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A/Prof Sharon Liberali

NZDA23 Sharon Liberali

A/Professor Liberali completed her undergraduate dental degree at the University of Adelaide in 1986 and was awarded a Doctor of Clinical Dentistry in Special Needs Dentistry at the University of Adelaide in 2009. In 2010 she became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons in the special field of Special Needs Dentistry. In 2011 she was awarded a Fellow of the International College of Dentists and in 2013 a Fellow of the Pierre Fauchard Academy. In 2019 she completed a Master of Science in Medicine (Pain Management) in Orofacial Pain at the University of Sydney, and in 2022 was made a Fellow of the Academy of Dentistry International.

A/Professor Liberali is the Director and Senior Consultant of the Special Needs Unit, Adelaide Dental Hospital, SA Dental Service, and holds an honorary Associate Dental Consultant position at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. She is the Program Director of the undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Geriatric & Special Needs Dentistry at the Adelaide Dental School University of Adelaide, and is the Principal Dentist at Health Partners Dental, Adelaide’s largest private dental practice.

A/Prof Liberali was awarded a Distinguished Service Award for her services to the dental profession from the Federal Australian Dental Association in 2019, and the SA Branch of the Australian Dental Association in 2020.

Dentist scientific programme

Digital Clinical Governance

Digital dentistry is a broad term encompassing the use of computer-based technology to support the delivery of dental treatment. When we think about the use of digital technologies in Dentistry we think about digital radiography and clinical photographs, intraoral scanning, CAD-CAM, and our electronic patient management system.

But the opportunities that digital dentistry brings is not just limited to the clinical space. Digital technology can be used to support your practice compliance requirements which ultimately assist with the provision of quality care in your dental practice.

As Principal Dentist of South Australia’s largest general dental practice (4 practices, 42 dental surgeries, 150 staff), owned by a not-for-profit private health insurance agency, I will outline how we have been incorporating and expanding digital technology into our dental practice compliance.

Dentist scientific programme

Special Needs Dentistry for General Dental Practice

Special Needs or Special Care Dentistry, a relatively new discipline in Dentistry, is concerned with the oral health of people adversely affected by intellectual, medical, physical and/or psychiatric issues. As a dental specialty, it has only been a recognized in Australia and New Zealand for just over 20 years.

A Specialist in Special Needs Dentistry requires a good understanding of a variety of medical conditions, the medications or procedures used to treat these medical conditions, and their impact on oral health and the provision of Dentistry. However, with only 26 registered specialists in Special Needs Dentistry in Australia, and 12 in New Zealand, general dental practitioners play an important role in the provision of oral healthcare for people with special needs.

Dentist scientific programme & Oral Health Therapists, Dental Therapists and Hygienists day

Gerodontology in clinical dental practice

The ageing population is a world-wide phenomenon with increases in both absolute as well as the relative numbers. Life expectancy has risen sharply primarily due to the sharp decline in premature mortality from many infections and chronic diseases, resulting in an overall increase in the average age of the population, with the fastest growing population cohort > 65 years.

In both Australia and New Zealand, people aged over 65 years made up only 8% of the population in the 1970’s, and this had doubled to 16% by 2020. It is projected that by 2034 people aged over 65 will account for more than 20% of the population in New Zealand, and the number of people aged older than 85 years will have doubled to 178,000 compared to 2018 data.

As more people survive into old and very old age, there is a growing emphasis on ensuring the provision of regular oral assessment and appropriate oral healthcare, to maintain and prevent the deterioration of oral health, and enhance oral comfort.

This presentation will outline some of the current and future challenges involved in the delivery of oral health care to geriatric patients, and discuss evidence-based measures to address these challenges.

Oral Health Therapists, Dental Therapists and Hygienists day

Trauma Informed Care

A Trauma-informed approach changes the narrative from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” and enables health professionals to provide holistic health care with a healing orientation by understanding how a patient’s life events— past and present – impact on their behaviour. Adopting trauma-informed practices has the potential to improve patient engagement and treatment adherence, resulting in improved oral health.

Trauma-informed care seeks to:

  • Realize the widespread impact of trauma and understand the path for recovery;
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in patients, families, and staff;
  • Integrate knowledge about trauma into work practices; and
  • Actively avoid re-traumatization.

Dentist scientific programme

The perils of periodontal disease in a patient with haematological malignancy

Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent oral health problems that affects a large percentage of the population, and appears to progress more rapidly with increasing age. Despite its prevalence, periodontal disease is often underestimated, which can lead to serious consequences for oral and overall health.

This case presentation will demonstrate the impact of untreated periodontal disease on a patient with haematological malignancy.