Looking to the future at this year’s Dentech Conference

Innovation took centre stage at the Forsyth Institute’s Dentech Conference

12 February, 2024 / indepth
 Will Peakin  

The ADA Forsyth Institute’s annual Dentech conference is a haven for those passionate about pushing the boundaries of oral healthcare. The event, held last autumn, was no exception; with a dazzling array of technologies taking centre stage.

From AI-powered diagnostics to 3D-printed dentures, Forsyth Dentech 2023 offered a glimpse into the future of dentistry – where precision, personalisation and convenience reign supreme.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming many professions, and dentistry is no different. Forsyth Dentech saw several companies showcasing AI-powered solutions designed to streamline diagnoses, improve treatment planning and personalise patient care.

From AI-powered diagnostics to 3D-printed dentures, Forsyth Dentech 2023 offered a glimpse into the future of dentistry – where precision, personalisation and convenience reign supreme

3D printing technology has made significant strides in recent years, and its impact on dentistry is undeniable. Forsyth Dentech showcased several innovative applications, from printing custom-fit crowns and bridges to creating biocompatible implants.

While AI and 3D printing grabbed the headlines, Dentech 2023 also featured other noteworthy advancements. TeleDentistry solutions highlighted the growing trend of virtual consultations and remote care delivery. Advanced materials research presented possibilities for stronger, more biocompatible fillings and dental implants. Oral microbiome analysis tools offered insights into the link between oral health and overall wellbeing, paving the way for personalised preventive care strategies.

As well as convening thought leaders, stakeholders and investors from the oral health innovation ecosystem – and featuring keynote speakers and discussion panels – Dentech included a pitch competition attracting investors from all over the world. The past two Dentech conferences led to more than $50m being raised in funding for participating start-ups.

More than 65 companies pitched for Dentech, with 17 being showcased and the four highest-scoring companies were invited to a closed session with investors. Among the 17 was Scotland’s Dentherapy. It has developed Toothboost® Technology, a proprietary formulation. Toothboost supports healthy oral microbiome and combines preventative, restorative and sensory properties, supported by in-vitro studies and consumer trials.

It gives consumers the opportunity to boost their daily oral care routines with it’s easy-to-use, anytime, anywhere application. The pocket-sized ‘no-rinse’ spray application, boosts the saliva’s remineralising and buffering function, enabling consumers to protect their teeth directly after foods, snacks and drinks – at times when use of toothpaste or mouthwash are not convenient or possible.

Speaker, Carol Rafferty
Carol Rafferty of Aberdeen-based Dentherapy

But Dentech was not just about showcasing the latest technological breakthroughs; it was also about fostering collaboration. The conference brought together thought leaders, researchers, entrepreneurs and clinicians.

It was attended by more than 200 people representing countries (20) from all around the world, universities (25), companies (56), dental practices (11), government agencies (3), organisations (16), venture capital (14) and startups (27 were chosen from 75 applicants, of which 17 pitched and 10 shared posters). Panel discussions focused on equity and ‘access for all’ to oral care support and provision.

The importance of user-driven research was also discussed; how we translate our science into new technologies and products to support oral, metabolic and systemic health. Keynote speakers and panel discussions also focused on the link between oral, metabolic and systemic health. Dental and medical professionals need to align and collaborate in delivering preventative advice and treatments to support both oral and systemic health.

“While listening to the panel discussions and keynote speakers,” said Carol, “I reflected that Toothboost Oral Mist is a ‘user-driven’ product, with the potential to support both oral and systemic health, for a wide range of consumers and patient groups to include those in community settings. We are following up on several interests and commercial opportunities after taking part in Dentech.”

Ones to watch

  • Customisable, 3D-printed scaffold for repairing and regenerating bone in oral and maxillofacial surgery (3DOS). 
  • Automated workflow for dental front desk teams around benefits verification, cost calculation and out-of-pocket payments (AirPay).
  • Resorbable hydrogel and chitosan-based glue and barrier that has the adhesion and mechanical strength to reconnect trigeminal and other peripheral nerves, eliminating the need for suture (Amend Surgical).
  • Prescription oral care device that uses microcurrent stimulation to treat periodontitis (Biolectrics).
  • A cholorimetric-based platform capable of identifying cavities inside or outside the dental setting (Cavisense).
  • Bioengineered tissue for dental applications (Cutiss).
  • AI-powered diagnosis, treatment design and patient engagement (DeepCare).
  • An oral mist delivered from a pocket-sized applicator to boost saliva’s remineralising and buffering function after consumption of food, snacks or drinks. (Dentherapy).
  • A narrow-spectrum bactericidal compound with selective activity against spirochetal bacteria and Fusobacterium and limited impact on the gut microbiome (Flightpath Biosciences).
  • A proprietary starch particle technology platform, involving small submicron particles that can be targeted, enabling dentists to visualise caries disease better and earlier, and to accurately assess when to treat and make painless, natural repair possible (GreenMark Biomedical).
  • Ion release materials, delivered through toothpaste, to address tooth sensitivity and enamel repair and mineralisation (IR Scientific) (IR-S) is a biomaterials research and development company
    based in Halifax, Canada. It is focused on the development of cosmetic and therapeutic products and the commercialisation of ion-release materials for specific roles in consumer, professional, and industrial applications.
  • A non-invasive, real-time, and visually intuitive means of assessing oral inflammation levels (Oral Science International).
  • A gel which activates the regenerative properties of a tooth to restore vital pulp and dentin damaged by decay or trauma (RegendoDent).
  • A biocompatible bone adhesive, inspired by the marine sandcastle worm, for bone-to-bone and bone-to-metal wet field applications (RevBio).
  • Non-invasive therapeutic ultrasound dental technologies to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of bone remodelling in orthodontic, periodontal and dental implant treatments (SmileSonica).
  • A 3D printing and digital technology that combines braces and retainer in one (Straightwise).
  • A CAD software platform for the design of dental treatment appliances, from dentures to aligners, to support the transition to next-generation digital and cloud-based workflows in dentistry (Voyager Dental).

Dentech Conference showcases new institute

The Forsyth Institute and the American Dental Association (ADA) have formed the ADA Forsyth Institute. Dr Raymond Cohlmia, the ADA’s Chief Executive, and Elyse Cherry, chair of the Forsyth Institute’s board, announced the partnership at Forsyth Dentech 2023.  It will, said representatives of both organisations, “bring together unparalleled talent, visionary research opportunities and dynamic innovation prospects, dedicated to advancing oral health through scientific innovation and research.” Maura Healey, the Governor of Massachusetts, said: “The Institute will continue to advance oral and overall health through ground-breaking research and innovation. The Institute has been and will continue to be, an integral part of the Massachusetts bio-innovation and research community.

“This new venture will build on more than a century of excellent work, including the discovery of how fluoride prevents cavities.” Dr Wenyuan Shi, President and Chief Executive of the Forsyth Institute, said: “The new institute will be a world-class leader in dentistry, defining the future of oral health through biological research, local and global public health outreach and technological innovation. The positive impact will be felt globally.” Founded in 1910 by James Forsyth, who was known as “the father of the rubber industry”, The Forsyth Institute began as a philanthropic effort to provide dental care to children in the Boston area and grew to become a leader in biomedical research. Among its many advancements, it developed the first local antibiotic to treat gum disease and discovered the bacteria that causes cavities. It also provides oral healthcare through mobile, private practice and global programmes.

For more events visit our Diary page.

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