2013 Daily Review - Day 1: 2013 Christensen Lecturer Award recipient L. Stephen Buchanan

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 Daily Review - Day 1: 2013 Christensen Award
By Stephanie Sisk

Dr. Buchanan shares his endodontics expertise in hands-on courses

Well-known — and well-regarded — for his embrace of technological advances that make his work and research in endodontics groundbreaking, L. Stephen Buchanan is the 2013 recipient of the Gordon J. Christensen Lecturer Award, acknowledging a Midwinter Meeting lecturer’s contributions to dentistry. (Pictured at right are Drs. Christensen and Buchanan)

In private practice in endodontics and implants surgery in Santa Barbara, CA, Dr. Buchanan also is a diplomat of the American Board of Endodontics and an assistant clinical professor in the post-graduate endodontic programs at USC and UCLA.

Many know him for his work as the founder of Dental Education Laboratories, a hands-on training center serving general dentists and endodontists upgrading their skills in new endodontic and implant technology.

“Many years ago during an American Dental Association meeting in Kansas City,” recalled Chicago Dental Society president David Fulton Jr., “I attended a hands-on participation course on rotary endodontics taught by Dr. Buchanan.

“This course changed the way all future endodontic procedures in my office would be performed and was truly one of the most profound moments in my advanced dental education,” he said. “He has continued for years now to be a significant educator and certainly has remained in the forefront of expertise in his specialty.” As much as the lab has enlightened dentists, Dr. Buchanan has learned a fair amount in return.

“I have rarely taught a two-day lab course without learning several fairly cool procedural twists and tricks, mostly from general dentists,” said Dr. Buchanan.

“Sometimes it’s something about pure endo technique, like how to ensure a perfect first cut during the access cavity preparation,” he said. “Other times, I’m twigged by a course attendee about what is happening in the world of dentistry outside endo, inspiring new ideas where different arenas of expertise intersect.”

In 1986, Dr. Buchanan began pursuing 3-D anatomy research, becoming the first person in dentistry to use micro CT technology to show the intricacies of root structure.

Since then, he’s gone on to invent and hold patents for various dental instruments and techniques. He was the first to introduce variably-tapered shaping instruments for use in endodontic therapy and pioneered a system-based approach to treating root canals.

“I meet a lot of different people in my travels, from all parts of the world, and I can confidently report that dentists, as a group, are some of the nicest and most accomplished people I ever meet,” he said.

Ms. Sisk is Chicago area freelance journalist.