L. Stephen Buchanan, DDS

Sharing his clinical competency with colleagues keeps Dr. Buchanan a top educator.

What can you tell us about your background?

I have documented Attention Deficit Disorder, so I love doing dangerous things safely in human beings, and I am afraid I might go to hell if I bore my students as I have been bored so often in my education.

What originally attracted you to the specialty of endodontics?

The anatomy of root canal systems and the technical challenges of treating them. Being an endodontist is awesome because patients’ expectations are really low — if I can avoid hurting them, they love me. Plastic surgeons have a much tougher job because they have to make ugly people look good.

What aspect of your training inspired you to add educator to your list of accomplishments?

I wanted dental colleagues to have as much fun as I do performing RCT.

What are your proudest moments in the clinical and teaching aspects of your life?

Graduating first in my dental school class; inventing variably tapered RCT files, a 2-second method of 3D obturation; 3D-printed training replicas and a hands-free irrigating system; broadcasting live-patient RCT demonstrations over the Internet with 1,680 real-time viewers from around the world.

What do you think is unique about your teaching methods?

I teach to share competency, not to feed my ego.

As an educator, what have you learned from your clinical students?

Many of my best clinical tricks were learned from dentists taking my hands-on courses — also, I have learned that dentists are very smart and caring professionals.

What has been your biggest challenge in sharing information and educating dentists about endodontics?

Explaining complex procedures in the simplest, most effective terms.

What advice would you give to budding endodontists?

Find a place in the middle of the United States to practice; retire early as a result; and then move to California.

What is the future of endodontics?

We will get better at performing minimally invasive RCT, so teeth are as structurally intact after as before.

What would you have become, had you not become a dentist?

I have no idea. I decided to be a dentist at the age of 16, and I cannot imagine a better job.

What are your hobbies?

Woodworking, stained glass, jewelry design, endodontics.

What do you do in your spare time?

Read biographies, history, economics, and murder mysteries. Spend time doing whatever my lovely wife wants to do.

To increase your competency in endodontics, view Dr. Buchanan’s free CE webinar, “A New Era In Endodontics: How Technology is Coming of Age and Changing Root Canal Therapy.”

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