The 2020 EARDH (European Association of Registered Dental Hygienists) annual conference was a success, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
The original date for the EARDH conference was in late spring 2020. However, the circumstances forced us to make changes and figure out a Plan B. We all needed to get some CEUs over here since traveling to the US wasn’t an option.
From the beginning of the pandemic we had speaker cancellations and speaker changes. Then, there were restrictions on the number of people who were allowed to gather at once. Finally, some potential attendees opted to postpone due to the uncertainty of everything. It seemed like the only option was to cancel the event for this year.
Despite testing our adaptability, these challenges made for a cozy group and a pleasant experience this year.
Ultradent Whitening Refresher
This year was a bit more hands on than last year. Ultradent, the makers of Opalescence tooth whitening products, opened our meeting with a refresher course on in-office and take-home bleaching products.
Afterwards, a lab technician gave us a refresher course on bleaching tray fabrication. We were able to fabricate trays using a German vacuum forming machine, the Ministar, by Scheu. The Ministar uses a barcode scanner to register the material and the thickness. The Ministar is automated and can be operated by the push of a button.
It prepares the settings and prompts you to load the tray material. Afterwards, it alerts you when the vacuuming is complete and the model can be removed. This presentation took us into lunch.
The EARDH 2020 Venue
The meetings always include breakfast, lunch and dinner for EARDH annual conference attendees staying at the hotel. It is most convenient to take advantage of the discounted rate and stay over at the hotel. This way it is easy to arrive early for the opening course.
The conference starts at 8 or 9 am. During the meeting, snacks, coffee and tea were available the entire time. The hotel also made arrangements for restricted diets.
This particular Dorint property, the Dorint Spa Hotel Bad Brückenau, is very nice. Located just outside of Bad Brückenau, a thermal spa town, the area is nice for taking walks and visiting the other buildings on the grounds. The closest airport is in nearby Frankfurt. While the hotel did make adjustments due to the pandemic, we were still able to enjoy a comfortable stay.
Medical Emergencies Review
After lunch, our responses to emergencies in the dental office were updated. We touched on the most common emergencies like heart attacks, angina, diabetic emergencies and allergic reactions. Some less common emergencies were discussed as well. Our speaker stressed the need to recertify or refresh our CPR each year, even when our licenses don’t require it.
This next presentation helped us with our ergonomics. CordEze wristbands fit most ultrasonic scaler cords and are practical to use during dental hygiene appointments. It lessens the strain directly placed on our digits by sharing the weight of the different cords with other parts of our arms. Cordeze is created and patented by a practicing dental hygienist.
Everyone appreciated reviewing this information with Dr. Winkelmann. Dr. Winkelmann is German, but completed dental school in the US. He is a recent graduate of U. Penn.
Unlike US practices, many German dental practices are slow to use the new Perio classification. However, some of the hygienists present work in American practice settings here in Germany and are already using the new classification.
Since Dr. Winkelmann has recent practice with the classification system from dental school, his examples and explanations were spot on. His lecture focused on the staging and grading aspects. He did not delve too much into the specifics of each stage as that was left for another lecture.
Dr. Winkelmann also did a quick presentation on Silver Diamine Fluoride. SDF or Silver Diamine Fluoride is new to the US market. It is used as a desensitizer and caries arrester. A few of us had used SDF in the past in the US and Australia. We could all agree that in certain circumstances, i.e. hard to reach carious lesions and uncooperative children, it is the treatment of choice.
EARDH 2020 Wrap Up
The EARDH 2020 conference closed up with a focus on our own well being. Dr. Salvi (MD) presented “Break through the terror barrier” as a way to help us identify our fears and move past them. Dr. Salvi also offers online Yoga classes and other resources to support total health.
There was a beautiful patio setting just outside our conference room where we had the course. It allowed us to enjoy a refreshingly cool fall day with sunshine and blue skies. We all felt great after that course.
The Qi Gong loosened us up for the round table discussion on dental hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was interesting to get the perspective of hygienists practicing in Swiss, German and American settings. Each setting handles the practice of hygiene differently during the pandemic. However, we all do our best to protect ourselves during the pandemic while providing top-notch care.
Summary – EARDH 2020
Our EARDH conference is always a great experience and the 2020 edition was no different. Of course, we attend to earn our CEUs and keep our licenses active while working overseas. But the experience that encompasses the course is what is of most value.
We all are working overseas or have worked overseas and face similar challenges (read more on my story as a dental hygienist abroad here). We all enjoy the retreat that this weekend provides for dental hygienists. For example, we enjoy speaking English all weekend. That’s a nice mental break for us who speak another language all day at work.
When we discuss the practice of hygiene at our conference, we use the Universal numbering system. No stress this weekend trying to translate the FDI numbers to our own system. We laugh about our experiences and talk about the challenges of being so far from home.
We don’t have to worry about meals, or anything else, during that weekend. EARDH annual conferences are always tastefully arranged and planned for our enjoyment. We just show up to learn and relish. In that vain, it is cool to have some retired hygienists among us as well to enjoy the conference.
Join Us At EARDH 2021
If you are a dental professional and would like to join us in Stuttgart in May 2021, reach out to me for more information about the conference. We would love to have you join us at next year’s EARDH conference.
Simply add it to your itinerary if you are traveling in Germany next spring, or plan a European vacation around the 2021 EARDH conference dates. There are lots of things to see and do in the Stuttgart area before and after the conference.
The EARDH Annual Conference is a great way to connect with cool people, enjoy a weekend away and earn CEUs.
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