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New skills add value for patients, profitability for practice

Louisiana dentist integrates crown-lengthening skills into her practice after taking an ADA hands-on cadaver course

July 10, 2014

By Stacie Crozier

Photo of Dr. Thompson
Dr. Thompson
Saint Rose, La
.—Since taking a hands-on cadaver course in crown lengthening at the ADA's annual meeting in 2013, Dr. Cleopatra Thompson is able to offer her patients a new treatment option — saving her patients time and money and adding profitability to her practice.

"The hands-on crown lengthening cadaver course appealed to me because my colleagues told me having the ability to perform crown lengthening procedures in my office would be a great benefit to my patients. They also said the procedure was fairly easy to perform," said Dr. Thompson. "This course has allowed me to more effectively treatment plan restorative options on teeth whose clinical crowns have been significantly compromised due to decay or trauma from occlusion."

The new procedure offers her patients more convenience, she said.

"Now I can treatment plan the procedure, I can immediately discuss the cost and I can perform the procedure in my office."

Dr. Thompson's practice is in Saint Rose, Louisiana, a city 20 miles west of New Orleans on the Mississippi River. A 2001 graduate of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry, she said last year's ADA annual meeting in New Orleans was the first she had attended. Based on her experience, she is hoping to attend ADA 2014—America's Dental Meeting Oct. 9-14 in San Antonio, if she is able to balance her practice obligations and her latest life milestone—becoming a new mom. Her son, Evan, was born May 7.
Photo of Dr. Thompson learning from Dr. Suzuki in a lab setting
Learning new skills: Dr. Cleopatra Thompson of Saint Rose, La., listens to presenter Dr. Jon Suzuki during the 2013 hands-on cadaver course, Crown Lengthening Workshop at the Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans.

"The cadaver course last year was absolutely phenomenal,"
Dr. Thompson said. "I truly enjoyed completing the procedure on a cadaver because it directly simulated what I would ultimately complete in the oral cavity of a patient. I especially enjoyed the intimate class size. It was not too large which allowed me to have direct communication with the instructors. Having never completed a crown lengthening procedure before, I was able to attempt the procedure independently after receiving directions from the course instructors."

Dr. Thompson said she plans to take another cadaver course in the future.

"I feel more confident in course settings that are hands on," she said. "It gives me the opportunity to attempt the procedure and ask as many questions as possible. When I return to my practice, I feel that I have already physically completed the procedure and now I simply have to integrate it into my practice."

Dr. Thompson said she truly enjoyed attending her first ADA annual meeting last year, and in addition to taking a variety of continuing education courses, she was excited to learn that the ADA, the Louisiana Dental Association and the New Orleans Dental Association hosted a national Mission of Mercy charitable dental clinic.

"I was not able to participate in the MOM in New Orleans because I registered too late and all of the positions were filled. I recommend that anyone who wants to participate in the Mission of Mercy should register early. I am hoping to participate in that very fulfilling experience this year."

The second ADA Mission of Mercy is set for Oct. 12 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. For more details or to volunteer for the ADA Mission of Mercy, visit Regulations and temporary licensing information are available on this page. For more information on donors supporting the ADA Mission of Mercy, see the related story.

The ADA's innovative continuing education programs and charitable MOM program netted E.X.C.I.T.E. Awards at the ExpoNext Conference June 25 in Baltimore (See story.)

For a list of hands-on cadaver courses and hundreds of other CE courses planned for ADA 2014 — America's Dental Meeting, visit