All the world’s a ‘digital stage’
IDA Conference preview
Q&A with Dr Maurice Salama, founder of the global education community Dental XP and a speaker the Irish Dental Association’s annual conference in May
Doctor Maurice Salama was born in Egypt but moved to America with his family. Growing up, he was fascinated by the sciences, biology in particular, and with an older brother who had become a dentist, his interest in the field was piqued. “I’m a social person by nature,” he added, “and I was intrigued by the notion that, as dentists, we develop relationships with our patients over many years.”
Maurice studied at the University of Pennsylvania for seven years “learning from the pioneers of our field”, first as a dental student and then as a post-graduate student in periodontal surgery, implant surgery, and orthodontics. He would later go on to lecture and contribute to clinical research at the university.
What has been your professional journey?
Once I left the university, I joined one of the most prestigious group practices in the world – with Ronald Goldstein and David Garber. They had written many books and published many articles in the Journal of Esthetic Dentistry and were looking to add to their team. I joined them in 1992 and since then we have added many other colleagues to the group, now formally known as Team Atlanta.
Tell us about your passions in daily practice and in educating fellow professionals
Our team in Atlanta is made up of a group of highly trained specialist dentists and lab technicians in multiple fields – oral surgery, implantology, periodontics, prosthodontics, orthodontics. ceramists and cosmetic dentistry. With this experienced team, we insist on all of them being educators and adding to the written literature with their own publications. Through us originally, and now the younger members of our team, we insist on educating our fellow dentists around the world through the online arena of www.dentalxp.com, as well as live and hands-on courses.
What would you say are the key oral challenges facing both the general population and the patient cohorts you most engage with? How can these be met?
The key challenge today is the education of dental professionals around the world. Due to open sources of information, many dentists are being trained through social media, which is a bad concept. Little or limited classical training in the field is sought by people due to the ease of self-instruction. We have attempted to rectify the situation to a degree with more formal online fellowship programmes on dentalxp.com, then followed by live hands-on and patient-centred programmes around the world.
Speak about your role in, and vision for, DentalXP and its value to dentists around the world…
In 2006, DentalXP was just an idea I had created for a global dental education community. At that time, I was treating twin brothers who were computer science graduates of Georgia Tech. I asked them to help me out with the concept and website and, in return, I promised to do their orthodontic treatment for free. That’s how it all started. I guess you can say I was the founder of DentalXP. Fourteen years on, we are still growing. We now also have DentalXP Online Fellowship Programmes, with certificates from NYU, in implantology, digital dentistry, as well as one for orthodontic aligner therapy. Soon, we will add others in cosmetic restorative dentistry and occlusion.
What we have been able to do is find quality, motivated, talented educators from around the world and provide them a ‘digital stage’, so that the whole world has access to their knowledge and content. A ‘dental TV’ show, if you wish. Now we have more than 225,000 members around the world, and many from Ireland as well. It’s become the number one online dental education site in the world, and we are very proud of its reach and role in helping train dentists globally. I believe we have accomplished our goal of ‘connecting’ the dental world and those who aspire to be better dentists. That was and still is my vision. I personally invite all dentists in Ireland, Scotland, and the UK to join the global DentalXP platform and community, to learn and share together. We welcome them with open arms!
What will you be presenting on at the IDA conference in May?
The hottest trends in dentistry today are, one, managing the aesthetic replacement of teeth with dental implants and, two, full arch immediate tooth replacement –0 more commonly known as All-on-X – providing a patient with a failing dentition or no dentition with an immediate therapeutic result. The content will be focused on guidelines, rules and workflow. The why, the how, and the when of these topics will be highlighted in my presentations. Specific take-home messages that can be implemented immediately will be discussed in great detail.
Are you looking forward to the visit?
The last time I came to the IDA, I stayed in Ireland for 10 days with my wife touring the countryside. It was the most enjoyable trip of my lifetime. The people are so very friendly and the countryside so picturesque. I have never seen green like I did then! I look forward to once again staying a few extra days to enjoy the beauty of Ireland.