This year's IDEM Singapore demonstrated why it is Asia's leading dental trade fair and scientific conference with record breaking numbers of conference delegates, exhibitors and trade show visitors.
IDEM Singapore 2014 saw more than 500 exhibitors from 38 countries showcasing the latest innovations in clinical dentistry, dental technology and patient care across every segment of the dental market, covering restorative and preventive treatments, surgical procedures and equipment, orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics and the laboratory sector. The IDEM Singapore trade fair was the largest staged at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre since it was refurbished and the first ever to fill both floors of exhibition space covering 16,000 sqm. The trade fair and conference welcomed 7,842 participants from 61 countries over three and a half days.
IDEM Singapore is increasingly seen as the gateway to Asia for dental manufacturers and distributors wishing to break into Asian markets and this was reflected in the high number of first time exhibitors; 170 or 30% were new to IDEM Singapore this year.
American company Aribex, part of the Kavo Kerr group, were exhibiting for the first time at this year's IDEM Singapore. "We had hoped to make it over for the 2012 show but were unable to make all the arrangements in time so we made sure we got here this year, Mr Marc Burrows explained. "We think the Aribex NOMAD handheld X-ray device could be the perfect product for many Asian dentists and IDEM Singapore is certainly the perfect exhibition at which to meet those dentists."
Where east meets west and east meets east
The increase in the number of exhibitors, growth of attendee numbers by more than 8% and the increased representation from countries in the Asia-Pacific region such as Australia, Cambodia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, also highlighted another trend; IDEM Singapore, long considered the event where East meets West, is now also increasingly seen as the gathering point for different parts of the East to meet each other.
This is certainly the case for Nobel Biocare Asia Ltd, veteran of many IDEM Singapore exhibitions and back again this year. As their South East Asian Sales and Marketing Specialist, Mr Richie Leung put it, "As a major manufacturer of implants supplying much of Asia, we simply have to be present at IDEM Singapore; everyone is here: all our competitors and more importantly, all our clients and potential clients. We have had a good show, got to meet and treat our established customers and of course introduce ourselves to new customers. And the special deals we offered just for IDEM Singapore also did well."
Takara Belmont Corporation's Regional Manager, Mr Jackson Ang, said there had been plenty of interest in the company's dental chair range and X-ray equipment. "We have been coming to IDEM Singapore for many years, it is like a window to all the neighbouring countries in the region and we use it to showcase our products to the many, many dentists that come here from all over South East Asia and beyond."
Illuminating the future of dentistry
IDEM Singapore 2014 proved itself to be not only a "must-attend" event for dental professionals in the Asia-Pacific looking for the latest cutting edge technology and innovations in dental solutions and services at its trade fair but also a "must-attend" scientific conference.
The conference theme this year was "Dentistry - The Future Is Now" with the programme focusing on the future of dentistry, addressing the challenges and the procedural and technical advances in the various fields of dentistry. The extensive scientific conference ran for three and a half days and featured 45 different sessions and 36 international speakers.
Dr John Burgess, the Assistant Dean for Clinical Research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, United States, knows all about the "The Future is Now". He gave two well-attended and fascinating lectures on Vital Pulp Therapy; and Effective Efficient Tooth Coloured Restorations. There is still a long way to go in the field of vital pulp therapy but Dr Burgess believes it might one day revolutionise the way we do dentistry.
"It is fascinating to think that one day in the not too distant future we might be able to repair a tooth with stem cells or even grow a living tooth for implant," he said.
Dr Burgess thinks this is a time of wonderful opportunity for Asian dentists, especially those in South East Asian countries with rapidly expanding middle classes and a new generation of dentists to cater to them. "In the past, restorations were expensive, when we worked with metal-based materials that required lengthy, almost handmade processing. That put restorations beyond the reach of many people but today with ceramics and composite resins and CAD/CAM imaging and milling technologies, they are both more affordable and affordable to more people."
Another IDEM Singapore speaker, Prof. Ken Hargreaves, the Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in the United States, also enjoyed the event. "It's been a very fruitful event; for my talks on Successful Management of Acute Dental Pain, Issues in Managing the Persistent Endodontic Infection and Regenerative Endodontics, I've met participants from all over the world, such as Cambodia, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand and even from as far as the United Kingdom."
Addressing the diverse needs of the modern dental team
The scientific conference also introduced new tracks this year to represent the diversity in today's dental team including dental technicians, dental hygienists and dental therapists.
Attendees of the new Dental Technician Forum were very positive about the new track. Elizabeth Witherington, a dental technician from Australia, said "The Dental Technician Forum has been very informative. I look forward to more programmes for dental technicians in future editions of IDEM Singapore."
The lecture by Australia's Terry Whitty styled "Get Ready for the Next Big Thing: Exploiting Convergence in Innovative CAD/CAM Manufacturing to Take Your Laboratory to the Next Level" was particularly well-received, helping delegates understand how to take advantage of new technologies in their businesses.
Looking to 2016 and beyond
Dr Kuan Chee Keong, President of the Singapore Dental Association (SDA) and Chairperson of the IDEM Singapore 2014 Committee, said "The Singapore Dental Association helps to promote the professionalism of dentistry through our support of continuing education programmes like IDEM Singapore, with a world-class conference, to help the dental team keep up with advances in dentistry. Through our community outreach and friendship with the various dental associations in the region, we hope to continue to spread the importance of continuing education and to increase the participation from the dental teams in Asia coming to IDEM Singapore."
"As dental markets in the region continue to develop and reach out to embrace the globalisation of dentistry and the opportunities it presents, IDEM Singapore will continue to play a strategic role for its exhibitors in facilitating that development and outreach. We will continue to strengthen IDEM Singapore's position as the preferred platform for companies looking to launch new dental solutions in Asia, by continuing to bring in the key buyers from the region. We hope that IDEM Singapore will grow to become not only a gateway to Asian markets but also a portal to the rest of the world," said Mr Michael Dreyer, Asia-Pacific Vice President, Koelnmesse.
The next edition of IDEM Singapore will be staged from April 8-10, 2016.