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A consensus conference brings together experts in a particular field to discuss a range of pre-agreed subjects. Before the conference, a literature review is carried out to identify relevant scientific papers that relate to each subject. These are circulated to the participants so they can prepare for the conference. The subjects are then debated with the aim of reaching a consensus (agreement) on research evidence and best practice in that field.
Why are they necessary?
Dental practice is underpinned by evidence-based research into the safety and efficacy of different procedures. However, the quality or quantity of evidence available is often not optimal. Sometimes the sample size is too small, or the procedure is too new for long-term evidence of its efficacy to have been gathered. By bringing experts together to examine the evidence-base, a consensus can generally be reached, providing guidance for the wider scientific and dental community on which procedures are appropriate for a particular patient.
What makes the EAO’s consensus conferences unique?
The EAO is unique in accepting no sponsorship whatsoever for its consensus conferences. The cost of organising the conferences is borne solely by the Association, and the only remit is to produce the best evidence-based guidance in an unbiased environment. As such, the papers generated by these conferences have particular value to the scientific community.
How are the participants selected?
For a consensus conference to be effective, the most relevant group of participants must be selected. The forthcoming conference has three scientific chairs who are supported by a scientific committee of nine people. They select the participants and may also take part in the discussions themselves. Although the EAO’s consensus conferences are by invitation only, the conclusions they reach are disseminated through Clinical Oral Implants Research and at the EAO’s annual scientific meetings.
How is the consensus conference organised?
Consensus Conferences consist of a three-day meeting in a inspiring environment bringing together a number of osseointegration experts. The meetings are completely organised by the association without any external sponsoring for a strict science driven conference.
Consensus Conferences are organised in three of four working groups, each group being guided by a Chair and a Secretary. Rapporteurs prepare review papers as a basis for discussions in the groups. The group is expected to critically evaluate the manuscripts and modify them after acceptance by the group. Furthermore, each group produces a consensus report based on the information in the reviews and on the outcomes of the discussion. During plenary sessions, each group's consensus report is discussed and adjusted until there is a general consensus. Review papers are eventually published in the Clinical Oral Implants Research Journal.
Group 1: Drugs and Diseases
Group 2: Biological Parameters
Group 3: Reconstructions
Group 4: Biomechanical aspects
Group 5: Consensus Conference reporters