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31 Jul 2023 | Australasian Dental Practice

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Catching up with Dr Isabella Rocchietta ahead of her Australian workshop tour

By Joseph Allbeury

Italian Periodontist, Dr Isabella Rocchietta, was one of the presenters at Osteology Barcelona in April and is also the latest addition to the board of Osteology. We caught up with Dr Rocchietta there to congratulate her on this achievement and for a preview of what to expect when she delivers two workshops in Australia this October.

Thank you very much for your time and congratulations on becoming the latest member of the Osteology Board.

Thank you.

What do you hope to achieve as a board member?

Well, first of all, I'm extremely honoured and grateful. I've always looked up at the Osteology Foundation as being one of the most challenging and in a way, enthusiastic groups of individuals who promote education and knowledge in our field. Being part of this means contributing to increasing the education around which I care very much about.

So when I see you in a few years' time...

We will hopefully have found even more ways to educate professionals with the sole outcome of improving patient care.

And do you think it's really important for more women to take up these leadership roles in education like this?


And is it exciting? Is it fulfilling? Is it a new level to your career?

It's very fulfilling for me personally. I think it goes down to having the passion to educate and disseminate knowledge. And you know this from the very beginning, from when perhaps you're doing this with your small local study groups or at University. I've always known. So I assume this is something that you have from the very beginning and then whether you grow it or not, it's down to your personal ambition and the lifestyle you want to lead.

And have you found any problems or barriers as a woman to doing this?

I don't think I ever received any discrimination because I was a woman in the last decade. What I found difficult was at the very beginning of my career, when I didn't have any literature that backed me up nor any experience, the attitude of peers and superiors was different between myself and a male fellow colleague. Because I had to work harder to gain respect and reputation within the community in order to establish myself.

That's good to hear that times are changing. And I also hear you have some interesting research you've been presenting here at Osteology Barcelona?

Yes. We've just published a very meticulous and in-depth review that I've been showing here. It's a randomised control trial where we're looking at every detail of vertical augmentation procedures, especially focusing on the human factor - the capability of the surgeon - in relation to the percentage of complications and success rates.

And what have you found?

We've found that it's obviously correlated. The more experience you have, the less complications you acquire. And this does not mean that you don't have complications, it means that you have a significantly lower number. And it confirms the fact that these surgeries are down to a series of factors which include the personal ability to perform. So training, training, training and more training mitigates complications to a great extent. Repetition, repetition, repetition... and applying a strict protocol to what you do is a key factor in lowering complications.

Was there a sweet spot in terms of where the number of complications reduced dramatically once a surgeon has performed a procedure a certain number of times?

We have looked statistically at these numbers; however, I still think we should not rely on numbers alone because it's too dangerous. I can give you the average number that we have found, which is 200 procedures, but what does that mean? Which kind of procedures? When and how long have you been performing these procedures? So, there are too many factors involved. So simply concluding that if you've done 200 procedures, you can call yourself an expert in vertical augmentation is a little risky.

However, from a literature standpoint, it's a good starting point to start assessing all of what we do from a clinician's point of view.

Because there is a high risk that the randomised control trials are scientifically at the highest level of evidence when it comes to reliability, but it takes away the human factor, which, from a clinical perspective, is at the highest level.

So funnily enough, you're dealing with one compared to the opposite of the other. So, for the first time, we have basically tried to merge the two.

Very interesting. And clinically, what are you doing that's exciting?

Treating patients every day! I must say that the most exciting aspect for me is to try to be as conservative as possible whilst we're doing these big surgeries. So, trying to really minimise the flap designs to reduce trauma to the soft tissues. And we have seen tremendous improvements when it comes to doing this.

The other really great step forward is all the diagnostics before treatment commences. There is so much planning and digital diagnostics that you can do pre-operatively. So, you arrive in the operating theatre with an overall reduction in surgical time, a less invasive treatment and this decreases the patients' post operative morbidity which is always very much appreciated.

And are you using Geistlich products and a lot?

Yes, I do. I mainly use the bone substitutes.

Which Geistlich products do you use?

I use the Geistlich Bio-Gide® membranes and Geistlich Bio-Oss® bone substitutes. Connective tissue grafts are still the gold standard for soft tissue because for the time being, the connective tissue graft still outperforms the substitutes.

And you're coming to Australia in October?

Yes, I'm looking forward to it.

So, what can people expect to hear? What will you be talking about?

I'll be lecturing on how to treat moderate to severe bone atrophic cases. It will be an A to Z of what you need to know with tips and tricks on how to manage complications and how to avoid them. I'll cover everything including hands-on procedures for performing a horizontal augmentation as well as getting into the nitty-gritty of all the details.

It sounds like that will be very popular amongst Australian clinicians. Thank you for your time and I look forward to your lecture in October.

Thank you and see you in Australia.

REGISTER NOW!Hard and soft tissue reconstruction of alveolar defects using Guided Bone Regeneration is the title of two full day workshop programmes in Melbourne and Sydney this October, presented by Italian Periodontist Dr Isabella Rocchietta and sponsored by Geistlich Biomaterials.

Surgery Design

One Man's Opinion



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