An antidote to orthodontic fantasies

Orthodontic fantasies – just as many other gimmicks of modern-day snake oil salesmen – are continuing to spread. We constantly see people online promising to grow children’s mandibles, avoid extractions at all costs with magical appliances or even treat malocclusions with extravagant tongue exercises. 

Of course, in countries with developed orthodontic infrastructures such nonsense is objected by powerful orthodontic organisations (national societies, orthodontic boards), academia or even advertising authorities. However, developing countries, such as Russia, are left alone to suffer from the insatiable appetite of dental charlatans. And it seems that no-one is in charge of this chaos.

About two years ago, I started doing video reviews of orthodontic textbooks. These silent paperback agents are one of few sources that could resist the utter ignorance of market at the outskirts of orthodontic civilisation. The first video I recorded was dedicated to a wonderful book titled Evidence-Based Orthodontics. Today I want to have a fresh look on the text. I think it is still my favourite orthodontic book.

The book is put together by the efforts of three world-famous academic orthodontists: Greg Huang, Stephen Richmond, and Katherine Vig. The text is comprised of the collection of articles on the ever-popular orthodontic topics: class II, class III, transverse dimension treatment, open bite, retention, self-ligation, root resorption, Invisalign, etc. The authors bring forward all the recent RCTs and systematic reviews on the subjects and discuss the data thoroughly coming with clinically relevant conclusions.

The book was my guide during the first few years in clinical practice and developed my critical thinking a lot. I also had a privilege to invite Prof. Greg Huang as an online guest to my seminar two years ago.

For some reason, my most liked piece in the book is from Lysle Johnston. He philosophises on why it is sometimes so hard for people to accept unambiguous facts. He writes: 

“Imagine, if you will, that NASA tracking station has received a message from infinitely advanced civilisation saying that a robot is about to land at home base in Yankee Stadium. The purpose of this interstellar mission is to end sectarian violence and mistrust by telling us whether God exists, and, if so, which of our religions is the True Faith. Do you think the religious leaders of the world would rush to New York, beatific smiles on their faces, eager to join hands and learn the truth?”

The message is quite clear: everyone in orthodontics is pursuing his or her own agendas. Impartiality has long been forgotten. If orthodontists themselves are neglecting the evidence, who else would care about it? Johnston finishes his article saying: 

“The limitations of evidence-based orthodontics’ decision process are the specialty’s attitude toward evidence. We have met the enemy and he is us.”

I dare to believe that there always be specialists whose attitude toward evidence will stay healthy and critical. For them this book will present a quintessence of orthodontic research data in a rather concise format. 

The modern-day marketing propaganda often affects the most vulnerable – young specialists. In hindsight, it took me at least two years after the residency to separate the wheat from the chaff in the constant flow of orthodontic information. No doubt, if I had read this book earlier, it would have took less.

So if a younger colleague comes to you asking for the help, will you refer one to the course of some snake oil salesman or will hand the person this book? We have found who is in charge. And he is you.

Merry Christmas!

You can buy your copy of the book clicking this link. Please note: this is an affiliate Amazon link. Small bonuses I have from this helps me to support Orthodontic Grammar project, whereas you pay just a regular price and not a dime more.

You may also be interested in my video review of this book:

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