Kia Ora from New Zealand, where the NZAO Biennial Conference was held from 15-18 March in Christchurch, after being postponed twice, in both 2021 and 2022, due to the pandemic.
The scientific programme was dominated by local NZ speakers, with just three contributors from Australia. The organising committee, led by our Immediate Past President Dr Marguerite Crooks, adopted this policy when first putting the programme together during the earlier days of the pandemic, thinking that international travel may still be limited when the Conference eventually took place. As it happened there was no restriction to travel but Covid still made its presence felt, with the meeting unfortunately proving to be a rather significant spreading event for the virus.
NZAO was delighted and honoured by the attendance of the APOS President, Dr Roberto Tan, who somehow managed to find time in his busy schedule to spend a few days with us. The meeting provided an opportunity for Roberto to present Dr Prashant Zaveri with his recent APOS Honorary Fellow Award at the Orthodontists Dinner.
Another international guest was the current President of the American Association of Orthodontists, Dr Norman Nagel of Los Angeles, California. This was the first time NZAO had hosted an AAO President, and it also was a great honour to have him attend and give a short presentation.
The speaker programme opened with a full session of non-orthodontic speakers from the Christchurch medical community, covering a variety of topics such as Covid vaccines, common cancers, and cannabis abuse. A further full session involved a “mini-symposium” on hypo-mineralised teeth led by Professor Mike Hubbard, of the University of Melbourne and the D3 group (thed3group.org). Dr Prashant Zaveri gave a wonderful presentation on the “biotype” enigma in orthodontics, fusing his deep knowledge of his twin specialties of orthodontics and periodontics.
The Chair of New Zealand’s post-graduate (resident) programme in orthodontics, Professor Mauro Farella, presented interesting “clinical pearls” from the resident clinics. Drs Ronald Sluiter (Christchurch) and Sarah Lawrence (Melbourne, Australia) presented enlightening developments in aligner therapy, and Dr Rhonda Coyne (Cairns, Australia) impressed with her innovative use of Dental Monitoring for both aligner and fixed appliance patients. The programme also included two maxillofacial surgeons discussing innovations in orthognathic surgery and mandibular distraction, as well as a prosthodontist covering treatment of patients with multiple missing teeth. Finally, a specialist in Oral Medicine gave an update of that field pertaining to orthodontic practice.
A comprehensive programme was also provided for auxiliary staff, and two large dinner events were the social highlights, including an Irish-themed celebration on the eve of St Patrick’s Day. The trades display was well-attended, and the contribution by our sponsors and exhibitors was greatly appreciated.
New Zealand orthodontists attended this Conference in record numbers and it was wonderful to see members enjoying each other’s company, albeit with some fallout in the form of positive Covid tests after the event.