Spring Meeting a success!!

"That sweet city with her dreaming spires", a description of Oxford attributed to the poet Matthew Arnold (Professor of Poetry at the University 1857-67) in his 1866 poem "Thyrsis", was the location for the short visit that the BSP made in March for a single day scientific meeting (this being a Europerio year) and dinner.

The weather was unseasonably fine for our visit to Keble College, which provided a dramatic setting for meeting, accommodation and dinner. The Chapel (see above) of the college also provided an opportunity for members to enjoy a magnificent organ recital by our own Ian Needleman.

The meeting itself was held in a purpose-built conference venue adjacent to the old college and the programme had attracted a great deal of interest among the Society's members, with not an empty seat in sight. An adjacent building hosted a well supported trade show.

After a brief welcome to delegates, Dr Trevor Watts, President of the BSP, presented Honorary Membership to an old colleague of the BSP, and one of the principal speakers of the day, Professor Ubele van der Velden. Professor van der Velden said he was delighted to accept the accolade of Honorary Membership of the BSP, as well as the bottle of Laphroaig.

The President and our newest Honorary Member were then joined on the platform by 2 existing Honorary Members, Dr Bernie Kieser and Professor Roy Page, also a speaker later in the day. The scientific programme looked at the relative importance of microbial and patient factors in periodontitis and peri-implantitis.

The first two presentations were by 2 well known faces to the BSP, Professor William wade, Professor of microbiology at King's College, London and Dr Mike Martin, consultant microbiologist at Liverpool University. They were followed, in the afternoon session, by Professors Tord Berglundh and Ubele van der Velden and the meeting was closed by Professor Roy Page.

Professor Wade described the uniqueness of periodontitis as an infection and pointed out the difficulties that microbiologists have in culturing the oral microflora. He went on to describe his involvement in "CHOMP" (Complete Human Oral Microbe Project) and the ways in which more of the human microflora can be identified.

Dr Martin took on the subject of whether we end up with the bugs we deserve, looking at how the local environment influences the biofilm in the periodontal pocket and thus pathogenicity. As well as being introduced to the concept of quorum sensing we were also delighted to meet his newly born grandchild, plus agar plate, who, as he showed us, was able to produce a cultivable oral microflora within minutes of birth. Professor Berglundh concentrated on peri-implantitis and peri-implant mucositis, and the treatment methods for each. He pointed out both the similarities (particularly in terms of risk factors patient susceptibility) and differences between peri-implant conditions and periodontitis and described his preferred treatment approaches for peri-implant disease. He emphasised the importance of pocket elimination by surgery and the need to have to accept an impaired aesthetic result in order to assure implant survival.

Professor van der Velden explored whether we can predict periodontal destruction from the clinical or micrbiological findings, or both. He described in detail the project with which he has been involved in Java (1987 - 1994), highlighting the differences between risk predictors, risk determinants and risk factors. Interestingly, no relationship was found between smoking and disease progression in this subject cohort, nor was plaque found to be a risk factor!

Professor Page closed the meeting with a controversial and riveting exploration of the relationship between host factors and the microflora in periodontal disease. He proposed that in the future treatment strategies may involve the use of drug therapies to influence the host response, rather than, as at present, bacterial control.

With the meeting closed, and prior to dinner in the magnificent dining hall of Keble College, those who made their way over to the Chapel (and many did, it was good to see) were treated to a superb recital by Dr Ian Needleman on the Chapel's magnificent organ. Ian's programme lasted a full hour and he was ably supported by the page-turning Francis Hughes. His selection of pieces was epic in scope and many of us were bowled over by his artistry. His Messaien had the rafters shaking, as did his encore of Bach's D minor Toccata.

Future meetings will have to be held at venues with organs! Following a champagne reception, dinner was held in the Potter-inspiring surroundings of the Keble College Dining Hall and provided the opportunity to dine with friends in great style. The President did not disappoint with the after-dinner entertainment, providing his own version of a Bernard Cribbens song, suitable for periodontal ears. Thanks go to our major sponsors for supporting a highly successful and well-attended meeting - Oral B Laboratories, Pfizer, Philips Oral Healthcare and Straumann Ltd - as well as other trade exhibitors. See you all in Madrid! Phil Ower