British Endodontic Society 2021 annual conference: ‘To treat or not to treat?’

British Endodontic SocietyDentistry reports back from the latest BES annual conference and covers how the society helped the profession during the last two years.

On Wednesday 11 March 2020, the British Endodontic Society Council had to make the inevitable decision to cancel its Spring Scientific Meeting.

International speakers were cancelling due to the restrictions placed by their organisations against travelling. And unease was increasing in the UK for both travelling and mixing in large groups.

No one knew exactly what we were heading for. But the seriousness of COVID-19 pandemic took most by surprise.

For many organisations at the time, their world was in turmoil. Many social and professional events would not be the same again for the next 18 months.

COVID-19 pandemic

The cancellation of the conference, organised for many months beforehand, was a huge disappointment for the BES and for the incoming president, Dr Sanjeev Bhanderi. But it was of course unavoidable.

This was the start of a paradigm shift in the way the whole of dentistry would have to cope and manage with the unprecedented restrictions that came soon after.

However, from the moment that lockdown was implemented for the UK, the BES did not rest. In early April 2020, it immediately instigated its own ‘COBRA’ pandemic committee. The aim was to give guidance to our colleagues who still had to deal with patients, initially remotely, with the ‘advice, antibiotics, analgesics’ approach until dental practices were allowed to re-open.

The BES committee, led by Sanjeev, published evidence-based guidance for dealing with acute and non-acute endodontic cases. Notably: Diagnosis and management of endodontic emergencies and BES Covid-19 return to work SOP documents. Both of which were widely commended by dental colleagues and are still currently relevant for dental care.

Alongside this, the BES committee worked closely with the Office of the CDO in drafting the endodontic component of the return-to-work SOP for NHS dental services.

At the same time, Sanjeev worked with the Faculty of Dental Surgery of England helping write guidance documents for the ongoing provision of restorative dental care in secondary and tertiary settings throughout the pandemic.

Virtual events

Once the dust settled and the profession returned to a ‘new norm’ in dental practice, networking and learning was also forced to change. It shifted to numerous online platforms.

Most of the profession will probably have caught up quite easily with their annual CPD requirements. There was a plethora of online lectures on offer during the first lockdown.

With the ongoing restrictions, the BES decided to also shift the platform for its annual ‘regional’ meeting in November 2020 to a two-day online event.

The speakers who were due to present at the cancelled March conference attended ‘virtually’. The enthusiasm by dental colleagues and BES membership to listen to such internationally acclaimed speakers from the USA and Europe had certainly not waned. There were a record number of over 250 registrants, with excellent feedback.

This was a testament to the quality of the subjects and presentations!

To treat or not to treat?

As we rolled into 2021, eagerness to get back to face-to-face meetings were again dashed by the second lockdown and ongoing restrictions on crowds. This meant that the BES cancelled for the second time the Spring Scientific Meeting in London.

In the interim, plans were ongoing by the president, Sanjeev, for a live event in October 2021.

After a hiatus of two years and with 12 months of planning, the BES annual conference was back.

A plush venue for a plush event with over 200 delegates, 15 trade companies, and 14 speakers from eight different countries!

It was also the first in-person endodontic conference in Europe since the pandemic. And one of the first by a dental society in the UK since the start of COVID. It was the BES’ first ever three-day conference: ‘To treat or not to treat?’

British Endodontic Society

BES 2021 annual conference

Day one kicked off, appropriately, with the BES COVID Symposium. This included presentations from research groups at the Universities of Leeds, Kings College, and Newcastle on the latest rapid research on AGPs and dental procedures. As well as a presentation on the effect of endodontic treatment on systemic (cardiovascular) health; all projects were supported by BES research grants.

The belated handover from the past president Dr Mark Hunter to ‘new’ president Dr Sanjeev Bhanderi took place.

The society awarded certificates acknowledging the achievements of undergraduate, foundation dentists, and lecturer prize winners.

The Friday night saw the formal dinner and dance event. There was a phenomenal live band and non-stop dancing by 130 delegates!

Day two and three showcased some stunning and eloquent presentations on contemporary concepts of auto and intentional transplantation of teeth; piezo-microsurgery; biofilms; external cervical root resorption; 3D-guided apical microsurgery; and calcium silicate materials.

Expert UK speakers gave short interactive ‘table clinics’ on the topics of medicolegal and consent issues in endodontics; restoration of the root-filled tooth; and how to set-up a referral practice.

‘A huge thanks’

A huge amount of credit goes to Mrs Annabel Thomas (chief operations officer), Mrs Suzanne McClean (membership administrator), the president Dr Sanjeev Bhanderi, BES council, and certainly all the speakers who were hugely enthusiastic to get back to face-to-face meetings and deliver their knowledge and expertise.

The event also saw the launch of BES’s new Early Careers Group. There was an extravaganza reception party open to all delegates. The aim was to encourage young colleagues who have an interest to develop their careers in endodontics. As well as to interact and engage with experienced members of BES.

The entire dental profession is glad to be back to live meetings.

Overall, the successful British Endodontic Society 2021 conference paves the way for a comeback to more in-person events.

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