An upfront disclosure: I regard biennial International
College of Prosthodontists (ICP) meetings as offering
exciting and innovative scope for advancing
global scholarship in prosthodontics. They are not
burdened with national political agendas; personal
ones are virtually nonexistent; and each meeting’s organizing
committee provides the desirable milieu of
memorable venue and social events. The result is a
renewed commitment to camaraderie of intellectual
rigor as reflected in the choice and synthesis of presenters
and topics on what is relevant in the discipline.
Franco Bassi’s local organization of the recent
Turin meeting was a particularly memorable one; and
Co-Presidents Martin Gross and Yoshi Maeda provided
an eclectic selection of learning material for the
record number of attendees. Their selection of a very
high standard of the traditional cafeteria selection of
clinical topics was bookended by introductory and
concluding half-day sessions that provided particular
resonance for making informed clinical decisions.
They ranged from examples of methodological rules
that conform to standards of scientific reporting to
scrupulous and provocative ones that cast doubt on
the presumed clinical relevance of so many prevailing
assumptions and beliefs that define evidence-based
This journal has frequently suggested that alternative
frameworks for planning and reporting clinical
research need to be studied on an ongoing basis
if we are to avoid the “methodological fetishism and
quantitative biases” that risk creating conceptual culde-
sacs.1 It may now be argued that several clinical
meetings continue to risk dumbing down the primacy
of scrupulously observed and documented clinical
experiences. Hence, the recurrent questions: Is evidence-
based support for making the best informed
clinical decisions so good that we actually risk experiencing
an erosion of dentistry’s core values of
prudence, compassion, and serious consideration of
patient-mediated concerns? Is it clinically tenable to
leave the definition of practices associated with new
technologies and associated interpretations of new
disease processes (eg, so-called peri-implantitis) in
the hands of naïve rationalists?
Given this context, it is worth recalling that the
single biggest catalyst for global change in dental
treatment in the past three decades was Branemark’s
original report on the osseointegration technique2—
certainly not your classical randomized controlled trail
report. Nonetheless, his work catalyzed extraordinary
and novel options for managing partial and complete
edentulism, let alone patients with orofacial deficits.
The results of such ICP sessions encourage an intellectual
free-fire zone with nothing off limits for discussion;
and above all without any risk of breakdown
in international comity. Clinical scientific meetings of
this kind augur well for desirable, indeed necessary,
ongoing searches for new and alternative paradigms.
Even better informed clinical decisions are bound to
result from this sort of collective debate.
1. Greenhalgh T. Why do we always end up here? Evidence-based
medicine’s conceptual cul-de-sacs and some off-road alternative
routes [guest editorial]. Int J Prosthodont 2013;26:11–15.
2. Brånemark PI. Osseointegration and its experimental background.
J Prosthet Dent 1983;50:399–410.