ROOTS SUMMIT 2022—Interview with speaker Dr Stephen Buchanan

Ahead of ROOTS SUMMIT 2022, which is being held in Prague in the Czech Republic from 26 to 29 May, Dental Tribune International is delighted to have had the opportunity to speak with lecturer Dr Stephen Buchanan, a passionate advocate for dental education. Approximately 30 years ago, he established Dental Education Laboratories, a modern training facility devoted to endodontic hands-on instruction. He also runs a private practice specialising in endodontics and implantology in California in the US. In this interview, he speaks about what participants can expect from his hands-on course and how TrueTooth training replicas can enhance endodontic training.

Dr Buchanan, it’s good to have you back at this year’s ROOTS SUMMIT. What will the focus of your hands-on course be, and what are some of the main learning objectives for participants?
My lecture title, “The art of endodontics in the age of MIE [minimally invasive endodontics]”, is descriptive of the hands-on course content. I know there is a lot of fear and trepidation among endodontists about minimally invasive endodontics. There is nothing easy about doing root canal therapy through ninja access cavities, and the law of decreasing returns for the effort is a serious clinical issue.

One of my primary objectives is to sus out what minimally invasive endodontics means. This is an important question because saving tooth structure with minimally invasive endodontics is short-sighted if the root canal therapy fails because of inadequate convenience form.

In the hands-on course, I will be introducing a number of tools and techniques that can make it easier to conserve tooth structure during root canal therapy. These will include guided minimally invasive endodontic access burs, 0.03 and 0.05 taper instruments, and single-cone obturation with bioceramic sealer. My primary procedural teaching objective is to train course attendees how to cut just a little less dentine during root canal therapy without compromising outcomes or productivity.

The workshop participants will practise on 3D-printed TrueTooth training replicas that you invented. How do these help with endodontic training?
Printed tooth replicas empower us to learn how to do procedures iteratively in an authentic anatomy. This is entirely new, as we used to train in extracted teeth with random internal anatomy instead of choosing the anatomy to match the training objective. With replicas, everybody in the class is working in the same ideal anatomy, and if they botch a procedure, students simply try it again in another identical replica. Humans learn the most challenging things through iterative practice—astronauts, symphony musicians and heart surgeons all learn by repetition. Now we can do that too—and the training results I see with replicas are far superior to those seen with extracted teeth.

In your opinion, what are some of the current trends in endodontics?
The topic of my hands-on course and lecture—minimally invasive endodontics—is a current trend. In addition, I would say irrigant activation, as most R & D money is currently spent on upgrading irrigation methods.

What are some of the highlights of this year’s ROOTS SUMMIT that you are personally looking forward to?
Prague is a magical city that my family has come to love, and it will be awesome to be there with our friends again.

Which are the three main characteristics that you associate with the ROOTS SUMMIT meeting?
Stimulating, good return on investment and serious fun.

Editorial note:

Dr Buchanan’s hands-on course on minimally invasive endodontics will be held on 26 May from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. His lecture, which will cover the same topic, will be presented on 29 May from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

More information on the programme and registration can be found on the ROOTS SUMMIT website.

CE credit
Dental education
Dental event
Endodontics
Roots summit
Stephen Buchanan


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