Jason Smithson Composite Artistry Review

In early October 2012, I attended a CE course for which I signed up a full year early.  It was necessary to sign up so early, because the course sold out in 1 week just with Townies.  Held at the Cosmedent Headquarters in downtown Chicago, IL, this course was absolutely INCREDIBLE – even more than I’d hoped for, and I was expecting a LOT!

Course Description and Details

This is taken from the Cosmedent website, as it summarizes the program well:

Direct resins in the  anterior and posterior dentition have become a common day-to-day treatment modality, and can produce functional, long lasting and highly aesthetic restorations. The philosophy of the course is to introduce a simple technique, which results in a highly aesthetic restoration that is easy to place using minimal shades of composite resin. The program is extremely practical, user friendly and it is 2/3 hands on.

In essence, the course was designed to teach attendees the fundamentals of providing not only strong and long-lasting composite restorations, both posterior and anterior, but restorations that blend so perfectly into the natural dentition, that they are impossible to distinguish.

  • Tuition: $3495 USD
  • CE Hours: 16
  • Attendees: Open to all
  • Dates: Sept. 20-22, 2012
  • Location: Cosmedent Center for Esthetic Excellence

A Brief Introduction, and Why Dr. Smithson

The course was taught by Dr. Jason Smithson, an amazingly talented dentist, whom I’ve known on DentalTown for about 5 years.  He consistently posts cases that are so perfect, it’s really impossible to tell what’s tooth and what’s composite for both anterior and posterior cases.  If you really want to see his work, I do recommend looking him up on Facebook or DentalTown.com.  He lives in Truro, England, so it’s not often that he lectures in the USA; his last course here prior to this was at least 3 years ago.

The course was designed to be primarily a hands-on seminar with a strong but concise didactic component.  Held in the small but excellent Cosmedent Center for Esthetic Excellence facilities in downtown Chicago, it was a small group of less than 15 dentists.  All materials were provided by Cosmedent, including their Renamel Nano, Microhybrid, and Microfill composites; Brush & Sculpt wetting resin, brushes, etc.

FIVE-STAR Dental Continuing Education – With a Catch 

As I continue to publish my CE reviews, you are probably going to wonder why most of them end up getting Five Stars from me.  Not all will, but probably most, for one rather simple reason: I’m extremely picky about the courses I choose to attend.  IOW – I don’t just attend any old CE courses – I only choose courses that are highly regarded, that come highly recommended by my mentors and colleagues whom I trust, or whom I personally know and respect for the work they do.  Given that most of the CE I attend is 2-3 days and rarely costs less than $2,000, I tend to choose very carefully where to spend my time and money.  But here are the reasons why I rated Dr. Smithson’s course as a “Must Take!”

  • The Location: Cosmedent’s headquarters is located right in the middle of beautiful downtown Chicago, IL.  Their Center for Esthetic Excellence is a small facility, designed to accommodate no more than 15-20 people at a time, as almost all of the courses they sponsor are very hands-on.  All necessary materials are provided, the support team is excellent and responsive, and when the course is done, you have all of Chicago to enjoy.  Not quite as nice weather as the Lido Resort for Howard Chasolen’s Implant Prosthetics course that I recently reviewed, but Chicago has a charm all it’s own.
  • Dr. Smithson as Lecturer: Jason is much the Brit that Americans usually imagine – polished, urbane, obviously intelligent, understated, with a dry sense of humor and irony.  He’s also one of the nicest guys you could ever want to meet, and just as with Howard Chasolen, despite his amazing skill at what he does, he’s as humble and down-to-earth as you could possibly want.  He speaks clearly, his slides are to-the-point and clearly understandable, he doesn’t mind if you take pictures of them or record his lecture, and he will listen to and answer all questions clearly.
  • The Material: Jason delivered 100%.  He teaches a practical system for achieving highly predictable and beautiful composite restorations in both the anterior and posterior.  He demonstrated his points repeatedly, letting us see each step and then practice it ourselves until we got the hang of it.
  • Course Materials/Take-Home: The entire slide sequence is provided via Dropbox download or email, whichever is preferable, and yes, it’s good to have as a reference.  I don’t go back to it as often as I should, but that’s my fault, not the material.

Now here’s the “Catch.” Bear in mind – this is NOT a negative, it is merely an observation:

Jason teaches an absolutely superb course, and without a doubt, my composite restorations have improved dramatically since attending it.  I really can’t recommend the course highly enough to anyone interested – you will LOVE it!  But when you go home and start practicing, don’t be surprised if it’s a bit harder in the mouth than on the bench.  I have learned the hard way – to truly MASTER the skills that Jason teaches requires intense dedication and determination, and it will require time.  Be prepared to KEEP working at it – it’s very rewarding!

If you take this course, you can reasonably expect to see the time required to complete composites to go up by quite a bit, as you work to master the layering.  It will seem a bit frustrating at first, but with continued practice, it gets easier – you just can’t give up.  Here are the big benefits that I have seen so far:

  1. My interproximal contacts have gotten significantly tighter and smoother, with far less flash clean-up at the buccal and lingual margins
  2. I can now make marginal ridges look like marginal ridges
  3. I rarely have to make adjustments to the occlusal surfaces any longer, and if I’ve built nice anatomy, I don’t have to wipe it out with a polishing bur to get the occlusion to fit again – even if doing multiple large posterior composites
  4. I learned how to effectively use opaquing tints in the anterior to block out the darkness of the mouth and make the margins of large composites just disappear, even when right across the mid-facial
  5. I learned how to use white, honey yellow, amber, and violet tints for color effects to match challenging characterization
  6. I learned how to use a putty matrix to build a lingual shelf for large anterior composites that will require practically zero finishing or adjusting

Learn Dental Composite Artistry from a Master

In closing, I will leave you with this case that I did shortly after taking this course.  While it’s not nearly as perfect as those demonstrated by Dr. Smithson on a regular basis on DentalTown or Facebook, it is one of the best anterior composites that I have ever done, requiring 3 different shades of composite, 1 opaquing tint, and 1 color tint.  Before the course, I never even got close to this – now, it is becoming more and more routine, and I feel a greater confidence that I can provide this level of cosmetic dentistry without requiring a top-notch dental lab and porcelain.

Leave a Reply