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The Australian Dental Association 5 mins read


19th September 2023


The impact of vaping on oral health, suicide trends amongst dentists and sexual violence as a determining factor in fear of dental visits are among the highlights of the ADA-FDI World Dental Congress in Sydney, Australia from Sunday 24th Sept - Wednesday 27th Sept at the ICC.

Talks of interest for the media include:

1. Vaping – a universal panacea for ceasing tobacco use - or a disaster?  Prof. Kumar, a world authority on vaping and its effects on the mouth, looks at how smoking, vaping and waterpipes increase the risk for oral disease. In her research she has seen damage to the mouths of vapers after using vapes for six months equating to five years’ worth of damage in a smoker’s mouth. Wednesday 27th  Sept, 8am – 9.45am. (This is on vaping specifically.) Also Tuesday 26th Sept 11.45am – 12.30pm the talk is about the risk of oral diseases from smoking and vaping.

The mouth is not Vegas,  what happens here does not stay here: in a third talk Prof. Kumar explores the strength of evidence between oral and systemic health, the impact of the traveling oral microbiome on several body systems and investigates the impact of periodontal therapy on improving systemic diseases. Her research has found that the bacteria in the mouths of pregnant woman can travel via the bloodstream to the placenta, potentially triggering adverse pregnancy outcomes including pre-eclampsia and pre-term babies. (Prof. Purnima Kumar, USA.)  Wednesday 27th  Sept, 11.45 – 12.30pm.

2. The link between sexual assault and poor oral health: dentists are in a unique position to help patients affected by Domestic Violence (DV) and Sexual Assault (SA): 75% of injuries from DV involve the head, mouth, face and neck, and dentists are often the first and only point of contact. Unfortunately, dental appointments are a common trigger for memories of SA to resurface as they have many similarities, which explains survivors’ widespread dental avoidance resulting in poor oral health. This lecture guides dentists through the issues and steps to address them, and how to identify elder abuse, changes to family violence laws, and Australian dentists’ new reporting responsibilities in the wake of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. (Dr Sharonne Zaks, Australia) Tuesday 26th Sept, 10.45am-12.30pm.

3. Artificial Intelligence’s (AI) application in dentistry and what it means for patients: every day dentists detect dental conditions, make decisions about the importance of these intraoral findings and perform treatment. Many tasks are repetitive, like charting the condition of individual teeth or looking at x-rays. All rely heavily on dentists’ individual skillsets and are influenced by training, knowledge and experience. In dentistry, AI are mathematical programs designed to mimic human intelligence that continuously learn from data – the ultimate “in office” specialist for various tasks. In dental practice, AI has been applied to administrative workflows, robotic surgery, virtual assistants, clinical decision support, and image analysis. Prof. Scarfe will give an overview of the application of AI in dentistry, specifically in oral and maxillofacial radiology, and provide an insight into current research and future directions of this technology. (Prof. Bill Scarfe, USA) Monday 25th 12.45pm -1.45pm, in the Lunch and Learns series.

4. 2023 data revealing the alarming rates of suicidal thoughts among Australian dentists including that almost one in six dentists has had thoughts of taking their own life in the last 12 months, with 5.6% reporting ever having made a suicide attempt, according to a survey of 1500 clinicians in late 2021. One third were rated as having moderate to severe psychological distress, noting that dentistry is a stressful profession due to highly demanding technical skills, the imperative of striving for perfection, demands of meeting patients’ expectations, anxious, challenging or dissatisfied patients, time and scheduling pressures, professional isolation from colleagues, fear of litigation, patient complaints, pressures associated with running a small business, and negative public perceptions of dentists. The talk looks at ways the profession can support colleagues, and will also provide more recent data on burnout. (A/Prof. Matt Hopcraft, Australia) Wednesday 27th Sept, 9am-9.45am.

5. Jaw in a day: the revolutionary surgical techniques for jaw patients. Currently jaw reconstruction is done over multiple surgeries over months and years. In groundbreaking new surgical procedures using digital planning and 3D printing, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are able to rebuild a jaw in a day using lower leg bone and 3D printed teeth - all in one surgery. (Dr Felix Sim, Australia) Monday 25th Sept, 8am-8.45am.

