Program & Abstracts

We have gathered together a diverse collection of symposia that address progress and invite discussion on a broad range of important topics in oral health research. The presenters are amongst the best oral health researchers and communicators in our region. We guarantee you will find these symposia informative, thought provoking and stimulating.

Symposium Listing - 26th September - Monday

  • Symposium 1 - Improving Oral Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

    Chair: Prof. Julie Satur

    The history of colonisation, racism and systemic inequality have led to poor oral health outcomes for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This symposium will explore approaches to improving oral health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people that move away from victim blaming and towards systemic and health promoting methods that hero self-determination and cultural expertise. This symposium will present approaches that include culturally located research, participatory public health interventions, practitioner skill development and policy supports to generate discussion among experts and allies to inform this important population oral health challenge.


    1. Dr Joanne Hedges- Best practice oral health for Research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people- doing culturally located research
    2. Dr John Skinner and Poche OH team- Scaling Up School-based Fluoride Varnish Programmes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children in Australia
    3. Prof Julie Satur, Dr Cathryn Forsyth, Ms Joanne Bolton – A National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dental Cultural Safety Curriculum
    4. Dr Chris Bourke- Policy supports to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Oral Health
  • Symposium 2 - Scientific Advances in Regenerative Approaches to Dentistry and Bioactive Materials

    Chairs: Professor Alastair J Sloan

    Co-Chair: Dr Rachael Moses

    Dentistry has previously focused on restorative approaches, improving oral health and function. Regenerative dentistry combines these restorative procedures with advances in tissue engineering and materials science to restore damaged tissue. A variety of tissue engineering applications have been used in regenerative dentistry, including biomaterials, scaffolds, genes, stem cells and growth factors. These approaches contribute towards translating regenerative dentistry from the laboratory to the clinic.


      1. Microfluidic Biofabrication Strategies to Emulate Host-Material and Host-Microbiome Interactions in Dental and Periodontal Disease Dr. Sriram Gopu. National University of Singapore.
      2. Additive manufacturing for regenerative dentistry – application in vertical bone augmentation and periodontal regeneration. Dr Cedryck Vaquette University of Queensland.
      3. Prof Vesna Miletic University of Sydney.

    Professor Alastair J Sloan University of Melbourne

  • Symposium 3 - Integrating oral health into general health. A call to action

    Chairs: Associate Professor Rachel Martin & Professor Woosung Sohn

    Globally, the traditional surgical approach of managing oral diseases has failed to reduce the disease burden, not least because of its failure to address the multitude of societal issues that impact on oral health and the complex dynamics involved at a population level. A paradigm shift towards a primary health care approach – designed to position oral health as part of general health and vice versa – is required to address the individual, social and economic burdens associated with oral diseases.

    Australia’s Network for the Integration of Oral Health, dedicated to this social change, brings together thought leaders in this symposium. Participants will develop a deeper understanding of integration through examples of evidence-based work in reorienting the workforce and developing people-centred strategies across the life course.


    1. A/Prof Rachel Martin – Setting the scene for integrating oral health into general health
    2. Dr Nicolas Clark.  Injecting drug users and oral health care.
    3. Dr Bradley Christian & Dr Meng Wong Taing. Role of Pharmacists in Oral Health Care.
    4. Adjunct A/Prof Ioan Jones. Pre-service clinical training.
    5. Prof Ajesh George & Prof Hanny Calache. Effective Strategies for Oral Health Integration.
  • Symposium 4 - An update of caries risk assessment and management

    Chair: Rahena Akhter


    The aim of this session is to provide an overview of the caries diagnostic methods, on presenting the links between caries diagnosis and subsequent treatment decisions and their effect on the treatment outcomes. The Caries Management System (CMS) comprises a set of protocols covering risk assessment, diagnosis, risk management, monitoring, and recall that bring together evidence based caries preventive methods in a systematic framework. It specifies how they should be delivered to patients who are at different levels of caries risk. Treatment set out in the protocols is risk-specific; therefore, each patient’s caries risk must be determined at the outset. The Caries management focus is on the management of patient behavior change (oral hygiene coaching, selection of healthy diet components, and encouragement to restrict between-meal exposures to sugar-containing foods and beverages) and the nonsurgical clinical treatment of noncavitated lesions.


    1. Stuart Dashper. Caries risk prediction of early childhood caries
    2. May Lei Mei. The use of bioactive materials in caries management
    3. Mani Ekambaram. Contemporary caries management in children
    4. Robert Anthonappa. Caries Risk Assessment in Children - how accurate are we?
    5. Rahena Akhter. Caries detection and management in adults in public hospitals

Symposium Listing - 27th September - Tuesday

  • Symposium 5 - Metagenomics to medication: antibiotics in dental practice

    Chair: Dr Leanne Teoh

    Co-chair: Dr Alex Park

    Dental antibiotic prescribing accounts for 10% of all prescribed antibiotics worldwide, but up to 80% are inappropriate. This symposium will cover the topic of antimicrobial resistance, spanning from the microscopic to broader public health concerns. Presentations will include genetic surveillance of the reservoir of resistance in the oral cavity, knowledge gap in antibiotic prescribing in Australian student populations, prescribing choices of dental practitioners, and antibiotic prescription rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drugs4dent®, a novel clinical decision tool that assists dentists with both prescribing and drug knowledge, will be presented. This symposium will highlight inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics, factors that influence prescribing, and dentistry's role in tackling antimicrobial resistance.


