«Together18» – Community conference SGI SSP 2018 in Bern, Switzerland

“Understanding”, “Decision Making” and “Taking Action”: In the spirit of partnership, for the first time in the history of both professional associations, the SSP (Swiss Society of Periodontology) and the SGI (Swiss Society of Implantology) have held a joint annual conference. Under the apt conference title “Together18”, the event was held on August 31 and September 1, 2018 in the Kursaal in Bern.

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There were two points that really made this community conference something to remember: firstly, the unusually wide range of solutions presented for identical clinical problems, and secondly the absolutely first class list of speakers – not only Niklaus Lang and Daniel Buser, but also Ronald Jung, Andrea Mombelli, Anton Sculean, Irena Sailer, Franck Renouard and Nicola Zitzmann, to name but a few.

The presidents of the two societies that organized the conference, Dr. Patrick Gugerli (SSP) and Dr. Rino Burkhardt (SGI) both made a conscious decision not to attempt to smooth out the differences in opinion that naturally arise from the different perspectives of periodontologist and implantologist, but to give the conference participants as much insight as possible by allowing direct confrontation between the two approaches.

The individual topic blocks “Understanding”, “Decision Making” and “Taking Action” were similarly structured: Presentation of a specific patient case, then contentious suggestions from renowned clinical experts, followed up with expert opinions and participant surveys with live-voting.

For instance, the preparation of one and the same clinical case from very different perspectives kicked off the conference, as Prof. Dr. Daniel Buser and Prof. Dr. Niklaus Lang presented their specific treatment concepts. Prof. Buser proposed a plan based entirely on the integration of modern imaging procedures and guided surgical techniques for the planned implants. To help restore an adequate mastication in exactly the same patient, Prof. Lang, on the other hand, advocated a higher proportion of periodontal measures with fewer implants for the treatment. The point at issue between the two renowned experts was mainly the criteria by which a tooth should be classified as worth preserving, and consequently the question as to how the medium- and long-term chances of success for implants or periodontally treated natural teeth should be clinically considered in real terms. However, one point where there was agreement between Prof. Buser and Prof. Lang was the key impact patient compliance has on the success of treatment and the resulting need to involve patients in all relevant decisions from the very start.

A wide range of important issues such as tissue regeneration, the latest indication criteria for implants, prosthetic treatment options, long-term periodontal therapy, peri-implantitis and antibiotic use or resistance were also covered in similar detail in the event. A series of lectures on Friday afternoon running in parallel to the dentistry presentations also took into account the specific interests of dental hygienists. 


The topic of peri-implantitis was naturally of great interest to both dentists and dental hygienists. While until only a few years ago, lectures on this subject tended to depict the problem rather than come up with specific solutions, at the Together-18 Conference, Prof. Giovanni Salvi put forward a whole series of practice-oriented treatment options. Since a EuroPerio consensus conference recently clearly defined the disease and its diagnosis, clear treatment objectives and the methods with which to achieve these can now been established. The spectrum encompasses both mechanical and drug approaches to treatment, while the best clinical experience is with a combination of the two. The current success rates of evidence-based peri-implantitis therapy are good, but of course prevention is always going to be the way forward.

The lasting legacy of the conference will be the large number of participants and the exciting and controversial insights into the different, but always well-founded treatment concepts. The event was rounded off with the very successful Get-Together18 gala party on the Friday evening, where the platinum sponsor Straumann invited DJ FunkySoulsa, who set the tone for a relaxed and laid-back feel-good Friday mood with his mesmerizing beats.