This was the motto of the 5th Scientific Congress for Aligner Orthodontics. Almost 700 participants from 29 countries expressed their interest in the latest developments and possibilities of treatment with aligners and accepted the invitation of the DGAO eV to the Gürzenich in Cologne. With this recent increase in attendance, the event underscores the importance of aligner therapy in orthodontics and the need for guidance and education in the growing aligner market. Thanks to its many years of congress experience, the DGAO, as a competent organizer, was once again able to attract many well-known international speakers with their current contributions for the two-day, top-class programme. Through the imparted knowledge on practice and research, the scientific congress for aligner orthodontics presents itself to its global participants as the world's most important, manufacturer-independent congress in this field.

The Gürzenich traditionally offers the appropriate, stylish setting as an event location. Over two long days, 32 renowned speakers presented the current status and future prospects of aligner orthodontics. The topics ranged from fundamental questions about the use of aligners and different aligner systems to special possible uses and chances of success to legal questions and a critical assessment of the so-called "aligner online shops" that have recently emerged. The congress was accompanied by a dental exhibition with almost 30 exhibitors who presented their latest developments.

scientific programme

The first day of the scientific program was opened by the conference president, Dr. Julia Haubrich and Prof. em. dr Rainer-Reginald Miethke, President of the German Society for Aligner Orthodontics. In his entertaining welcome, Professor Miethke emphasized the critical and dangerous development of the direct sale of splints for tooth correction for patients, who are denied, among other things, professional advice and care from qualified orthodontists. To get in the mood, before the scientific program, memory trainer Markus Hofmann conveyed a simple concept to increase learning and memory in a very clear and entertaining way. Woo-Ttum Bittner then opened the scientific part with a comparison of two aesthetic treatment options: aligners vs. lingual treatment using treatment examples with an almost identical clinical starting point. Masoud Behyar from the University of Greifswald then presented the first results of a study on the simultaneous in vitro 3D force measurement of aligner splints. As the first international speaker, Dr. Kamy Malekian from Spain, a series of patients successfully treated with Invisalign® with completed stable periodontal treatment. dr Christina Erbe, on the other hand, investigated the change in periodontal marker germs during aligner treatment in her working group at the University Medical Center in Mainz. Arriving from Canada, Dr. Sam Dahar shares his experience of using the OrthoPulse® system to speed up aligner orthodontics with the audience. The morning of the first day ended with Dr. Andrea Bazzucchi from Italy with his presentation on the implementation of Digital Smile Design in the Invisalign® planning process.

Strengthened, we then went into the second round with Dr. Stephan Peylo continued, who showed the complete digital workflow for aligner production from scanning to 3D printing for your own practice and its profitability using the CA Clear-Aligner system as an example. This was followed by Prof. Dr. Tarek El-Bialy from Canada, presenting clinical examples of using photobiomodulation in complex aligner treatments and in particular the associated benefits for adults. dr Jason Battle from Orlando, Florida (USA) then presented various possible applications of the ClearCorrect™ aligner method. Another system introduced by Dr. Vincenzo D'Antò from Italy with the Airnivol® aligners using the example of the treatment of patients with dentoalveolar asymmetries. An interesting study by the University Medical Center Mainz was presented as part of her doctoral thesis by Ms. von Mirette Hitti entitled "Retrospective comparison of mandibular proclination in aligner therapy versus the Herbst appliance". From the University of Graz, Dr. Michael Nemec on another retrospective radiological study investigating the differences in external root resorption during orthodontic treatment with Invisalign® and multi-band therapies. Finally, with a double lecture on the successful interaction between mini-implants and aligners, Dr. Jörg Schwarze and Prof. Dr. Benedict Wilmes the scientific program of the first day of the congress.

At the opening of the second day of the congress, specialist lawyer for medical law, Mr. Michael Zach, explained the legal background to the problem of direct sales of aligners to patients mentioned by Prof. Miethke at the beginning. dr Dietmar Zuran then went on to do interesting research into the causes - why aligner treatments do not always work according to plan. In another double lecture, Dr. Werner Schupp and Prof. Dr. Ulrike Ehmer on the optional symbiosis between functional orthodontics and aligner orthodontics. This was followed by an investigation of white spot lesions during treatment with aligners using Invisalign®-Teen compared to multi-band treatment by Philipp-Jan Hofman. Jhonny León Valencia from Spain presented a completely new type of aligner system, which integrates virtual brackets and coated wire arches in clear aligners. A current contribution to the digital workflow of aligner production was provided by Dr. Akim Benattia from France before Dr. Boris Sonnenberg addressed the question of what constitutes success in an orthodontic practice and how the orthodontist can act efficiently as an entrepreneur, manager and specialist with a system. Before the lunch break, Dr. Mohamed El Had from Morocco how the Invisalign® technique can improve the smile.

