Posted on December 17, 2018
Although I’m still in my third year of residency of orthodontics, I feel that I’ve had the chance to learn from the best orthodontists, so here is the best advice I have heard so far:
1. The art of the start – “Diagnosis”
In the pre-treatment phase, the groundwork for achieving the desired end-treatment result is a proper diagnosis. Without a proper diagnosis, your treatment plan and technique will be subject to fail. Learn how to take records and how to analyze the result, this will allow you to make a fairly accurate judgement and assessment in many cases. Remember to start with the end in mind.
2. Photography is your best friend
In this day of increased aesthetic demands and emphasis on macro, mini and micro smile aesthetics, photography is a demanded skill.
Learn how to take a good photographs (extraoral & intraoral) – and take them every two to three appointments. It will help you with the diagnosis and monitor the treatment progress. It’s a great way to document every phase of the treatment plan. If the patient gives you permission, you can use their photographs on social media, in the dental press or to show to other patients and of course for your professor.
3. Be an ortho-bookworm
Start to read as many orthodontic textbooks as you can! In your four residency years, you have both time and clear mind to understand and look over different techniques and treatment methods. It’s a good idea to ask your professors for any recommended orthodontic text books to review. This is an effective and fair way to go above and beyond your fellow resident.
You should start by reading Proffit’s textbook. This book is the bible for all orthodontists around the world.
4. Go the extra mile
The saying goes, “Good is the new Average”. Your motto should be, “Perfection is my average”. Master the finishing stages of orthodontic treatment and never settle for less. For example, if you remove fixed braces and there is one tooth that’s not quite right, then don’t even hesitate to correct the problem. Even if that tooth is not that obvious, or the patient begged you to remove the appliances and isn’t concerned about the issue. You should still correct it.
Once, my professor told me that anyone can place brackets on teeth. But, proper orthodontic case finishing can be only done by a well understanding orthodontist. In my opinion, finishing is the only way to separate one practitioner from another.
5. Retention, retention, retention!
The brackets are only temporary, whereas retention is for life. Retention should be a priority, and the patient must understand that the retention phase is an important part of treatment. Without retention, your hard-earned tooth alignment will fail. The key to success is to discuss the retention regimen prior to treatment. Ask your professor about the retention device and regimen that will be using for each case and discuss it with your patient, so the patient will not reach the retention phase and be surprised that they need a retainer!
Thank you for reading my article.