After a long period of struggles, aversion and ostracism, in the Seventies oral implantology finally began to attract the interest of freelancers and of some farsighted representatives of official odontoiatry.
The number of implantation techniques therefore began to increase, as well as the number of successful international and national congresses.
The gateways of new and promising business horizons opened to the dental sector market, always paying attention to innovations and developments, and the opportunity of increasing profits thanks to the sale of materials necessary to realise implantation systems became clear.

If, on the one hand, this change gave new strength to idealists who, despite the difficult situation, really believed in the future of oral implantology, on the other hand the growth of non-scientific interests strongly influenced the development and the official recognition of this ultra-modern super-specialisation.
As a matter of fact, due to the attempt to bring about a strong but short-sighted business growth without the necessary and optimal education of users, both at surgical and prosthetic level, the number of failures multiplied and, as expected, it attracted the attention of university clinics and hospitals.
The reaction of official dentistry and maxillofacial surgery to this union of economic interests and pseudo-science was strongly negative and the decision was taken to exclude implantation systems and their supporters from their congresses.
Briefly speaking, there was a clear separation between freelancers, who continued to organise their congresses, and university representatives and maxillofacial surgeons, who rejected any intervention on intraosseous implants from their scientific conferences.

This general aversion was not shared, albeit prudently, by the Universities of Modena led by Prof. Benito Vernole, of Pisa led by Prof. Renato Bandettini, of Milan led by Prof. Oscar Hoffer and of Parma led by Prof. Rusconi, where Prof. Ugo Pasqualini, Prof. Sebastiano Lo Bello and Prof. Nazario Marini worked.
During the Kyoto Congress in 1975, Sebastiano Lo Bello, who was aware of the obstacles to the development of oral implantology posed by these antithetical positions and exasperated for the indecorous aspect of scientific reports and congresses, which only focussed on economic aspects, put forward the proposal of creating a free international association, exclusively dealing with scientific issues.

After a first informal meeting, when Lo Bello explained the reasons and the need for free and independent information and committed himself to draw the statute of the association, the idea was shared by the most prominent implantation experts of the time.
In fact, at the Maxillofacial Surgery Congress organised in Ortisei in 1976, and chaired by university lecturers and maxillofacial surgeons, the implantology component was accepted after many years and for the first time it was involved as partner in the organisation of the congress and in the presentation of scientific reports.

In 1978, the new association proposed by Sebastiano Lo Bello was officially ratified with the name of I.R.C.O.I – INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH COMMITTEE OF ORAL IMPLANTOLOGY and successfully began its activity of scientific information dissemination at international level.

The following members were elected to lead the association:

Prof. Sebastiano R. Lo Bello – President of International IRCOI
Prof. Ugo Pasqualini – President of IRCOI Italy
Prof. Amedeo Bobbio – President of IRCOI Brasil
Dr. Serge Brauner – President of IRCOI France
Dr. H.G. Jakobs – President of IRCOI Germany
Dr. Samuel Tadros – President of IRCOI Kuwait
Dr. Anthony Ricciardi – President of IRCOI USA

The statute was approved and a fundamental and binding provision was introduced to confirm the complete independence of the association from any commercial involvement, going beyond usual congress sponsorship activities.
An agreement was also reached on the necessary education activities for the professional training of IRCOI members on the most common types of implants and on the gathering of statistical data concerning the results obtained.
Congresses were equally open to all, subject to the examination of an abstract and of iconographic materials enclosed by a scientific committee, in order to guarantee the dissemination of appropriate and reliable scientific information.

This sort of independence obviously created serious problems in the economic management of the association. These difficulties were often overcome thanks to the direct and personal involvement of the association leaders and many of its members.
The following 24 years have been characterised by several changes in national and international leading figures; new national sections were set up, including those in Israel, Greece, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Yugoslavia, India, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Chile and Romania and the IRCOI promoted several memorable top-level scientific events.

Not all the objectives set have been achieved, but the IRCOI is the only association able to survive for 26 years while keeping its economic autonomy and capable of being a point of reference in the dentistry sector, thanks to its numerous scientific events. It is also a guarantee of respect of the principles in the name of which it was founded, i.e. the principles of correct information and education, with no commercial purposes and open to all worthy ideas and research activities.

The IRCOI resumes today its information and training activity with new strength, great commitment and a capillary effort, through an interim renewal committee formed by a group of young and experienced implantologists, coordinated by Prof. Lo Bello and Prof. Cataldo.
The 18th IRCOI WORLD CONGRESS is at an advanced stage of preparation and will be organised in the elegant Bourbon residence (summer residence) of CASTELLAMMARE DI STABIA on 31 May,1 and 2 June 2012.

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