Click here to download a PDF of this article, including The Hot Seat questions and answers.

Over the course of my training, I've been taught by many wonderful educators--gifted, giving individuals who piqued my curiosity, challenged my thinking, and most of all gave me a lifelong love of learning. One of the greatest influences in my professional career is Dr. J. Daniel Subtelny, who has been Chairman of the University of Rochester Eastman Dental Center's orthodontic program since he created it in 1955.

At the core of Dr. Subtelny's program when I was at Eastman were his intensely probing "Hot Seat" sessions. In each seminar, an orthodontic resident was assigned a patient and asked to present everything about that individual over the course of five or six weeks, every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to noon. Imagine 20-24 hours of case presentation on one patient! We started with embryogenesis and progressed through non-nutritive sucking patterns of the fetus, any and all parafunctional habits, nutritional considerations, and every phase of growth and development. The actual treatment plan would be proffered by the beaten and humbled resident around hour 15 or 16. In Dr. Subtelny's Socratic method, every question was answered by another question until utter exhaustion settled in. But guess what? We knew our stuff. Hundreds and hundreds of residents over the years have passed through his refiner's fire and come out better, wiser, and humbler.

That brings us to JCO's newest feature, The Hot Seat--named after Dr. Subtelny's program. Since my days of studying general surgery, I've continued to receive several professional journals from that field, all of which I still enjoy. One such publication, General Surgery News, has a department that I always look forward to reading, called "On the Spot". Using that model as an inspiration, The Hot Seat will feature some of the best clinicians and educators in our specialty. Each installment will be based on a single, often controversial topic and will have a new set of contributors. The challenge to each respondent is to be brief, sometimes pithy. And just as in the General Surgery News column, I'll add a few summary remarks at the bottom of each question. Your suggestions for future topics are welcome. And if you'd like to be considered as a contributor, please e-mail me at


Dr. Graham is a Contributing Editor of the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics and an Adjunct Associate Professor for Clinical Orthodontics, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, University of the Pacific, San Francisco, and Department of Orthodontics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY. He is in the private practice of orthodontics in Litchfield Park, AZ, and Salt Lake City; e-mail:

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