Waiting for the litmus test?

When I read the title of the August editorial, “Pitching speed,” I grew curious and swiftly got into action reading the content. To be honest, from the outset, I was skipping lines here, paragraphs there, all just to read the editorial quickly, as if I had some other task to attend to that reminded me that my clock was ticking. In other words, I was speed reading. We are, in fact, soaking in a culture of speed. We live in a world stuck in fast-forward mode. A world obsessed with speed, with doing everything faster, with cramming more and more into less and less time. Every moment of the day feels like a race against the clock. And even things that are by their very nature slow, we try to speed them up, too. Orthodontic treatment is no exception. I commend Dr Rolf G. Behrents, our new Editor-in-Chief of the AJO-DO , for his sincere effort to highlight the focal point of the pitching of speed claims in orthodontic treatment.

As an orthodontic teacher, I share Dr Behrents’ views about contemporary clinical concepts in orthodontics and fanciful claims regarding accelerated orthodontics. Often, I am hard pressed to respond to my postgraduate students regarding the quest for faster-working orthodontic mechanotherapy. The present generation is in a maximum speed mode and demands instant gratification. Technology cranks up the pressure and attempts to do everything faster. On many fronts, it is true that “time is money,” as Benjamin Franklin said. According to the business world, earning more time is equal to earning more money. Hence, faster orthodontic treatment is linked to reduced treatment time and thus earns more time for the treatment of another case. More precisely, if speedy orthodontics equals reduced treatment time, and reduced treatment time equals more money, then speedy orthodontics must equal more money. This notion may or may not be true, as we do not yet have sufficient evidence. Orthodontic educators have a significant role in helping budding clinicians not to fall prey to the world of consumerism and unreasonable concepts that pervade clinical orthodontic practice—for example, assuring the patient that the treatment will be completed in 8 months’ time. At the same time, we have a much greater responsibility to search for adequate evidence for the benefit of accelerated treatment—the “speed” mantra. The existing biological concepts that underlie fundamental theories and evidence-based treatment dictate that orthodontic treatment needs to slow down at the right moments as part of qualitative care. However, science has no boundaries, and we always attempt to calculate the incalculable. As a priority, we need to put the perspective of speed in orthodontics to a litmus test. Until then, we practice “good mechanotherapy habits.”

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Apr 6, 2017 | Posted by in Orthodontics | Comments Off on Waiting for the litmus test?
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