After 2 years of almost complete abstinence from face-to-face events and almost all other social contacts, the two fearless representatives, Harald S. and Roger Harman, travelled to Rome on behalf of the Gesellschaft für Kieferorthopädische Zahntechnik “GK”. There they attended the annual conference of our Italian sister organisation, the Accademia Italiana Ortodonzia Tecnica (AIOT). The conference was held in parallel with the Italian Accademia Italiana di Ortodonzia (Italian Academy of Orthodontics) and was entitled “Open-Bite Treatment; all we need to know”.
After overcoming the usual difficulties with public transport in foreign and foreign-language places, the two arrived safely at the Sheraton Parco de’ Medici Hotel, which has a swimming pool and a golf course.
The next morning we had a very Italian breakfast, during which one of the adventurers emphasised the many advantages of a full English, or even better, a full Scottish breakfast. Harald S. and Roger H. were then welcomed by this year’s president, Salvatore Soreca, and began the pre-congress course. This was offered by the Accademia Italiana di Ortodonzia, a full-day session with Dr Sadao Sato, Professor of Orthodontics at Kanagawa Dental University, and was simultaneously broadcast live. During his lecture, “Treatment of Various Malocclusions Based on a Concept of Open Bite Development”, he explained the reasons for malocclusions that began with our reptilian ancestors and evolved over the eons as our gait straightened. Professor Dr Sato went on to explain his method of closing the open bite using multi-band techniques to straighten the posterior teeth.
The evening was not wasted. During a short trip into the city, Harald S. and Roger H. visited the Archbasilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, the cathedral of the city of Rome. Then they marvelled outside at the Lateran Obelisk, the tallest obelisk in Rome, and drove on through the city to stand in front of the breathtaking Colosseum. However, as they only had time to walk around the outside, they then took a taxi back to the hotel to take part in an invitation to dinner organised by AIOT.
One of the downsides of participating in activities where communication is difficult is the surprises that arise during said activity. This was one such occasion where the fearless GK representatives started the meal with enthusiasm, only to realise with surprise and gradually increasing, forced enthusiasm that one course followed another. With truly excellent, authentic Italian dishes that had to be accompanied by far too much wine, a full seven courses were actually served. Dessert was eaten with relief and the pair were grateful to be driven back to the hotel to get some sleep.
On Friday morning, one of our GK representatives again grumbled about the state of the Italian breakfast and tried to explain the many advantages of the English porridge, which was met with scepticism by his colleague. But all this was forgotten when the Accademia Italiana di Ortodonzia gave lectures in the morning on the problems of open bite therapies. The topics presented included “Game changers in open bite treatments” “Open Bite: Treatment limits and possibilities” and “Open Bite Treatment with Elastodontic Therapy clinic and research”. Afterwards, we had a wonderful lunch break with a buffet outside in the hotel garden in the sunshine.
The afternoon began with the first presentations of the main AIOT programme. Roger H. gave a short speech, conveyed the greetings of the GK and Heike P. and thanked the AIOT for the invitation. He emphasised the importance of sharing information and knowledge across borders and invited AIOT members to attend the GK meeting in November.
The first lecture of the afternoon was given by Emanuele P., a colleague who has often lectured for the Society of Orthodontic Dentistry in Germany. His title “Skeletal Open Bite – New Skeletal Devices” showed digitally printed, skeletally anchored devices for the intrusion of teeth in the posterior region using elastics. This was followed by the correction of the open bite with the Bracco Functional Appliance (PFB) by Fabio Rubat Remond using functional appliances to close the open bite. A coffee break was called for in order to concentrate on the last two lectures of the day, which lasted an hour and a half and dealt with the use of the Carriere Motion Appliance in combination with aligner techniques by Antonio Guiducci and the “Control of the vertical dimensions of Class II malocclusion completely digitally” by Antonio Manni & Fabio Arno.
The hard work of the GK representatives was not over yet, and they continued regardless, trying to make a good impression. That evening, the gala dinner was to take place, which consisted of a buffet. Harald S. and Roger H. tried to memorise the long descriptions, names and regions of the Italian delicacies presented to them by the AIOT members. The buffet started as a usual masked and stiff Covid-19 event, but as the empty wine bottles began to pile up, things became less formal. Masks were discarded and soon a party like in the good old days was in full swing, there was even some dancing, thankfully without long-term consequences.
Breakfast on Saturday morning was a little quieter for the GK team than the previous morning. This was partly due to last night’s celebrations and partly because the Englishman in the group had given up complaining and had found an almost English-looking toast with jam, which prompted him to have a leisurely breakfast. The learning started promptly at nine o’clock. Your author would love to give you a detailed, scientific account of the excellent lectures, but as the Italian language is largely a mystery, the orthodontic wonders explained remain shrouded in obscurity. Nevertheless, people were very attentive and watched the images on the screen with hopefully profound interest. The titles of the presentations on the day were “Current biomechanical techniques with TADs for hyperdivergent patients” by Dr Renzo De Gabriele; “Open bite in the permeable dentition, different strategic approaches” by Niki Arveda; “The importance of functional speech therapy in the problem of open bite” Milena d’Aniello and “Causes of open bite. Types and orthodontic solutions” by Massimilano Ciaravolo.
That was it, the scientific programme was over and after many thanks, promises and handshakes, the GK heroes were free to visit the eternal city again. One of the group suggested the Basilica of St Paul, the second largest basilica in Rome, where the bones of St Paul, minus the head, rest, as the next destination. It was a very successful visit, with the sounds of the mighty church organ, an encounter with a monk knight who had made the pilgrimage there from Brazil, and a cosy cup of tea on the doorstep. The question of what to do next was quickly resolved with the suggestion of dinner in Piazza Navona, which still follows the outline of a sports stadium commissioned by Emperor Titus Domitian in 80 AD. So they spent the sunny spring evening eating pasta, drinking wine and marvelling at Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, which occupies the centre of the piazza. After the sun had set, it was time to end the “totally exhausting” days and say goodbye to Rome to start the journey home.