Interview: ROOTS SUMMIT is about “people that have a passion for saving teeth”

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Interview: ROOTS SUMMIT is about “people that have a passion for saving teeth”

Dr Stephen Buchanan at the ESMT Berlin presenting his hands-on course “The art of endodontics” on Thursday morning. (Photograph: Tom Carvalho, DTI)
Luke Gribble, DTI

By Luke Gribble, DTI

Thu. 28. June 2018


BERLIN, Germany: At the 2018 ROOTS SUMMIT, being held until 1 July, Dental Tribune Online met with Dr Stephen Buchanan, who is a diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics and a fellow of the International and American College of Dentists. Most notably, he was the first dentist to introduce variable-tapered instruments in endodontic therapy and pioneered a system-based approach to treating root canals. After his hands-on course “The art of endodontics” at the summit, he spoke about why the congress is so important to him and the community.

What do you find most rewarding about teaching?
Teaching is great. If you are lucky you always learn something that you did not know before you went to teach somebody else. In today’s course, a participant stood up and asked, “Have you ever used air abrasion to find calcified canals?” and I had never in a million years tried it and it is an awesome technique. So that is really what ROOTS is all about, people that have a passion for saving teeth getting together and sharing their tricks and techniques. Really, it is all about tricks and techniques.

How do you translate the things that you pick up at ROOTS to your daily practice?
In a hospital, there are a million people around, there is a lot going on. In a dental practice, it is you, the patient and the assistant, and it gets a little small. It is a small world. So, to break out and hear that everybody else is having the same problems that you are having, it just makes you feel better, cause otherwise you feel kind of picked on. You hear three different solutions to your problem, try them all, figure out which one you like best and then hopefully come back next year and teach something new nobody else thought of.

The ROOTS SUMMIT is international and held in a different location every time, which tends to bring more of a local flavour. So, we are going to see more of German endodontics in this meeting than we have before, which is great.

How important are such established symposiums like the ROOTS SUMMIT for endodontists?
There are a lot of different ones. So, this is not the only endodontic conference, but it’s small enough and intimate enough to spend some time with the people who are giving the courses; you have time to talk to them afterwards. It is not that massed, there are not so many people that it is hard to have a meaningful conversation. I like the size of the meeting.

So, it is quite intimate then? Everyone knows one another and attends regularly?
It is. After the lecture, you can see your best friends at all the meetings. Somebody else pays to fly them there to hang out with you.

What are some of the highlights of this year’s ROOTS SUMMIT that you are personally looking forward to?
Being done with my presentations. I am really looking forward to that. Today, was a wonderful milestone, since I am done with the hands-on course. Sunday, they said they would put me on last, so that hopefully a couple of people will stay [laughs]. Hopefully. I am giving a 3-hour lecture on all these technologies in endodontics. There is a lot of new stuff happening in technology and in terms of hydrodynamic technology. We see that in the US; it is not here yet, but this general way of multisonic cleaning is crazy—I mean it’s cleaning root canals better than we have ever seen them cleaned before. Root canal treatment is getting simpler to do, easier to do good, to do well. When implants became really popular, people started predicting the demise of root canal treatment. There is no comparison because you would always love to have an implant if you cannot save the tooth, but the worst root canal done on a tooth always looks like a tooth afterwards. If you put a bolt in somebody’s mouth, it takes some artistry to make it look like a tooth. So, it takes half the time, just a fraction of the time actually and usually at half the cost. Doing a root canal is a very noble thing; we help people save parts of their bodies and they are really attached to them.

Are you looking forward to any other presentations?
Yes, I am looking forward to catching Dr Daniel Černý’s presentation. He has a PhD in bonding chemistry and is doing a build-up of. I think it is a really important topic and he is a specialist. In the US, we do not do all the procedures like they do in so many European offices that are limited. It is nice for us to learn a little bit more about the history off site. So, he is good. Who else am I looking forward to? I think Dr Yoshi Terauchi, my friend, he is going to be giving a presentation on file retrieval and he is like the god of file retrieval. He takes three or four of these out a week and it takes him less than 5 minutes most of the time. For us, it’s like an hour and a half, we are struggling, sweating, hoping we will not destroy the tooth. He is like, “mhm it is gone” [laughs]. So that is a great lecture. I have heard it about 20 times and I have always learnt something new.

Berlin Enodontics Roots summit Stephen Buchanan

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