By Ashley Mackin
La Jolla oral surgeon Dr. Peter Nordland, DMD, MS, has spent the past 25 years traveling and teaching — and he’s not stopping now.
On Oct. 21, Nordland will depart for India to be the keynote speaker at the Indian Society of Periodontology National Conference. He will also give six smaller talks about his specialties in oral plastic surgery and perform a surgical demonstration for the 1,500 doctors expected to attend.
Norland has had a private practice at 850 Prospect St. since 1989. The year before, he helped form the International Society of Periodontal Plastic Surgeons (ISPPS).
“Because of the international flair of the group, we get a lot of people interested in raising the consciousness and level of care in their area of the world,” he said. Nordland has been the president of ISPPS for the last three years, which was the basis for his invitation to speak in India.
“One of the best things about traveling to another country is getting to understand others’ cultures and realize how different people can be, but also how similar we can be,” he said. This will be his first trip to India, but he has previously traveled to Japan, Holland, England, Italy, Mexico, Canada and Chile for similar teaching opportunities.
He said his keynote presentation would showcase newer technologies in oral surgery, but what he’s most excited about is the demonstration.
“It will be done at the university in Puni. They’ll film the surgery as I’m doing it with a live feed from the surgical center to a larger room,” he said. “The doctors will be able to ask questions while I’m performing the procedure (such as) ‘Why did you make your incision there?’ or ‘Why are you taking bone from that side?’ — questions to figure out the thinking process.
“Having a teaching scenario like this allows doctors to see, rather than try to imagine during a lecture, (what I’m doing) — especially on that small scale.” Though the questioning can be distracting, Nordland said he has enough experience in that environment to know when he needs to finish what he’s doing before he answers and when he can answer right away.
Familiarity with his surgical instruments certainly doesn’t hurt. Nordland developed his own instruments, including a scalpel blade that can be modified mid-surgery if necessary.
Nordland said this trip will be the longest time he has ever been away from his practice, about two weeks.
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