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The Southern African Association of Osseointegration (SAAO) has been formed after the amalgamation of all South African implant related societies. This was finalised in Cape Town on 1 December 2013 at the first exco meeting of the SAAO. This momentous occasion of the unity of relevant role players in implantology in South Africa paves the way for a single society to serve the needs of the general and specialist dental professionals who serve the population of South Africa.

Our aim is to serve as an umbrella society such that the SAAO, as well as all groups and subgroups within the dental implant fraternity, can have the opportunity to share a mutual platform through which to express developing views, knowledge and consensus on practice to a large group of South African dentists. This will allow the optimum distribution of knowledge throughout our profession and ultimately better the care of our patients. We are further striving to form worldwide affiliations to independent implant bodies and organisations to improve academic cross pollination.

The SAAO is structured to represent all role players in the dental implant fraternity, from the dedicated implant specialist to the general dental practitioner as well as the laboratory and trade. The main focus is however to provide thegeneral dentist that treats fewer patients with dental implants with an unbiased opinion of current and consensually agreed information.

The national body consists out of three branches, Western Cape, Gauteng and Kwazulu Natal. Each of these groups is autonomous as far as local educations events are concerned and caters to the specific needs of the region. Each branch has its own exco and would host three meetings per year.The national exco consists out of two representatives of each branch and will be tasked with national concerns. Every alternative year there will be a national meeting combining one of those years’ local meetings into one major event. This would be an event with international and national speakers sharing a mutual platform.

With the vision of unity the SAAO would further like to strengthen it bonds with our mother association, SADA as a special interest group as well as in an advisory capacity relating to dental implantology in South Africa. We hope that in the near future we would be able to register this group.

South Africa is sometimes isolated from well-structured academic conferences because of its distance from the USA and Europe. While high-end implantologists regularly and extensively travel to attend international meetings, the generalists that treat fewer patients with implants are unfortunately not exposed to such opportunities for interaction. In South Africa, we often have speakers who are sponsored by companies visit our fine shores. This interaction is invaluable to us and we appreciate it very much. However, it also invariably leads to bias in the information on dental implantology that we receive. Although the Internet has made this less of an issue, a good podium speaker at a congress is hard to replace with digital or internet-related means.

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