Your cases don’t look like the ones on the podium! Why?

Throughout my dental career I have been taking CE. I’m a CE junkie! I have taken nearly everything out there. Early in this voyage I saw amazing cases on the podium, things I thought were clinical excellence and quite impossible to accomplish. I would be in awe looking at the photography and clinical skill needed to execute cases to such perfection and trying to absorb as much as I could.
When I got back to practice I tried, I did everything I learned to make my cases look like the ones in the lectures. No matter how hard I tried I could not get cases to look like the ones on the podium, why wasn’t I as good as them?
I didn’t get it until a patient from one of my ‘podium’ mentors appeared in my chair. I saw the work with my own eyes. It was good, but was it podium ‘good’? Well no, it looked like my cases, but it wasn’t quite what I aspired to.
This was when I realized something really important, something that changed the way I look at the ‘podium’ work and more importantly at my own work.

In a world where we are seeing pictures on instagram and facebook and around every corner, it’s hard to avoid seeing some of the worlds best dentistry, and feeling really down on ourselves and how our cases turn out.
Some of the cases you see on the podium are cases that were crafted for the ‘podium’. This means they were booked multiple hours for photography, sometimes redoing work, making sure it’s perfect. This means investing time that is not clinically compensated for, but is compensated for on the podium.

Take for example that perfect implant supported central incisor crown you see in a lecture. After placement it took months for the patient to come back and composite added and subtracted from the provisional to get the soft tissue to be sculpted. Multiple visits, each time the provisional removed and adjusted. Then the laboratory tries to match the shape and colour of the crown, again multiple appointments needed to achieve perfection. I included some pictures below. One borrowed from the “podium” and another my own. You can see the difference. The “podium” case is near perfect, mine has tissue differences, shade differences, shape is not the same, but it still looks great. The difference here is that I had no provisional, inserted after a single impression and no remakes.

“Podium” cases may be everyday cases but the work that goes into perfection is not something that all of us do everyday… Bottom line is that many of these everyday cases are groomed for the podium and time is taken to achieve outcomes that are near perfect. We are all busy clinicians, we can’t spend all the time that these clinicians spend at achieving outcomes that are ‘podium’ worthy. I realized that we need to find ways to make our cases look amazing efficiently and cost effectively without the need to redo and remake for the masses.
I believe that what is really important is for us to remain grounded, we try to deliver the very best to our patients within our ability, while still servicing our practices and our teams.

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