Some Like it Hot!

By Geoffrey A. Thompson

Like many of our past meetings, this years meeting brought me to a place that I had not been before.  Don’t misunderstand me, I have visited most of the states and umpteen foreign countries; however, I had not been to Scottsdale.  Many national organizations in and outside of dentistry prefer a half dozen or so locales above all the rest and our Academy’s capability to choose unique settings is one of the most enjoyable features about our organization.  I am partial to the southwest having lived there for 3 years, and Scottsdale was as fine a venue for the 87th Annual Scientific Session of the Academy of Prosthodontics as I could imagine. We were imbued by big skies, awesome sunsets and the perennial sunshine, and for those of us from “up-north” it was particularly stimulating after another long winter.

Dr. Louis Blatterfein Welcome Reception and Dinner was amazing, both in terms of the ambience and the southwestern menu.  Dinner was situated between a million stars and a beautifully terraced green, and all was surrounded by opposing columns of stately palms.  And not a single bug.  Ahhh, I can still smell the mesquite smoke rising from the outdoor grills.  I was a little delayed getting to Scottsdale, but arrived just in time for dinner.  I was lucky not to miss one of the highlights of the meeting because this is the time to share collegial and personal time with those that we have grown with and to talk with new members and invited guests we had not had a chance to speak with before. On behalf of the membership and guests, we would like to extend a robust round of thanks to the Local Arrangements Committee Chaired by Academy Fellow, Dr. Lisa Lang for an outstanding evening; it was perfectly orchestrated.   We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge our many corporate sponsors for their generous contributions toward this event, and for events throughout the week; we greatly appreciate your generosity.

On Wednesday, the scientific session was called to order by Vice President, Dr. Gary Goldstein, and the invocation was given by Reverend Leslie Van Blarcom.  President, Dr. Clifford Van Blarcom was presented the gavel and during his welcome message, he challenged all of us to talk to 4 new individuals during this meeting.  Sort of shook up our comfort level, but I know we accepted his call and we can count among our friends a few more people.  I don’t recall President Van Blarcom requesting us to share baby pictures of ourselves; however, Past President, Dr. George Zarb and Vice President, Dr. Gary Goldstein apparently listened more intently than the rest of us, and did just that.  I am always amazed at the level of preparedness some of our more experienced members show, as I failed to anticipate the need for baby pictures.  For the young, tenderfoot members of the organization, let this be a learning experience. 

The first morning’s program got off to an excellent start and it remained that way, due in no small part to Academy Fellow, Dr. Rainer Bergman, Chair of the Audio-Visual Subcommittee. The key-note lecture was presented by the illustrious Dr. Gordon Christiansen who spoke of leadership and benevolence.  Dr. Richard Simonsen clarified what is “artistic license” and what is manipulation regarding digital dental images. Dr. Jack Dillenberg, inaugural Dean of the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, shared his exciting visions for the new school. Completing the mornings presentations were Academy Associate Fellow, Dr. Geoffrey Thompson, who spoke about ballistic resistant polymers, and Dr. Stephen Milam, who has investigated the molecular events leading to TMJ dysfunction and degeneration.

The second day looked at prosthodontics past, present and future.  Academy Associate Fellow, Dr. Thomas Barco presented a fine treatment outcome for a complex situation.  Dr. Neal Garrett presented evidence-based information for prosthetic reconstruction following partial mandibulectomy.  Next, Academy Life Fellow, Dr. Noel Wilkie, fittingly shared his perspectives on our prothodontic history and near future.  We listened to dental laboratory technology: problems and solutions by Dr. Robert Schneider and Dr. Dennis Tarnow’s thoughts about potential changes in specialty education and training.  To finish up the morning, our esteemed colleague, Dr. Harold Preiskel presented lessons-learned, progress milestones and how we should incorporate and benefit from those in the future.

The evening social outing took us to Taliesin West, a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece.  Magnificent!  Attendees had the chance to thoroughly explore the complex in the accompaniment of a knowledgeable guide or freely by themselves.  The assemblage of friends, a remote location and the southwestern sunset further added to an immensely enjoyable dinner.  Seemed like the trip back to the Gainey Ranch came too early; however, a great time was had by all.

Friday’s mornings scientific session focused on treatment of the edentulous arch and implant dentistry with papers presented by Dr.’s Brian Fitzpatrick, Ricardo Mitrani and Peter Wohrle.  Academy Fellow, Dr. Stephen Parel shared some of his early experiences with one-piece dental implants.  In the afternoon session, Education and Research Committee Members, Dr.’s Steven Eckert, Rhonda Jacob and Sree Koka directed an EBD look at traditional metal-ceramic restorations.  Academy Fellow, Dr. Charles Goodacre reviewed the evidence for clinical outcomes of crowns and fixed partial dentures.  A more contemporary technology applied to metal-ceramic structures is sintered high-gold alloy cores.  This was presented by Academy Fellow, Dr. Dan Nathanson.  Academy Fellow, Dr. John Sorensen reviewed CAD/CAM ceramics and shared some of his laboratory and clinical data on a zirconia dental ceramic. 

The Presidential Reception and Installa­tion Banquet were held in the Arizona Ballroom at the Gainey Ranch.  Again the superb plan­ning and execution of the event by the Local Arrangements Committee showed.  We sadly said goodbye to Dr. Clifford Van Blarcom as our President, but warmly greeted Dr. Jonathan Wiens as he was in­stalled as our 82nd Academy President.  We also welcomed Dr. Gary Goldstein as our new President Elect, Dr. Rhonda Jacob as Vice President, Dr. Stephen Campbell as Secretary-Treasurer and Dr. Steven Eckert as Recording secretary.

The last day of this years meeting gave us a look at two laboratory studies, presented by Dr.’s Francine Albert and Daniel Schweitzer.  That was followed by an in-depth look at eating disorders, shared with us by Dr. Debra Haselton.  Academy Fellow, Dr. Rainer Bergman showed us a retrospective analysis of the occurrence of delayed implant failures in his practice.  Evaluation of clinical outcomes and methods for improving removable partial denture service was the topic of Academy Fellow, Dr. Alan Carr’s discussion.  I know we were all very happy and proud to see Academy Fellow, Dr. Shane White back at the podium and he did not disappoint.  He shared his fantastic work on the DEJ and how we may one day be capable of mimicking what nature has so marvelously achieved.

With the close of the 87th Annual Session we go back to our busy schedules, and when we have a moment to pause, we will think back about our time spent at the Gainey Ranch with glad­ness. We now set our sights for San Francisco, the location for next years meeting and it looks like a good one!

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