    1. The Oral Resistome in Childhood

      Dr Smitha Sukumar (University of Sydney, Sydney Dental School and Charles Perkins Centre)

    2. Australian dental students' pharmacotherapeutics knowledge in antibiotic prophylaxis

      Dr Alex Park (University of Western Australia, UWA Dental School)

    3. Dental Antibiotic Prescribing During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

      Dr Mustafa Mian (Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria)

    4. Drugs4dent®: a novel clinical decision tool to optimise dental antibiotic prescribing

    Dr Leanne Teoh (University of Melbourne, Melbourne Dental School)

  • Symposium 6 - Generating policy relevant evidence on social inequalities in oral health  

    Chair: Dr Ankur Singh (University of Melbourne) and Dr Ghazaleh Dashti

    Social inequalities in oral health outcomes in Australia and internationally are well documented. The evidence on social inequalities in oral health outcomes is largely descriptive which can establish the problem but falls short of providing clear policy solutions to policymakers. Theoretical evidence on pathways from social disadvantage to oral health have capacity to inform interventions but studies addressing this question are largely cross-sectional and suffer from bias. In this symposium, we will bring together experts from population oral health and epidemiology who have expertise in causal methods and thinking to discuss opportunities for applying innovative causal methods on longitudinal datasets to improve evidence on interventions to reduce social inequalities in oral health.


    1. Professor Woosung Sohn (University of Sydney)
    2. Professor Linda Slack-Smith (University of Western Australia)
    3. Dr Ankur Singh (University of Melbourne)
    4. Dr Dandara Haag (University of Adelaide)
    5. Dr Shalika Hegde (Dental Health Services Victoria)
  • Symposium 7 - Oral health messages for the Australian Public: Update 2022

    Chair: Dr Mihiri Silva

    Co-Chair: Dr Mikaela Chinotti

    A focused and strategic approach to oral health promotion is required to deliver consistent, evidence-based oral health messages across different states and sectors. In 2009, a consensus statement on oral health messages for the Australian public was produced. Since then, the evidence base underpinning oral health promotion in Australia has grown. The Melbourne Dental School at the University of Melbourne and the Australian Dental Association will lead a collaborative expert working group to update the Oral Health Messages for the Australian Public. The symposium will feature the following four speakers:

    1. “The oral health of the Australian public - where are we now?”

      Professor Loc Do (The University of Queensland)

    2. “Sugar and diet: Messages for the public”

      Professor Paula Moynihan (The University of Adelaide)

    3. “Oral hygiene: Messages for the public

      Professor Janet Wallace (The University of Sydney) (To be confirmed)

    4. “Update of the Oral Health Messages for the Australian Public: Outline and findings from literature review”

    Dr Rachelle Welti (The University of Melbourne)

Symposium Listing - 28th September - Wednesday

  • Symposium 8 - Education Research: From Theory to Practice

    Chair: Dr Samantha Byrne

    Scholarly teaching grounds our practice in theory that is applied clinically in practice and is enhanced by critical reflection. This symposium will explore critically reflective approaches to the design and evaluation of learning resources, activities, and assessment.  Presenters will discuss how their varied approaches to scholarly teaching support students to develop knowledge and skills whilst also developing as learners and reflective practitioners.

    This symposium will be followed by a workshop on designing an education research project from 12.30 – 1.30. Participant are invited to bring along a research problem they wish to explore and workshop their project over lunch. Please contact Samantha Byrne for more information and to access the pre-workshop materials.

    The symposium will feature the following four speakers:

    1. Dr Samantha Byrne, University of Melbourne

      Pre-class learning in a flipped classroom and self-regulated learning strategies 

    2. Prof Michael Botelho, Hong Kong University

      “Manages how” - a new construct in skills learning for teaching, learning and assessment

    3. Dr Delyse Leadbeatter, The University of Sydney

      Designing assessment so students can critically engage with complex knowledge 

    4. Associate Professor Dimitra Lekkas, The University of Adelaide

    Using the PDSA cycle to evaluate redesigning summative assessment processes

  • Symposium 9 - Prevention of oral diseases must commence in early childhood

    Chair: Prof Loc Do

    Recent research has suggested that the roots of chronic conditions such as dental caries can be traced back to early life. Children’s dietary patterns and oral health behaviours are formed during this period, being strongly influenced by their family circumstances and environment. The newly erupted primary teeth are exposed to and affected by multitude of risk and protective factors operating at different levels across those early years. Understanding the nature, timing and magnitude of those effects can inform timely preventive measures. However, effects of early life determinants of child dental caries experience have not been fully investigated. This Symposium brings together evidence of four most comprehensive birth cohort studies in Australia to shed light on this important period.


    1. Dr Mihiri Silva, Melbourne Dental School.

      Determinants of Early Childhood Caries - the Infant2Child birth cohort study.

    2. A/Prof Santosh Tadakamadla, La Trobe Department of Dentistry. 
      Factors affecting morning and evening toothbrushing routines in a sample of Australian pre-school children
    3. Dr Diep Ha, The University of Queensland School of Dentistry. 
      Effect of trajectories of free sugars intake on Early Childhood Caries - the SMILE birth cohort study.
    4. A/Prof Amit Arora, Western Sydney University. 
      Determinants for early introduction of complementary foods in infants - the HSHK birth cohort study.