The HDC Aesthetic Continuum
Helping Dentists Create Beautiful Smiles
A program within a program. That’s how Heartland Dental Care’s Aesthetic Continuum is described. With the benefit of live patients, former Pacific Aesthetic Continuum leaders Edward Lowe, DDS, and Michael Koczarski, DDS, partner with HDC clinical leaders to provide an extensive clinical practicum allowing participating dentists to duplicate the process of diagnosing, treatment planning and executing a smile design that looks fantastic and functions beautifully. The Continuum, lauded as the company’s premier clinical course, has evolved since its inception in 2004. The basic components have remained consistent: live patients, participating dentists, guest lecturers and dentist mentors.
"By defining steps which are key to a successful case, we’ve been able to share a plan which makes the outcome more predictable for our clinicians."
Anna Singh, DMD
Clinical Director at Heartland Dental Care and practicing dentist at Cane Ridge Dentist in Antioch, Tennessee
"Our vision is to improve the quality of restorations," said HDC Clinical Director, Anna Singh, DMD, who also spearheads the Continuum. "We know there are many aspects of a smile design, so we’ve combined all of those in this program. It starts with planning the case and continues through the delivery. By defining steps which are key to a successful case, we’ve been able to share a plan which makes the outcome more predictable for our clinicians," Singh continued. "With these steps, dentists can achieve successful results."
Michael Badger, DDS, FAGD, of DellagioDentist.com is one of nearly 50 doctors who have participated in the program the past two years. The step by step process is one he has incorporated into his practice. "From being involved in the Continuum, I’ve been able to translate the skills I’ve learned to create amazing smile designs for my patients," Badger said. "With the confidence I’ve gained, I can give them the outcome they’re looking for."
"The Continuum has given me hands-on practical experience, and the step by step process provides a fail safe method for delivering what the patient expects."
Michael Badger, DDS, FAGD
practicing dentist at DellagioDentist.com in Orlando Florida
The five-day extensive clinical practicum involves case analysis, prepping and seating of the patient case. The accompanying lecture for each phase is offered at the time of focus which has been a benefit to participants. In the past two years, emphasis has been placed on the case analysis portion of the program. Singh says case analysis is more than a "cookie-cutter template" for smile design cases. During this phase, the participating doctor and mentor look at existing factors, such as periodontal health, occlusion, caries and other health information. "It’s all part of a predictable result," Singh added. During the case analysis day, clinicians focus on 10 to 12 Continuum cases.
This expedites the learning curve for doctors as they learn how to handle their case and familiarizes them with others they may see in their offices.
Looking beyond the program’s basic components is where the program within the program will be found. Doctor mentors have been a staple with this course; however, the level of mentor training has increased the last couple of years. Unique to this program is the one-to-one mentor-mentee match. Mentors and mentees meet during the case analysis phase and partner as they journey to case delivery. Transferring their knowledge from past Continuums, Mentors shorten the learning curve for mentees. The relationship formed between the two clinicians extends beyond the positive Continuum experience, and provides the mentee a trusted colleague to pose questions and seek guidance which positively results in continual growth of clinical skills.
Jeffrey Whiteside, DMD, of Springfield Dental Group described his experience of working with a mentor as "invaluable." He puts his Continuum experiences to use in his office, now placing veneers and replacing three-unit bridges. For Whiteside, having representatives of dental laboratories onsite during the Continuum proved to be equally valuable. "Hearing their point of view as we looked at models has allowed me to look at things differently and have a better outcome with less re-do’s," he said.
As part of the program, Badger, Whiteside and other participating doctors were asked to bring their dental assistant for the prep and seat phases. Assistants hear the lecture message with their doctor and become familiar with the procedure steps in the operatory. "It’s given us greater synergy," Badger said. "My assistant is able to walk the patient through the steps to give them more confidence in my abilities." By working in the midst of Dental Assistant mentors, participating assistants are also able to pick up efficiency skills. "The Continuum has given me hands-on practical experience, and the step by step process provides a fail safe method for delivering what the patient expects," Badger added.
The Continuum’s goal of producing a natural smile as opposed to a "denture" smile is attractive for participants. But it’s the program within a program – the knowledge passed from mentor to student, that fuels growth in the Aesthetic Continuum and keeps it going strong.
Thank you to all of the participating vendors who helped make the 2012 Aesthetic Continuum a huge success!
- Kerr Dental
- 3M ESPE
- Dash Medical
- Westlund Dental Studios
- Westbrook - a DTI Dental Lab
- DSG - Dental Services Group
- Albensi Laboratories
- DDS Dental Lab
- Henry Schein