The thought-provoking column by Dr Peter Greco in the November issue of the AJO-DO couldn’t have been better timed! It had us trying to reflect on the few decennia of advancements and innovations in orthodontics that have helped define our specialty as it is today. On a clinical note, although these innovations might undoubtedly have revolutionized the way we practice orthodontics (in terms of increased efficiency and productivity), they have also taken some of the excitement (patient-personalized wire-bending) from our specialty by a great degree.
Direct marketing and outsourcing seem to be the new mantras in our specialty. The aggressive marketing of novel appliances and techniques by the industry is influencing the clinician to increasingly outsource important aspects of treatment. In addition, commercialism seems to be slowly becoming a primary driver for the selection of appliances for our patients. This kind of inexorable advertising by the orthodontic industry definitely tends to dilute the impact of evidence-based approaches that our fraternity espouses.
As clinicians and researchers, we are moving at a pace faster than ever before, steered by the winds of evidence-based studies through the as-yet uncharted seas of orthodontic research. We are now better aware that cutting edge technology is not always a panacea for all our problems. In this day and age, when “working brackets and intelligent archwires” are being touted by manufacturers as ready remedies for all of our patients’ problems, we still have at our disposal the ultimate tool to counter such open promotions: randomized controlled trials.
Be it to impress our patients or to convince ourselves to remain up to date, in our overzealous drive to provide our patients the best possible treatment, we are at times encouraged to blindly prefer technology over scientifically validated and time-tested approaches. In this continuing struggle between science and commercialism, who will lay the ultimate claim to victory? Only time will tell!