Esthetic dentistry in the country and the Philippine Academy of Esthetic Dentistry (PAED) are synonymous with growth and progress that it would be impossible to mention one without the other.
Established on July 6, 1996 with the swearing in of the inaugural set of officers, led by Dr. Alfredo Valera, 1st PAED President, the Academy is committed to promoting oral care and enhancing healthy Filipino smiles. The idea for PAED, according to Dr. Valera, was conceived two years earlier when he and Dr. Cheung Lai Chun, third PAED President He said: “We held meetings with like-minded dental professionals to draw up and agree on our Constitution and bylaws, which we finalized by 1995.”
The pool of 84 founding members consisted of graduates of the University of the Philippines, University of the East, Centro Escolar University, De Ocampo University, and even the University of Pangasinan was represented.
In the following years, PAED quickly built a reputation as the go-to authority and font of knowledge and innovation for local esthetic dental professionals. Its core program offering, PAED Esthetic 101 (PAED 101), laid the foundation of learning and eventual advance courses that has attracted and continues to attract eager enrollment. Dr. Alan Roa, 2nd PAED President, launched PAED 101, culled from a series of his lectures, and invited speakers like veneer specialist Dr. Paul Achacoso and periodontics specialist Dr. Rani Reyes to share their skills gained from overseas experience. The first PAED workshop was held at the Pediatric Dentistry Center in Banawe, Quezon City, a combination of theory and hand-on sessions.
PAED gained momentum during the terms of succeeding leaders. Dr. Cheung Lai Chun, 3rd PAED President, emphasized the value of training lecturers from within the ranks, believing that as an Academy, PAED’s members needed to be regarded as trusted lecturers as well. She also encouraged more National Capital Region (NCR) and out-of-Manila PAED workshops “to share the knowledge with our dental colleagues,” she said. Under the watch of Dr. Olegario G. Clemente, Jr., 4th PAED President, dedicated efforts to have PAED become an affiliate of the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) finally became a reality. Up to this day, PAED remains the only group recognized by the PDA as the dominant local authority in dental esthetics.
The first PAED Lakbay-Aral (“learning journey” in Filipino), aimed at exposing members to advancements in other countries, also took place during Dr. Clemente’s term with a visit to Hong Kong, the first of many future destinations, which have included Europe, South Africa, Australia, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Japan and Scandinavia. PAED Lakbay-Aral is organized once during every PAED President’s term.
Exemplary service and commitment marked PAED’s performance in ensuing years, fulfilling its commitment to educate members in the latest dental esthetic advancements. The industry took note, awarding the Academy “Most Attractive Affiliate” during the first National Dental Health Month in 2005 during the term of Dr. Victor H. Torres, 5th PAED President. More accolades followed, resulting in a rich harvest for Dr. Maria Lourdes J. de Leon, 6th PAED President, who earned PDA’s first ever Most Outstanding Affiliate President Award back to back in 2007 and 2008, as well as PDA’s Achievement Award for Professional Development also in 2007 and 2008 and PDA’s Most Outstanding Affiliate Society in 2007.
Dr. De Leon’s achievements were certainly a testimony to PAED’s indefatigable officers and membership, which she led. The priority was to make PAED 101 more accessible in terms of attendance and reach “to help more dentists enhance their practice,” according to Dr. De Leon. She directed the compression of PAED 101 into the Abridged PAED 101 and increased the number of provincial workshops, fannng out to Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Baguio. At last count, over 30 batches have graduated from this popular express course.
With the arrival of the millennium, concern for the environment was on top of the list, and PAED stepped up to the challenge under Dr. Lilian L. Ebuen, 7th PAED President, who promoted a range of earth-friendly activities such as the “Adopt-a-Pawikan,” waste management, tree planting and underwater clean up dive project. Not forgetting PAED’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) mandate, the Gawad Kalinga Dental Outreach served as the main platform for volunteer efforts.
