to their tables. The main speaker, Mr Bill Copeland, a lawyer by background, entertained the guests greatly during his speech with his unique brand of West of Scotland humour.

Day 2 of the conference commenced with an important event in the life of the society - the presentation of the Gold medal. This is only awarded every three years to an individual who has given exceptional service to the society and the specialty of Prosthodontics. In 2014 the BSSPD Gold Medal was awarded to Professor Robert Clark.

The first presentation of the morning came from Mr John Wibberley who explored the challenges of creating aesthetic excellence from the viewpoint of a dental and clinical dental technician. John is a very well known individual in the dental profession, who has built up two laboratories over his long career. In an elegant and extremely informative presentation, John took the delegates through many of the technical aspects of creating aesthetic excellence in prosthodontics. John had recently qualified as a Clinical Dental Technician, and it was therefore particularly interesting to understand how this new role has allowed him to combine clinical skills with his huge experience over many years in the laboratory.

The next session, which completed the morning programme and extended into the afternoon after lunch, was a group of presentations from delegates competing for the Schottlander Oral Prize. There were four individuals shortlisted to present from a competitive field of applications. The winner was Dr. Gerry McKenna from the University College, Cork, Ireland whose presentation was titled "Tooth replacement for partially dentate older patients: a cost-effective analysis".

The final presentation at the conference came from Mr Peter Briggs, the incoming president of the BSSPD, who explored rehabilitation challenges in relation to aesthetics in the management of trauma, oncology and developmental disorders. Peter is well known as a Consultant in Restorative Dentistry in London as well as running a specialist referral practice. In this particularly challenging area of clinical practice, the delegates were taken through some of the issues that arise in relation to significant soft and hard tissue loss, and the outcomes and complications of treatment strategies to address this. As in the earlier lectures this very informative presentation gave the delegates much to think about and reflect on in relation to the individuals that they might encounter in their own clinical practice.

At the end of the session the new president, Mr Peter Briggs, outlined his plans for the 62nd annual conference of the BSSPD which will take place at the British Library in London on Friday 27th to Saturday 28th March 2015, the theme of which is "Confronting the Grey Areas".

Brendan J J Scott
President BSSPD 2013-2014.