Given the unique challenges of the past couple of years, it is no wonder that so many people, protocols and businesses have been permanently changed. There are few aspects of life that went unaffected since the pandemic began and dentistry was no different. For the Association of Dental Implantology (ADI), this meant adjusting the usually packed educational programme to promote safety of professionals and to meet with local and national restrictions. The organisation was also keen to evolve and refine other services and benefits in order to better support members during these difficult times.
As she comes to the end of her term as president of the ADI, Eimear O’Connell reflects on the past year. She comments, “At the outset of the pandemic, dental implant placements were stopped early as they are elective procedures. It was a very challenging time for all. With regards to the ADI, the committee was asked to deliver a public health message before the government and chief dental officers, who were taking the lead on dental professional rules and recommendations.
“To protect our patients and our membership, the ADI also took the decision to cancel our masterclass in early March just prior to the national lockdown. This was a costly decision, but as healthcare providers, we felt it was irresponsible to bring colleagues from all over the UK to London, which was a hotspot for the virus at that time.”
This necessity to postpone live events, of course, continued across the sector for several months. As a result, networking became much harder for dental professionals, though not impossible thanks to the innovative virtual platforms utilised. This was a time of adaptation for everyone and the ADI was no different.
“Driving the organisation forward without being able to operate in our tried and tested way was difficult,” Eimear continues. “We adapted and all committee meetings took place on Zoom, as did all our study clubs. We were able to strengthen our relationship with Dentinal Tubules in order to expand the virtual learning opportunities available to our members. The Gateway was also launched, which was a big bonus for our members and we hope over time that this will grow as a fantastic tool for helping research in dentistry, especially for postgraduate work.
“In general, we are proud to have continued building a strong portfolio of membership benefits despite everything going on, which included the recently added note taking facility – Kiroku. Members now have free access to an ADI script on the platform to support record keeping with dental implant patients.”
Looking ahead, Eimear is optimistic for the future of the ADI and its members, having so far weathered the storm of covid and come out stronger the other side. She continues, “The organisation is well placed to meet the challenges of the future and is financially secure. Over the coming years, I would like to help the ADI engage more deeply with all genders, ages and ethnicities to promote even greater diversity and inclusion. Steps have already been taken to make the ADI accessible to all and long will this continue. For example, dentists in their first five years following qualification can join the ADI for free for two years and then only pay 50 per cent for the next three years. Similarly, we are looking to encourage more team members and dental technicians to join. We want the ADI to stay an organisation that individuals want and are able to be a part of, whatever their situation or level of experience.
“There are also always other wonderful opportunities for the organisation to grow as patient demand increases. As the general populace ages and becomes more conscious of the benefits of a fully functioning, healthy dentition, dental implants will become more commonplace. The ADI is well placed to help provide education to all members of the dental implant team about the benefits of and long-term maintenance needed for dental implants. This is only one part of the remit of treatment modalities at our disposal to help our patients have a healthy, highly functioning masticatory complex for life, but it’s an important one.”
The ADI will move forward with new president, Amit Patel, and there are plenty of educational and networking events on the horizon for members to look forward to. Despite all the changes we have witnessed, one thing that has remained constant is the ADI’s willingness and ability to stay relevant to its members.
If you are involved with the delivery or maintenance of dental implants, or would like to be in the future, joining the ADI provides a valuable platform for development. Consider joining today!
For more information about the ADI, or to join, please visit the website www.adi.org.uk