The Microscope-Training Years at PERF

Attempts to popularize the microscopic approach in academic institutions met with a great deal of resistance, if not outright hostility. After a dozen presentations at post graduate programs, it became clear the university endodontic programs would not embrace this technology. In late 1991, PERF began a series of monthly courses designed to train motivated clinicians in a microscopic approach to endodontics. These monthly courses went on for 10 years and over 700 endodontists and staff were trained during this time period.

The courses taught techniques that we had developed in our practice that depended on a teamwork approach. Right from the beginning, we taught how to use a scope for all procedures in endodontics from initial exam to completion. It goes without saying that everyone who came to the courses left with a different conception of how they would perform endodontics going forward.

Some of the Classes given at PERF 1991-2001:

We not only taught surgical skills but also conventional and retreatment endodontic skills as well. Indeed, as the courses matured and we became more adept at microscope use, the surgical aspect of the training was reduced and the retreatment aspect increased dramatically.
The courses tended to attract clinicians motivated to operate at the highest level of the specialty and a very high level of friendship and camaraderie developed among the graduates. Eventually, due to the popularity of the courses, many graduates returned as guest faculty to help.

No guest faculty ever requested any compensation for their time or travel—they donated their time because of their belief that the microscopic approach in endodontics was important to the survival of our specialty. Even today, there is a special bond that links these endodontists together.
Some of the early guest faculty were:

  • John and Barb Stropko
  • Peter Cancellier
  • Bob Sharp
  • Fred Tsuitsui
  • Peter Endo
  • Russ Stoch
  • Garland Forbes
  • Alan Selbst
  • Scott Bentkover
  • Keith Kanter
  • Brent Sonnenberg
  • Dave Dickey
  • Joe Grenn
  • Steve Lyon
  • Dave Rosenberg

In 1992, I was asked to write the chapter on Surgical Endodontics in Pathways of the Pulp and in 1994 both the Chapter on Surgical Endodontics and Retreatment Endodontics. These chapters were the first chapters in any endodontic texts to feature the microscopic approach in endodontics. I also asked to design the cover for Pathways of the Pulp text showcasing—-what else?—the microscope!
In 1995, PERF gave the first of two courses open to all postgraduate directors in the United States and Canada. Following these courses, the AAE made a requirement that postgraduate programs must offer training in the use of a surgical microscope to become certified as postgraduate training program. The microscope had arrived!
Today, the PERF education function is limited to mentoring postgraduate students who visit on a regular basis. Post grads from USC, UCLA, Lome Linda, and the VA regularly rotate through PERF. PERF grads who have helped with mentoring postgrads at PERF are: Peter Cancellier, Peter Endo, Fred Tsutsui, Steve Merchant, Bob Sharp, and Carlos Murgel.
In addition, Dr. Carr and his assistant of 25 years, Joy Haskins, travel to selected postgraduate programs throughout the year.
Schools visited by Joy and Dr. Carr are:

  • Buffalo
  • Toronto
  • San Antonio
  • Nebraska
  • Iowa
  • Washington
  • Dallas
  • Univ of Fla Alabama
  • Univ of Illinois Michigan
  • Michigan
  • Oregon
  • Loma Linda
  • USC
  • UCLA
  • Kanasa City
  • St Louis
  • LSU
  • San Fransico
  • Minnesota
  • North Carolina
  • Houston
  • Penn
  • NOVA
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