After a convivial come-together on behalf of the main sponsors Align Technology, Biolux Research and CA Digital, Prof. Miethke and Dr. Michael Thomas on treating the often-forgotten patient population with disabilities and the supportive opportunities Align Technology can offer with Invisalign®. Afterwards, the Japanese colleague Dr. Kenji Ojima with his presentation of complex aligner treatments in combination with acceleration tools. It continued with a scientific and clinical evaluation of the suitability of FDM printing processes for model production in the aligner technique by Prof. Karl-Friedrich Krey from the University of Greifswald. dr In his contribution, Nils Stucki from Switzerland dealt with questions of aligner design, which still leaves many variations open. dr Thomas Drechsler then presented the possibilities of teen treatment with aligners, even for patients who live far away. After that, Dr. Hisham Hammad presented his experience of transverse expansion with aligners before Dr. Phil Scheurer from Switzerland closed the congress with a comprehensive assessment of the different aligner systems on the market.

DGAO Science Prize 2018

On Friday evening, following the conference program, the DGAO Science Prize was awarded for the fourth time. Conference President Dr. Julia Haubrich and President of the DGAO eV Prof. em. dr Miethke were able to honor three research groups for their outstanding work. The third prize, worth €5.000, went to the DDr. Michael Nemec from the University of Vienna and his colleagues for their work "External apical root resorption during orthodontic treatment with Invisalign® and multibracket therapy". Prof. Dr. dr Bernd Lapatky and Dr. Fayez Elkholy for her contribution "Influence of different attachment geometries on the mechanical load exerted by PET-G aligners during derotation of lower canine" as the second prizewinner. The project group led by Ass. Prof. Dr. Margit Pichelmayer Head of Orthodontics at the Graz Dental Clinic and Ass.-Prof. dr Thomas Grießer, head of the Christian Doppler Laboratory for functional polymer-based printer inks at the Montanuniversität Leoben and their employees with their study approach on the subject of "Evaluation of biocompatible photoreactive monomers for 7.500D printing of orthodontic splints". Prof. Miethke was pleased about the numerous and high-quality submissions this year and encouraged everyone to apply for the DGAO Science Prize again in the future. This will be awarded next time at the 15.000 Congress. The closing date for this is June 3, 2020.

industrial exhibition

During the breaks in the conference, in the hall and ground floor foyer as well as in the small hall of the Gürzenich, the congress participants were able to find out about the latest developments from the manufacturers at almost 30 stands. The three main sponsors presented their latest product series in the spacious hall foyer: CA® Professional - the new aligner system for complex indications (CA Digital), Invisalign® first - for early treatment in mixed dentition, iTero® Element 2 and iTero® Element Flex - the new intraoral scanners from the iTero® family (both Align Technology) and Orthopulse® (Biolux Research). Thanks to the high number of participants, the exhibitors could look forward to numerous guests on their professionally designed presentation areas. Especially the close proximity between the lecture hall and the exhibition area was very positively received by both sides.

DGAO night

The evening program also came up with something extraordinary. Directly below the Cologne Cathedral, the congress participants celebrated a stylish 1915-course menu in the legendary Art Nouveau style old waiting room built in 3. Afterwards the dancing leg was swung in the best party mood until late into the night.

Conclusion and outlook

At the end of the conference, the President of the Conference, Dr. Julia Haubrich first of all to all speakers for their submissions, which unfortunately could not all be considered due to the exceptionally high number and the limited time. Afterwards, she thanked the numerous participants, some of whom had traveled long distances to further their education in the field of aligner orthodontics. She also paid tribute to the exhibitors from the industry and the entire congress team, without their tireless commitment an event on this scale would be unthinkable. In the end, everyone agreed that this year's 5th DGAO Congress once again exceeded the already high expectations by far. And so, after two full, enriching days, everyone was already looking forward to the next Aligner Congress of the DGAO eV, which will take place again in Cologne on November 20th and 21st, 2020, and then even with a pre-conference on November 19th.

The complete press release:

Press Release_DGAO Congress_2018.pdf (172 KB)