Dr. Rebecca Bockow remembers sitting in on graduate seminars at the University of Washington, learning from Dr. Frank Spear and other experts as they presented on interdisciplinary treatment strategies.
It was an early tipping point in her clinical career. She realized there was much more to her chosen profession than what she was learning in dental school. She wanted to be a part of the team dynamic that Dr. Spear demonstrated as the key to success.
Now that Dr. Bockow - who has a rare dual certification in orthodontics and periodontics - has joined Spear Resident Faculty, she’s thrilled to join fellow faculty members Drs. Spear and Greggory Kinzer in teaching the popular “Interdisciplinary Management of Esthetic Dilemmas” seminar that resumes in 2019 with sessions March 7-8 and May 30-31.
For her, it’s an opportunity to work alongside the restorative dentists that influenced her approach to treating esthetic cases as part of a well-organized interdisciplinary team and to help clinicians expand their skillsets.
“I’ve had amazing mentors myself,” Dr. Bockow said. “If I can do for others what people like Frank and Gregg have done for me, that’s a gift.”
Seattle connection on ‘Esthetic Dilemmas’
Dr. Bockow maintains a practice limited to orthodontics in Seattle, where Drs. Spear and Kinzer share their own esthetics/restorative practice. She works extensively with Dr. Kinzer and their referral relationship has matured to the point where they can anticipate each other's treatment goals.
Now they anticipate what each other are looking for, so cases flow effortlessly between their teams.
Clinicians can expect to get a blueprint for achieving that type of relationship with the Spear/Kinzer/Bockow trio teaching “Esthetic Dilemmas.” The seminar helps dentists grasp how to organize treatment goals, communication and sequencing in challenging, complex esthetic cases by implementing interdisciplinary strategies, leading to more consistently predictable patient outcomes.
Dr. Bockow said she welcomes the chance to integrate more airway lessons into “Esthetic Dilemmas” and to coach clinicians on how to diagnose and treat patients with more “conviction and confidence.”
Breathing disorders starting at a young age are often the root cause of adverse skeletal growth. For example, chronic mouth breathing can lead to a clockwise skeletal growth pattern, manifesting in a "gummy smile" patient.
“When we treatment plan these cases, we now can include airway issues in the diagnosis and treatment plan,” Bockow said.
The root of clinical issues
Dr. Bockow's presentation at Spear Summit 2018 focused on how airway issues influence facial growth and development. It generated rave reviews, as Summit attendees absorbed her take on malocclusions in children and adults, and how treatment plans differ based on patient age and skeletal maturation.
In its 10th year, Spear has evolved to the point where the essentials of airway prosthodontics pioneered by Resident Faculty member Dr. Jeff Rouse are becoming more prevalent and blended into lessons based on Dr. Spear’s Facially Generated Treatment Planning philosophy.
“I’m impressed with where the curriculum is going, and I think it’s at the absolute forefront of dentistry,” Bockow said. “The Spear learning ecosystem really looks at the root of problems and focuses on the interdisciplinary team. It’s making dentistry fun and rewarding on a whole new level.”
After graduating from dental school and working as a general practitioner, Dr. Bockow completed a dual-specialty ortho/perio program at the University of Pennsylvania that selects one dentist each year. She earned her master’s degree in oral biology as she was simultaneously completing her dual residency.
She has also served as an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington in the Department of Orthodontics and lectures extensively on everything from interdisciplinary orthodontics to airway issues and skeletal growth and development.
Full of ‘passion and ideas’
Dr. Kinzer said with Dr. Bockow's addition to “Esthetic Dilemmas,” restorative dentists will learn how to speak more knowledgably about orthodontics and periodontics.
Without that comprehensive understanding of specialist disciplines, general practitioners can find themselves lacking confidence with patients and struggling to make accurate referrals.
Having Dr. Bockow as part of the seminar will help clinicians talk to their patients differently, Kinzer said, adding that she is very “clear and poised” in her teaching style.
“She has the ability to break down a complex topic, to present it and sequence through it so you’re engaged, you follow through and you understand it when you’re done,” Kinzer said.
“She’s got a lot of passion and ideas,” he said. “You want to work with somebody like that, who’s thinking about things constantly.”