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30 Sep 2019 | Australasian Dental Practice

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Prof. Istvan Urban to speak at Osteology Sydney 2020

By Joseph Allbeury

Registrations are now open for Osteology Sydney, June 19-21, 2020. The National Symposium is being jointly chaired by international chair Prof. Istvan Urban from Hungary and National chair, Prof. Lisa Heitz-Mayfield. We caught up with Prof. Urban at the recent International Osteology Symposium in Barcelona.


Prof. Urban, after seeing your presentations at Osteology in Barcelona this year, I was amazed at both your clinical work and your passion as an educator. I can see why so many clinicians are excited that you're coming to Australia for Osteology next year in Sydney. I'd like to start our short interview by asking how does a general dentist who is just starting to utilise grafting relate to the advanced levels of treatment you are demonstrating?

Well number one, I always start by explaining everything I do in a way that it can be understood by delegates. So number one, it can be understood. And number two, it can be learnt. In my experience, we can teach almost all dentists to learn what I do.

What do you believe is the best way to learn these techniques?

The Osteology Foundation offers programs for clinicians at all levels. When we start, we look at the principles of surgery. For example, "How to make a perfect flap that will survive". Then we also teach "How to make the perfect flap so that it can cover the bone graft". And "How to reconstruct after treatment so that the soft tissues look natural and function aesthetically". So the Osteology Foundation is a great place to start.

What are the mistakes you see people making?

My experience is that some people struggle because they try to complete procedures before they completely understand them. They make biological mistakes because of biological misunderstandings. Fundamentally, to be an excellent clinician, you have to understand biology. You have to understand the principles and you have to completely understand anatomy and the principles of surgery based on the anatomy.

As I said before, you can understand it. You can learn it. But there is a learning sequence and you don't want to treat before you learn all that you need to learn first. Because if you do, it can be a disaster. But if you go through the learning process the correct way, then you will be successful.

For the techniques that you're famous for, like the "sausage technique", how long does it take you to perfect this?

The "sausage technique" is a technique that is one of the fastest to learn. But, of course, even for the sausage technique, you have to learn the principles of flap management, soft tissue management and protection of the nerve (particularly the mental foramen) first. You have to learn lingual flap advancement and how to advance the buckle flap very safely. After that, the sausage technique itself is easy to learn because it's a very simple, very user friendly and I would say a very private practice-friendly technique.

So if you ask how long does it take? I mean I think you can learn it in a couple of months.

And how can clinicians learn the sausage technique?

There are lectures and courses, but as you saw yesterday here in Barcelona, we ran a three-and-a-half-hour hands-on course, where I explained as much as you can in that time. In that workshop, I explained how to make the flap, how to advance the flap and then everybody understood how to make a sausage. I'm not sure that one hundred percent of the time you will be able to do it based on a three and a half hour workshop, but I think you'll leave with a very good understanding.

So you'll be presenting this hands-on course at Osteology Sydney next year?

That's right. I'll also talk about bone grafting and how to reconstruct the soft tissues after the bone graft. What happens if you do a large graft but you're left with no vestibule, no keratinised tissue and no papilla? Do you accept that or can you do something about it? So we will discuss how to reconstruct the papilla in between glands, how to reconstruct the vestibule and how to reconstruct keratinised tissue and aesthetic tissue, all a very minimally invasive way.

Given the theme of this Osteology meeting, what do you see as the next regeneration?

Regeneration is a rapidly evolving area of dentistry. I think the principles will stay - how to raise and manage a flap and how to protect the anatomical landmarks, for instance. But I'm sure there will be new soft-tissue and hard tissue substitutes and new membranes and maybe more of the growth factors. There's also a lot of interest in how 3D printing can be utilised. A lot of things will change but I think the basic principles will remain the same. You need a biological approach and you need uneventful healing.

Thank you for your time Prof. Urban and we look forward to welcoming you in Sydney in 2020.

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