It was a pleasant experience to read Dr Kokich’s editorial in the October 2011 issue of the AJO-DO (Kokich VG. Who determines when orthodontic treatment is complete? Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2011;140:451). As always, Dr Kokich intends to inculcate good manners in our professional etiquette and practice. When we finish our patients to orthodontic ideals or more appropriately to an achievable optimum result, we consider ourselves successful and terminate the treatment on a high note. Often, the small intricate discrepancies are overlooked or unnoticed. The truth is that our mind does not know what our eyes cannot see. To appreciate certain details, we need to explore out of our spectrum of dentistry. In the right connotation, another specialist could be the appropriate person to provide further insight.
I have been in orthodontic practice and teaching for about 7 years. Over these years, I am no different from the average orthodontist who intends to work toward perfection. Sometimes I am successful, but many times I fail, and I understand the limitations. So my decision to end a patient’s treatment has always been driven by my own perceptions. I have neglected many times the suggestions made by other specialists. The common notion is that “who is he or she to dictate the terms for my orthodontic treatment results?” An unduly high opinion of one’s own abilities is a disability in its truest sense.
It is prudent that, when we can share our thoughts and expertise, the result will be improved. We need to be tolerant and thoughtful to explore such levels beyond one’s inhibitions. We learn a lot from this.