6. The latest in sleep apnoea reduction strategies and techniques, for a condition suffered by one billion people globally, which could save lives and has recently been clinically trialled for an upcoming SBS TV series with Dr Michael Mosley. Currently, the first line therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is monotherapy with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), where sufferers wear a breathing mask attached to a device delivering pressurised air to prevent the upper airway (from the back of the nose to the tongue base) from narrowing and closing during sleep. CPAP is highly effective at preventing the repetitive breathing stoppages that occur in OSA but unfortunately, about half those prescribed it either don’t or can’t use it.

This presentation highlights new alternative therapies which reduce OSA severity, including combination therapy approaches with mandibular advancement therapy and other interventions such as encouraging people to sleep on their side rather than their back where OSA worsens and medications which target non-anatomical contributors such as inadequate activity of the muscles around the upper airway which keep it open, and unstable breathing control. (Prof. Danny Eckert, Australia) Sunday 24th Sept, 8am – 8.45am.

7. Digital technology, world first teaching aids along with new and innovative dental hygiene products are combining for a fresh approach that promises to deliver improved oral health and dignity for the growing numbers of frail seniors. (Dr Mark Wotherspoon, Australia) Tuesday 26th Sept, 11.45am - 12.30pm.

8. Antimicrobial resistance in dentistry: dentists are responsible for around 10% of antibiotic prescribing internationally. This talk covers the latest research about public awareness, preventing infections and reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescribing, and uncovers fresh research findings from the UK, Australia and Canada about why antibiotic prescribing increased during Covid. (Dr Wendy Thompson, UK) Tuesday 26th Sept, 3.30pm – 5.15pm

9.  Changing how older people’s oral health is managed: this needs a rethink by dentists worldwide in terms of communicating with older people, and recognizing that oral disease is different in this cohort and needs to be managed differently. For example, many older people lip read without being aware of it, but if their dentist wears a mask, the older patient may miss vital oral health information. (Dr Angus Walls, UK) Monday 25th Sept, 11.45am – 12.30pm.

10. The latest research on the link between gum disease and mental health issues including anxiety and depression: current evidence suggests a relationship between stress and mental health disorders and periodontal (gum) disease. Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are all associated with more severe disease. In return, gum disease may affect mental health through the immune system and the gut bacteria as well as increasing the risk for Alzheimer disease. (Prof. Ivan Darby, Australia) Monday 25th Sept, 10.45am-11.30am.

11. Mouthguards are failing our families: why we need to incorporate the latest technology into mouthguards to ensure kids and adults playing sport get the best protection - but it comes at a price. How do dentists as a profession deal with this to avoid catastrophic events on the sports field in the future, and a lifetime of expensive treatments? (Dr Brett Dorney, Australia) Monday 25th Sept, 9am - 9.45am.


Around 5,000 dentists and oral health clinicians are set to arrive in Sydney for the 4-day event consisting of a packed Scientific Programme of over 220 talks, demonstrations and symposia across a vast range of oral health topics. There is also a 4-day exhibition of the latest in dental technologies.

2023 marks the 109th year of this international conference inaugurated by the Fédération Dentaire Internationale (FDI), which is jointly hosted this year by the Australian Dental Association and FDI.

The event at the world-class International Convention Centre in the heart of Sydney, is the first ‘in person’ World Dental Congress in four years and is expected to net the NSW economy $31m.

Media are invited to attend both talks from the Scientific Programme and the Exhibition - access the Congress Scientific Programme here.   

Media wanting to interview clinicians about any of the above topics listed here or any others from the Scientific Programme, or to attend the Exhibition, are asked to register here. The ADA Media Advisor will then be in touch. More information about Congress media facilities can be found here.

Any questions, call the ADA’s Federal Media Advisor Jenny Barlass 0484 869 086 or email:


The ADA and FDI look forward to welcoming you

Contact details:

Federal ADAMedia Advisor Jenny Barlass 0484 869086


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