Every two years, the focus of the dental world converges on the industry's most important trade fair and the International Dental Show (IDS) 2017, in Cologne, Germany, is now only weeks away. There is no shortage of reasons to visit IDS 2017, but one in particular should have "visionary" dental practitioners queueing around the corner.
In 2015, the 36th biennual trade fair set a new benchmark for attendance when approximately 140,000 people from 152 countries visited what has grown to become the world's most important dental event. This surpassed 2013 visitor figures by more than 10 per cent and with 2,199 companies from 59 countries showcasing the latest dental innovations, product developments and services, on an area covering 157,000 square metres, attendees were spoilt with a wealth of future-oriented industry insights, advancements and perspectives to absorb during their visit.
Between March 21-25, Cologne will again become the focal point of the dental world when it hosts the 37th IDS. With more than 2,400 companies from approximately 60 countries expected to be in attendance, the event will provide a first-hand opportunity for visitors to see cutting-edge technologies and innovations as well as interesting product developments and new services changing and improving the way dentistry is practiced.
Australia's Myofunctional Research Co. (MRC) took the first step on the journey to become global dental innovators by exhibiting at IDS 1997 and the company has had a regular presence at the trade fair ever since. In 2015, MRC was one of the largest Australian exhibitor at the event and MRC Operations Manager Daniel Smith said preparation for IDS 2017 had reached the final stages.
"Since it began in the early 1900s, IDS has grown to become the most important trade fair in the dental industry, so it's essential for us to have a presence there on the world stage alongside other industry innovators," he said.
"As well as the opportunity to showcase our most recent advances in scientifically grounded, biologically-based treatments for malocclusion, upper airway dysfunction and TMJ disorder, the event allows us to reconnect with people in our global practitioner networks who are an important part of what we do.
"Our European division is based in the Netherlands, not far from Cologne, and exhibiting at IDS also allows us to connect with our distributors from more than 100 countries, which provides an opportunity to discuss our latest developments in treatment and educational innovations with them.
"A lot of time and energy goes into our attendance at IDS and the weeks leading up to the event are always very exciting."
The man at the heart of new developments in MRC's advanced intra-oral appliance technology, innovative online patient education programs and doctor training programs, company founder and CEO Dr Chris Farrell, believes oversupply as well as corporatisation of the dental industry has changed the professional landscape but IDS was a good indication that it was not all doom and gloom.
"By packaging habit correction, arch expansion, airway correction and dental alignment into cohesive, functionally designed treatments, our Myobrace® and myOSA® myofunctional systems are designed to address the aetiological factors that interfere with craniofacial growth and cause malocclusion, as well as Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) and TMJ disorder," he said.
"The advances we have made to our myofunctional treatment systems are not only changing the way orthodontic treatment is performed, they are also offering opportunities for dental practitioners to thrive in an increasingly competitive market by providing new treatment avenues, as well as new opportunities to collaborate with other medical professionals.
"Showcasing these advancements in Cologne has always been important to us because IDS is a cardinal point of the dental industry and many companies time the cycle of their product releases accordingly.
"This also means that dental professionals who visit IDS are fortunate to see a complete range of innovations from companies in 60 countries and across all dental fields.
"The format of the show begins with a dealer's day and is essentially a one-stop-shop for everything dental."
Dr Farrell said as well as growing demand for preventive, early pre-orthodontic myofunctional treatments, MRC's presence at past IDS events had contributed to rapidly increasing industry awareness of the company's advanced intra-oral appliance technology, online patient education programs and doctor training programs.
"Since we started with our concept more than 25 years ago, Myobrace has become the world's most advanced myofunctional orthodontic treatment system and satisfies an increasing demand for modern scientifically grounded, biologically based pre-orthodontic treatment," Dr Farrell said.
"The success of The Myobrace System is the result of its intelligently structured system, which incorporates unique myofunctional appliance design characteristics, coupled with revolutionary doctor and patient education programs as well as practice management systems.
"It allows practitioners to treat more children earlier, improve patient flow, and increase efficiency by delegation as well as added financial benefits for both the doctor and parent."
"During IDS 2015, we launched the Myobrace Activities App, which was a large step forward for myofunctional treatment and it was exciting to have the opportunity to unveil it in Cologne."
Since IDS 2015, the Myobrace appliance range has expanded and the most recent advances, which will be showcased at the 2017 event in March, include development of three new Myobrace appliances, designed specifically to treat children with broad arch-forms.
Development has also continued on the ground-breaking Myobrace Activities App, which has become an integral part of The Myobrace System since launching in 2015. It is now available in a multitude of languages, providing practitioners around the world with a powerful tool to improve patient compliance and assist their patients in correcting their poor myofunctional habits.
Mr Smith said as well as new appliance technology, the MRC production team had built on the success of the Myobrace Activities App and were putting the finishing touches on the company's latest digital educational tool, scheduled for launch at IDS 2017.
"The Myobrace Patient Consultation App can be used to identify myofunctional problems through a built-in screening and evaluation tool," he said.
"The App can be easily implemented into the practice and allows practitioners and staff to deliver information to the parent and patient that relates to the health concerns affecting the child's growth and development.
"It also clearly explains the benefits of myofunctional orthodontics using The Myobrace System and information presented in this digital consultation also forms the basis for patient motivation throughout the initial stages of treatment.
"We are confident the Patient Consultation App will have as much impact as the Activities App has had and IDS with its history and high regard in the industry is the ideal place to launch."
It's not only in the digital sphere where MRC has been making innovative and exciting new developments. Recently, the medical spotlight has been pointed at the high prevalence and severity of Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) in modern children as well as adults, which can lead to problems ranging from behavioural issues in children to heart problems and stroke. Treatment with intra-oral appliances is now considered to be the most convenient way to alleviate SDB and with more than 25 years' experience developing effective myofunctional appliances, MRC has developed the myOSA range of myofunctional sleep appliances.
Dr Farrell said the myOSA system, which will be showcased for the first time at IDS 2017, provides advanced practitioners with treatment options for people seeking SDB solutions and has the correction of poor breathing habits at its core.
"Rather than just focus on alleviating the symptoms of SDB, the philosophy behind the myOSA appliance range is aimed at treating the upper airway and neuromuscular dysfunction, which are the fundamental causes," he said.
"The causes of Sleep Disordered Breathing are varied and can differ between individuals but because MRC has focused on developing myofunctional sleep appliances for more than 27 years, there is now a full range of treatment options readily available.
"While the myOSA and Myobrace systems work well independently, they can easily be combined to broaden the scope of practice by offering Sleep Dentistry and TMJ disorder treatment, as well as the correction of malocclusion, which can result in improved overall health benefits for the patient with the potential for increased revenue."
The myOSA range includes sleep appliances suitable for a wide spectrum of patients and includes appliances to suit patients from as young as two years old through to adults, as well as specialty appliances targeted at bruxing and jaw joint (TMJ) disorders, which are associated with SDB.
MRC's systems are designed to integrate patient consultation, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, education, clinical management and health goals, which can enable dental professionals to treat more children earlier than previously thought possible, increase patient flow, diversify treatment by offering solutions for SDB and TMJ, as well as improve practice efficiency.
During IDS 2017, MRC representatives will also be on hand to discuss the options for attending one of MRC's hands-on education and training seminars, which are helping practitioners around the world to successfully integrate myofunctional treatment systems into their practice.