Bringing the knowledge of prevention to patients is the first professional obligation to keep in mind.
Meet Professor Eduardo Sampaio, a periodontology and implantology specialist based in São Paulo, Brazil. A lifelong learning enthusiast, he’s founded both a website for dentistry specialists and students which publishes clinical studies and other professional content, and a talk show focused on the history of dentistry. Also a university lectuter, Prof. Sampaio believes that curricula should focus more on prevention techniques, which are often overlooked.
What was your path to dentistry? Why did you decide to study this field?
Dentistry has always been a part of my life. Both my grandfather and my father were dentists, and when I was twelve years old I started helping the prosthetic technician that worked with my father. When it was time to apply to the university, I had already decided to study dentistry.
Why have you chosen periodontology and implantology as your specialisation?
After graduation, I started to work and realised that I did not feel secure about my knowledge in periodontics. However, the clinical demand for this specific area was huge. I did a short periodontics course and fell in love with periodontal surgeries. Even before the course was over, I decided to start my master’s degree and after finishing it, the natural path was to study implantodontics.
You are a university professor, so you are in touch with future dentists every day. What’s your favourite part of university work?
I’m a lecturer and specialisation-course professor, our courses take place once a month. My favourite part is seeing our students grow and improve during the course. I love seeing how they change their philosophy, integrating and caring for the patient’s entire health, not only oral health.
“The main message that I always try to deliver is that dentistry is a profession that requires ethics, responsibility and a lot of attention to the patient, always seeing them as a whole.”
When you compare your students with the previous generations of dentists, do you see any major changes? Any mind shifts?
Yes, for sure. Younger generations want everything to be done by yesterday. Besides that, they are extremely technology-friendly, which is good. However, they take time to understand the importance of processes and biological foundations, which still need to be respected, no matter how much technology we have.
What’s the main message or value that you keep trying to deliver to your students?
The main message that I always try to deliver is that dentistry is a profession that requires ethics, responsibility and a lot of attention to the patient – always seeing the patient as a whole. We must highlight the importance of professionals as health promoters to bring the message of oral prevention to everyone. This will help us prevent oral problems from being as prevalent as they are today.
Where do you see the future of dentistry? What changes do you expect in the next 10 years? What changes would you like to see?
I believe that dentistry is transforming, both by the evolution of technical and scientific knowledge, and by the quality information on prevention of oral diseases that the population has access to today.
The technical and scientific evolution gives us more resources to treat the most diverse oral problems. However, the recent change in the population’s concern with oral prevention means that we will need to review the educational curricula of dental schools, which today are predominantly focused on treatments, leaving preventive techniques forgotten. I hope to see prevention take its right place in relation to oral problems, and with that, fewer people suffering from diseases caused by a lack of oral care.
“The recent change in the population’s concern with oral prevention means that we will need to review the educational curricula of dental schools, which today are predominantly focused on treatments, leaving preventive techniques forgotten.”
Welcome to the Billion Healthy Mouths Club
Proper routines in prevention are the future of dentistry – that’s why we at Curaden launched the Billion Healthy Mouths Club – a community of dental professionals committed to the importance of prevention and a holistic approach to dentistry. is one of those dental professionals who shares these values, and we proudly present his experience and thoughts with other like-minded people from the field. Keep reading our Gently magazine to discover more interviews with forward-thinking professionals from around the world.
What is the general status of oral health and dentistry in your country?
Brazil has a large number of dentistry professionals, but unfortunately, most of them are not very concerned with the oral health of patients. Many treatments are performed that aren’t necessary, other than from an aesthetic appeal, and even worse, they’re done without oral hygiene guidelines so that future problems are avoided.
The result is a very commercial form of dentistry, only focusing on the business side of dentistry, aimed only at the sale of treatments. There is a lack of supervision, both of educational institutions and of professionals – who have little continued education or updating of their knowledge, or when they do, the level of scientific-based information is very low. A large number of patients are missing a basic health education, including oral health.
What major improvements are needed?
Brazil needs to evolve a lot as a whole, including issues related to oral health. We need to educate the population in preventive techniques, increase the supervision of educational institutions and of practitioners. A mandatory professional education program should be created. Among several other issues…
“I hope to see prevention take its rightful place in relation to oral problems, and with that, fewer people suffering from diseases caused by a lack of oral care.”
You are a founder of the website periodonto.net. Could you tell us more about it? What was your motivation to found the website? Who is it for? What does it offer?
The periodonto.net portal was created by me and my partner, Professor Marcelo da Rocha, in 2007.
Our idea was to share content and knowledge for students and professionals. We made clinical cases and documented everything, in photographs and videos. We started to make this content available for free, at a time when the internet and content distribution was still starting in Brazil.
The website is primarily for continuing education of dental professionals. What’s your experience – are professionals from the field keen on continuing their education? And why is it important for you personally?
The internet allows everyone to have the opportunity to be heard. But, as teachers and educators, we always have to be concerned about what we say, who we say it to, and how it can be interpreted. The responsibility is huge, and for that reason, it requires ethics and responsibility. Continuing education is the present and future reality. But we always have to keep in mind the fundamentals, be it biological, scientific or ethical.
At the same time, you’re also running iDent Talks. This talk show looks very professional. What’s your role in the whole project?
iDent Talks is another project related to my interest in the history of dentistry.
I’m the creator of the idea and host of the talk show, where I talk to famous professors on a national and international level, but focusing on history – from why they have chosen dentistry, to the present day. The idea is to give them the opportunity to show that everything they have achieved was through their own work, with a lot of dedication, effort and study. A reverence of respect to those who built dentistry long before us. All this in an informal way. It is still serious and responsible, but with touches of humour and informality.
“As teachers and educators, we always have to be concerned about what we say, who we say it to, and how it can be interpreted.”
Now, in 2021, we are preparing for the fourth season and we plan to make it permanent throughout the year. In the first three seasons, we recorded the entire season (between 12 and 16 interviews) in two days, in a theatre in Rio de Janeiro, with the entire production. After recording and editing each interview, they are broadcasted once a week for a period of 2-3 months. Afterwards, all interviews are available to subscribers of the iDent.com.br channel, a distance-learning platform in dentistry.
The first season surpassed more than 160,000 views, mainly with students and dentistry professionals as the target audience.
What are your future plans (in both your professional and side activities)? Are there any challenges in the near future that you would like to accomplish?
Currently, the plan is to expand the iDent program to run weekly for 10 months a year. There is also a project for a second book (first book Periobook – Classificação Das Doenças Periodontais was published in 2019, ed.). But first, the plan is to resume activities at the pre-pandemic level.
How do you relax after a long day at work? What are your ways of keeping a healthy work-life balance?
I relax by listening to music and reading books. I love being with my wife and kids, watching and enjoying their growth. I believe we always need to be open to learning and evolution. I have a goal of learning one new thing per year. It could be something simple, like learning to row, or something totally out of the ordinary. I try to keep curious and learn things I don’t know yet.
Professor Eduardo Sampaio has a master’s degree in periodontology and specialises in implantodontics. He has been a university teacher of both fields for several years. In 2007, he founded the website periodonto.net with the aim of sharing dentistry content with professionals and students. Prof. Sampaio is the creator and host of the talk show iDent Talks,where he discusses dentistry with renowned specialists. The show is currently preparing for its 4th season. Follow Prof. Sampaio on Instagram to learn more about his activities.