“Oral Design Symposium 2015”

in Madrid, Spain

Participating in "Oral Design International Symposium in Madrid"

—Four days in Madrid, Spain, where you were exposed to cutting-edge aesthetic technicians—




Attending the lecture from the world-class aesthetic dental technicians - Day 3 and 4 

On the third day, I attended various lectures and company exhibitions, including a demonstration entitled "Non-invasive ceramic restoration with platinum foil technique" by Mr. Geller Etc.It was a live-patient demonstration where a dentist was present to deliver Geller’s restoration. This unique lecture format allowed young dental technicians to view our works from a fresh perspective, outside of a laboratory setting. Mr. Geller mentioned in the lecture how dental technicians should have a better understanding of cementation like a dentist because cementation is also shown in the procedure of crowns and communicating that knowledge can bring many benefits. II interpreted these words as how we should keep in mind how cement colour affects the final colour of all-ceramic restorations.


After lunch, three Spanish oral design members - Joan Pou, Inigo Casares, and Eduardo Setien, showed their cases using gum porcelain. Their deep observation of gingiva structures and colour could be seen in their beautiful works. This lecture was in Spanish so non-Spanish participants were provided with a headset for an English translation, which allowed for an interesting Q & A time after the lecture as well. 

Afterwards, we had a coffee break which was followed by a lecture by Terry Douglas, Juergen Mehrhof, and Luke Hasegawa. Mr. Juergen's lecture was about the new design of the implant superstructure, focusing on the attached areas of the gingiva. His works were beyond my imagination. The post-op photographs proved to be aesthetically functional and biologically harmonious. While listening to such high-level lectures, I was once again grateful to be able to attend this conference.


Next was Mr. Hasegawa’s lecture. As it was his first lecture at the oral design symposium, he seemed quite nervous, however his lecture was well organised and the stylish slides and his playfulness captivated the audience immediately. In particular, the slides showing four portraits of the faces of a total of 140 patients were unique, and I could feel how much effort he had put in the experiments and observations. Thinking about how much time he spent compiling the material for each case, my respect for him grew even more.


After the lecture on the third day, I moved to the reception party venue at the hotel and talked to participants about how they felt about each lecture at this symposium. In the background, a flamenco side-show started, which was a great fit for the conversations we had that night, full of passion, life and energy. It filled the atmosphere of the venue with overwhelming enthusiasm, making the night one of my most memorable moments. I think those inspirations that other dental technicians felt at this moment will be great fuel for our future dreams.


The final day began with a lecture by Mr. Wallis Franklin, who is from Sydney like myself and therefore is an individual who has personally given me a lot of wisdom, encouragement and advice. He talked about how to devise and fix the realistic problems that he faces every day, and his talent in speech skills and humour lifted the lecture hall’s mood.


Jean-Marc Etienne exhibited a large number of cases that made use of his own experience, and Jungo Endo provided solutions to cases that were extremely complicated to produce, along with pictures of beautiful cases like paintings and dentistry obtained from conversations with patients. Talking about his happiness, pride and love for his profession, I was able to feel his passion. Personally, I felt that it was the most energetic lecture in this symposium.


After the break, was Mr. Tetsuro Kubo’s session where he explained the importance of sub-gingival contour (S-shape Profile) advocated by Dr. Nameta Yoshinori (Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo / Kamikitazawa Dental). His systematic explanation of a certain S-shape Profile seemed to be of interest to many dental technicians, as the audience took photos of those slides in particular, and I felt the great academic importance of his content.


The host of this symposium, Javier Pérez, then spoke about the procedures on how to restore the dental prosthesis with predictions for improving its longevity. Whilst he had to prepare for such a big conference, he still succeeded in presenting an in-depth lecture.


The case presented by Murilo Calgaro, who is considered to be a young Brazilian genius, was about using the patient's young daughter’s teeth as a shape reference for her mother’s case. It was an interesting approach to determining the tooth morphology and I personally thought it was a very good idea. His honest and systematic storyline is easy to understand even for young dental technicians who do not usually work with dentists in the dental clinic.


