On reading

A friend of mine, a Moscow-based maxillofacial surgeon, once had a playful sticker on the bonnet of his laptop, it went: ‘Reading is sexy’. No doubt, reading is an excitement, a pleasure and often provides long-awaitied answers for troublesome questions. However, as with any pleasurable activities reading requires some protective measures…

André Kertesz, from ‘On Reading’ series

I was twice affected by unsafe reading. Firstly, in my very early twenties by reading modern French philosophers: it took me a couple of years to realize that they all were irrevocably mad. Secondly, aged 24-25 while at my orthodontic residency in Moscow I was trying to go trough Russian translations of orthodontic textbooks. I am still not sure who sounds more insane: Jacques Derrida or Bill Proffit in Cyrillic…

Anyway, both of these experiences were a complete waste of time. Moreover, in the case with orthodontic translations this could have even become potentially dangerous for others. I clearly remember the moment when five years ago I decided to stop once and for all reading any orthodontic texts in Russian.

Of course, it is naive to think that English language literature on orthodontics doesn’t contain nonsense. There are plenty of dubious orthodontic reads in English. Fortunately, some protective measures are also at hand.

High quality journals

I first came across good orthodontic journals in 2015 when I went to London to the 8th International Orthodontic Congress. I remember how I went utterly spellbound before the AJO-DO stand. I then took as much journals as I could afford carrying and had been scrutinizing them for the next several months at home. Soon after, I found other orthodontic journals. Many of them also turned to be of high quality.

The most pragmatic approach to assess the quality of a journal is simply to check how many research papers have been published in it. This scheme by Bill Shaw can help you with this task:

Screen Shot 2019-08-18 at 23.29.19.png

This shows the number of RCTs published annually from 1979 to 2009 in four major orthodontic journals:

AJO-DO: American Journal of Orthodontics

ANGLE: The Angle Orthodontist

(B)JO: The Journal of Orthodontics

EJO: European Orthodontic Journal

Unfortunately, we don’t have further statistics, but you can have some impression even from this slightly outdated graph.

Most of the journals listed above are mainly academic reads. For more clinical content I can recommend Journal of Clinical Orthodontics. And if you are a young specialist with limited budget please note that the Angle and another good journal, Progress in Orthodontics, are the only journals that are free of charge.


I love books over journals. They are the source of deepest enjoyment. They often contain more structured knowledge and are more practical. Personally, I like books that are dedicated to some particular orthodontic issue and provide a narrow-focused guidance. I also like books that are written by one or two authors. This makes them cohesive and more interesting to read.

Recently, I have started my YouTube channel dedicated to orthodontic books. I plan to publish reviews once a week. I think that the dissemination of good orthodontic literature today is a vital necessity. We have too much nonsense splashing around in our digital world of instant audio-visual gratification. Isn’t it a perfect time to fight back with good old paperback folios?

Support me

I would be grateful if you will support my channel. At the moment, I am recording videos with the same camera I use for my clinical photos. Buying another camera, some lightening equipment and a new mic would greatly benefit the process. You can donate any sum by going through the link:


I wish you safe reads and stable results! Thank you.


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