Raising the bar on learning, PAED members were encouraged to join the first batch to participate in the PAED-UCLA Esthetic Continuum Course Level 1 in Los Angeles, US, spearheaded by Dr. Sonny H. Burias. Thirty-seven dental professionals attended that landmark course, the biggest enrollment ever from the Philippines. The Professional Development Fund for PAED Officers and Lecturers also made its debut during Dr. Ebuen’s term with the aim to upgrade PAED 101 lectures and assist members.
Dr. Sonny H. Burias, 8th PAED President, followed up his brainchild, the UCLA Esthetic Continuum Course with a Level 2 program that saw 28 PAED members enroll. Though costly, these courses, he stressed, were necessary if Filipino esthetic dentists “did not wish to be left behind by trends abroad.” These courses remain an integral post-graduate or enhancing exercise for those serious about improving their esthetic dentistry skills. Likewise, these have inspired PAED members to seek further learning in their field in other famous dental institutions around the world.
Inclusivity was a goal PAED attained with Dr. Marylou Fernandez, 9th PAED President. Instead of the NCR, Davao and Cebu were chosen as the locations of two important PAED events in 2012 – the first PAED Mindanao Aesthetic Congress in Davao City, chaired by Dr. Virgilio Vasquez, and PAED-Visayas Aesthetic Congress in Cebu City, chaired by Dr. Anne Mary Gutierrez. According to Dr. Fernandez, this trained the spotlight on PAED’s regional membership, which gained greater awareness of the Academy’s dynamic education programs, study travel scheme and outreach activities. They also got to network with their dental colleagues as well.
International recognition crowned PAED during the term of Dr. Mylene G. Igrubay, 10th PAED President, when the prestigious Asian Academy of Aesthetic Dentistry recognized the group as an Institutional Member. This could only be testimony of how far it had come since its 1996 founding.
Training and further skills enhancement was stepped up with PAED 101 Abridged sessions conducted, not only in the NCR, but on several occasions in Cebu, Davao, Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro, while two batches graduated from the PAED-UCLA Aesthetic Continuum Levels 1 and 2 in 2014. Dental missions Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Barangay and OPLAN Yolanda successfully brought the message of good oral hygiene to indigent communities.
Recent years have seen PAED maintaining its valued position as educator and innovator in the Philippine esthetic dental scene. Dr. Virgilio M. Vasquez, 11th PAED President, intensified CSR initiatives, consisting of dental missions throughout Luzon in areas as disparate as Batanes, Quezon, Rizal, Benguet and Tarlac; mangrove planting and shoreline clean up; and funding donations for a day care center to benefit the Mangyans of Nakar, Quezon. More Abridged PAED 101 sessions were conducted with even more emphasis on the provinces.
It also was time to improve the Academy’s popular PAED 101 program, and two PAED Summits were staged for that reason as well as to introduce amendments to the PAED Constitution and bylaws.
Dr. Avelyn Jahns, 12th PAED President, proved to be a stabilizer, who wanted the Academy to stay strong, united and professional. Dental missions, which she streamlined, remained an integral part of the PAED masterplan. A long-term dental treatment program, focusing on a chosen public elementary school-community, rather than a one-time visit to several, was thought to be the better way to achieve continuity and effectiveness of efforts.
A twinning program with a non-government organization, Rotary Club of San Pablo, Laguna resulted in a wide-spread, ongoing initiative to provide sealants to preserve the teeth of many of the city’s students. PAED repeated the exercise in Bacolod, partnering with the PDA Dental Chapter, to conduct field clinics and oral hygiene talks for Aeta groups, after which free dental kits were distributed.
In 2018, PAED rose higher in stature with the award of a Certificate of Accreditation by the House of Delegates of the PDA and was approved as a CPD Provider by the PRC.
As innovation and technology in esthetic dentistry continues to raise the bar for customer quality, appearance and health, the best is certainly still to come for PAED and its dedicated member-professionals.