POS instructor Dr. Suzie Bergman shares the important things to know about SmileStream's Case Consulting service in this interview.
CRYSTAL SHIMABUKURO: We're here at Progressive Orthodontic Seminars headquarters in California with our special guest Suzie Bergman. Thank you for coming here this weekend.
DR. SUZIE BERGMAN: Thank you, Crystal.
CRYSTAL: How's the Update seminar going so far?
DR. SUZIE: It's been amazing. It is such an interesting topic that Dr. Dana's going over, facial esthetics, and how we actually really impact our patients' appearance more than just a row of teeth in their mouth. So it's been great. And having Dr. McGann here and hearing the panel discussion yesterday was really fun.
CRYSTAL: Suzie, a lot of our students haven't done ortho before, and they get really nervous when starting the case, especially when diagnosing and planning their treatment. A lot of students really love getting the instructors' support, so tell us a little more about the case consulting service.
DR. SUZIE: Case Consulting is a really great feature that is integral to the education that we offer at POS. So the student will take records on a patient and then when they have the records completed they can send them to the instructor for review. And the instructor's actually going to give the student feedback on their records and give them any tips on how to improve that. The instructor is also going to actually take a look at the case, come up with a treatment plan, a diagnosis, appliance design, and that way the student's going to get the case back from the instructor with notes on what to talk about at the consultation and what appliance to order and they're going to have a treatment plan that's listed in point so that they know this is what to do first, here's what to do next. They're able to also ask some follow up questions if they get halfway through the case and they feel like they need some more support from the instructor. We really like to help students to feel like they're not on their own when they go back to their offices.
CRYSTAL: You work with a lot of students, would you say most of them use the service? What percentage usually like to get extra help from the instructor?
DR. SUZIE: I would say that every student I know, who is doing a lot of cases, is getting help from the instructor in the beginning of their ortho career. We really recommend that they get at least the first 20 cases diagnosed with an instructor because it's a lot of information that they have to remember and there's a learning curve. After about 20 cases, students seem to get a little more confidence and then they still send cases, but sometimes if it's one that they feel confident with, they might take it on on their own. The nice thing is that we have lifetime support at POS. So let's say you've been doing ortho for 10 years but then you have a case that comes through the door that's really complicated, you're still able to send it to an instructor for diagnosis.
CRYSTAL: Do you have any tips for students on how to get the most out of the service?
DR. SUZIE: It's really important for them to remember they get to see the patient in the chair. They actually have observed the patient's smile and occlusion. So for the instructors, we really need students to take very good records. The photos need to be taken at the correct angle. The ceph and the models need to be traced correctly. All of the questions need to be answered in the first couple tabs so that we know the characteristics of the patient. Also they need to spend a little time talking to the patient about their chief complaint and listing their goals and expectations. So when I get the case, it's as if I was in the room with them during the exam.
CRYSTAL: You mentioned one thing that's really important is for a student to trace the ceph and models accurately. How would they do that best?
DR. SUZIE: So SmileStream has made it really, really a lot more achievable to get accurate ceph and model tracing. When a student opens up DentalCad and they are tracing their ceph, if they can't remember exactly where to put a point, they click on the little image at the bottom of the screen and it will give them a definition of the point and it will have a little arrow showing them exactly where they should be placing it. I think a lot of times in the beginning students forget that that's available to them and it's just so important that the ceph and the models are traced accurately. That's the one area if we are going to ask our students to be perfectionists, you know dentists are kind of type A to begin with, they really need to have that accurate because everything afterwards will be affected by a ceph or a model measuring that isn't done accurately. So the VTO will be incorrect and then that causes incorrect choice of brackets because the RBT may not be accurate either, and so it's really important to get a good ceph and model.
CRYSTAL: And what if you have a student who's never done ortho, never done tracing and they're really nervous. They've taken the classes but they're not 100% sure about ceph tracing and model measuring. What do they do?
DR. SUZIE: Well you know we have videos that are available. Tutorials in the library go over every single aspect of that. We’re not telling them that their ceph and models have to be perfectly traced, but we want them to place their points so that we can evaluate it for them. I typically will do my own tracing and label it with my initials for the student so that they can compare their work to mine. Another thing that I wanted to mention, it's important that the ceph and models be a 1 to 1 image. Before the student starts the tracing they should use the little ruler tool to make sure that they don't have to recalibrate. If it needs to be recalibrated that can be done in DentalCad. We also have a service for someone to trace the cephs for the student. Let's say the student's just really busy or wants to see a few done before they start doing their own, they can send it to an instructor and that's an option in the consulting section.
CRYSTAL: That's a really cool upgrade. I know a lot of students like to know how is it sort of on the back end from the instructor's side? What do you look for first when you get a case for Case Consulting?
DR. SUZIE: The first thing I do is open DentalCad and I look at the ceph and the models. So I'm not going to do anything else until I'm sure those have been traced correctly and then I'm going to go through and look at all the pictures and make sure that what I see in the pictures is what is written in the classification tabs. Because once we get to the point where we need to do conflict resolution, let's say we saw 5 mm of crowding in the photos and the models, we don't want to get done tracing the models and have it say 2 mm of crowding, or 1 mm of space. So that's a really nice thing that's part of the SmileStream software, is that we're not going to go forward until we resolve conflicts.
CRYSTAL: Got it. And since you see so many students sending consulting, what do you think is the most common error when you get the cases?
DR. SUZIE: I would say one thing that frustrates instructors is when we get a case that doesn't have any work done in it. So sometimes students are a little nervous and they think well 'I don't really know, I don't want the instructor to think that I don't know what bracket to select,' or something like that. We at the very least want to have the photos uploaded, every photo that we need for our diagnosis. And we want to have the DentalCad work done. But, if the student goes ahead and says here's a treatment plan that I'm considering and maybe these are the brackets that I think I should use, that's really fantastic because the more I get information from them, the more feedback I can give them and it turns into a really good educational experience for the student that way.
CRYSTAL: Thank you so much for sharing your tips for Case Consulting.
DR. SUZIE: Thanks, Crystal. It's always great to talk with you.