The debate for change, or not, of the Society's name will take place at 17:00 on Thursday, 24th September. There will be two short presentations, one "for" and one "against" the change of name made by Professor Nikos Donos and Dr Isobel Madden respectively. A summary of their arguments follows.
PROPOSAL FOR THE CHANGE OF NAME - Professor Nikos Donos
In a recent survey undertaken by the BSP, it was clearly shown that the new generation of graduates do not necessarily consider the specialty of Periodontology and the procedures that the discipline involves as the most appealing in terms of career pathway and investment. At the same time, the area of implant dentistry, for various reasons, is considered exciting, innovative and an area that many graduates would wish to invest time and money for post-graduate studies. Indeed, dental implants and bone augmentation techniques have in a sense completely changed the way that dentists rehabilitate patients when significant number of teeth is missing and as such challenging restorative elements are involved in the treatment plan.
At the same time, further development of implant dentistry is taking place by the fact that industry is providing a significant amount of funds in terms of research and development in implants and related procedures in order to increase knowledge of the biological process that take place with different implant surfaces during osseointegration and at the same time increase predictability of the clinical outcomes.
Within the international community of Periodontists (...and not only), it is widely accepted that clinical academics specialized in periodontology are the pioneers and established research leaders evaluating the biologic process of osseointegration, surgical techniques and maintenance of dental implants. Furthermore, based on recent systematic reviews, we should also expect that Periodontists will be the Specialists who will also treat the complications deriving from peri-implantitis, which is a fact that as specialists we have a responsibility not to ignore.
The above mentioned leadership in the field of implant is well linked to the fact that the current postgraduate programmes in Periodontology provide a critical and evidence based treatment approach as well as all the necessary competencies to perform all required related to implants surgical techniques and maintenance strategies for our patients. At the same time, this type of training allows Periodontists to guide GDPs and other Specialists to provide the most appropriate treatment plan to result to healthy periodontal and peri-implant tissues prior to the final prosthodontic element of the implants. It is also important to realize though that Implant Dentistry is a treatment that should involve collaboration between Periodontists and other specialties as Prosthodontists and we should not, as discipline, claim credit to the whole term of Implant Dentistry. However, it would be appropriate to add to the name of our society the term "osseointegration" in order to express ownership in the biologic and surgical process of implant dentistry. In view of the emerging "implantology" related societies, possible Implant Dentistry specialty list discussed at the GDC as well as competition for the attraction of larger number of new graduates that will ensure the longevity of our society it would be essential to have a name in our society that is linking immediately the surgical aspect of Implant dentistry with our discipline. Therefore, it could be debated that the society could be now called "British Society of Periodontology and Osseointegration", a name which has already been adopted by a number of other EFP member societies.
PROPOSAL AGAINST THE CHANGE OF NAME - Dr Isobel Madden
The British Society of Periodontology was founded to promote "the art and science of Periodontology", and since its beginnings in 1949, has become one of the foremost professional societies in Dentistry providing support for members whose practice is focused on management of the supporting structures of the tooth. This year we celebrate our Diamond Jubilee, with a reputation for sound support for the specialty over that period of time.
We have a strong "brand image", well-attended meetings and links with colleagues in our specialty throughout the world. The recent success of BSP within the Pan Dental meeting is one example of this, with the Periodontology sessions having the highest number of attendees.
Periodontology as a specialist subject has a wide range of involvement in Dentistry, and our members practice in many fields including clinical practice, research, education and training. Within the specialty, the focus has always been on the retention of teeth and minimizing the consequences of tooth loss, with mucogingival management, grafting and augmentation used to support restorative replacements. Within that range, implants have become an effective and established procedure, however the awareness of soft tissue handling and techniques used in Periodontology have helped improve the predictability and outcome of implant treatment in a similar manner to these procedures being used for enhancing restorative treatment outcomes. Each element of this has been subject to stringent research and reporting, and this has been supported and encouraged by the Society in training and clinical practice.
If the society focus is to promote Periodontology, and embrace the whole concept of the total tissue supporting the tooth or a device, we need to provide this as the image of the specialty.
Using the argument for expanding the title, why should we limit ourselves to the inclusion of only one element, implants? We could be asking that the rest of restorative care should be included for similar reasons. As technology and future trends change perhaps we may need to consider how genetic engineering is going to affect things and with this in mind should we then be looking at changing the name of the Society just because something is sexy or attractive or should we retain our skills by way of expertise and reputation, thus encouraging a good cohort of members who are passionate about the Society's mission? Perhaps as we continue to research ways of improving the periodontal health of our patients - and there are many innovative studies being undertaken to use resources to rehabilitate the oral condition - we might start to look at including these other names into the Society's future title. Would we consider becoming the "British Society of Periodontology, Implantology, Stem Cell Treatment, Genetic Manipulation ….." etc, etc?
By retaining the title, the British Society of Periodontology, we include all aspects of the field, we can promote our brand, and we do not limit ourselves to particular areas of the subject.