Mr. Olivier Tric showed aesthetic cases made of metal ceramics, and although the demand for all-ceramic prostheses has increased significantly nowadays, metal ceramics proved to be a technology that can handle aesthetic cases without problems.


The next scheduled lecture by Michel Magne (California, USA / 901 Oral Design Los Angeles) was unfortunately canceled, and was instead taken over by Jason Kim’s "teeth for business success" lecture. Jason’s content was of finance rather than tooth, therefore was completely different from the previous speakers and piqued the interest of many audience members.


The Platinum Foil Technique, which was the theme of Mr. Naoki Aiba, was a technique that I had never tried yet and was one of the lectures I anticipated for this symposium. The technique was explained in great detail, and that made me want to practice it at least once. In the last part of his lecture, a song named ‘365 days’ by Japanese musician Mr. Children was played along with his personal photography. A female dental technician sitting near me was moved to tears by the song, despite not understanding Japanese, which was very memorable to me.


The last lecture of the symposium was a collaboration speech of masters - Mr. Geller and Dr. Giuseppe Allais, about the philosophy of many years of their experience combined into a new technique and attempt as a basic. It was proof that the passion of Geller was not extinguished yet.


Soon after the last lecture, a Q&A time was held for a while, and all the symposium programs were completed. Receiving the opportunity to attend so many great lectures of oral design speakers from all over the world, through attending this four-day symposium, I realised that even though every technician has the same job of making prostheses, each and every individual in this field is truly unique. Everyone has diverse talents, ranging from creating storylines to developing their skills, theories and philosophies, sense of slide design, photography, philosophy and so on.


In my personal opinion, if one can acquire either knowledge or inspiration from a lecture, that lecture is worth listening to. However, if I was able to mention my one humble critique or opinion, recent lectures in the dental technician society have an inclination to rely more on the ‘inspiration’ aspect to grab the audience’s attention through the use of aesthetics such as beautiful photography and slide effects. I believe these are crucial elements in a lecture, but I also would like to see more knowledge focused lectures with more academic data and studies as well. Balance is important, as inspiration is the fuel required to stimulate individuals into learning, however the lack of knowledge based lectures hinders this learning from actually taking place.


The ‘inspiration’ I strive for, is one stemming from knowledge, life experiences, and meaningful philosophy, not superficial ones. The quote by Mr Willi Geller in this symposium’s lecture "We don't want our heart in digital, We want our heart in real life.”, left a strong impression and inspired me greatly. His philosophy has been a consistent one, warning us that there is too much information, technology and materials than necessary in dentistry in his 2012 Tokyo lecture through a video clip called ‘Overflow’. It is these wise and powerful words of pioneers like Mr. Geller, that leaves a long-lasting impression for younger generations, as an issue to consider.



At the end

Finally, I would like to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Yasuhiro Odanaka for allowing me to write this article. I visited Japan three years ago where I met and trained with my mentor Mr Odanaka's lab for about a year. On the final day, I received the words, "For about a year I've been teaching you about what a good dental technician and bad dental technician is. From tomorrow you have to set up an antenna and think for yourself, what this means. Every day will be a learning process, and eventually find your own path through that.” This word is still firmly engraved in my heart.


For me, being a good dental technician is to not lose my fight with my own conscience. Being a dental technician, this constant fight is a universal experience. When there are issues with the crown you made, or you recognise a factor that can cause problems in the future, you are faced with making a decision of whether to send or remake the crown. I wonder how easy it would be to compromise, however my moral antenna, which Mr Odanaka set up for me, never allows me to. It is important to make an aesthetic and natural looking crown, but before that, having a strong conscience is necessary as an essential virtue for a dental technician. We need to give ‘sincerity’ to the patient, not only the crown.


With the inspiration I received through Mr Odanaka’s words, and the knowledge I gained in this unforgettable event, I think I was able to take a step forward in my path as a professional dental technician. With conscience in my mind, I will continue to move forward, and strive to one day become someone that can share inspiration and knowledge to the future generations.