Dr. Dan Grob’s final column as Orthotown editorial director examines the familiar patterns of change
Regardless of the topic—parenting,
politics, orthodontics—we’ve all heard it
before: What goes around comes around.
Or, put another way, the pendulum swings
back toward the middle after going “too
far” to one side or the other. Just over the
past couple of years, we’ve seen some really
Parents have probably heard their
children condemn them for “not knowing
anything,” not caring or being out of step
with reality. Shortly thereafter, those kids
are back—asking for advice, respecting your
opinion and sometimes even “bragging”
about you as being a terrific parent. (Trust
me if this hasn’t happened to you yet—it
I’ve tried to stay out of politics in this
column—and trust me, it’s difficult!—but
how often have we heard pundits tell us that
such-and-such of a political party will never
be able to get elected again or push through
their agenda, only to see overwhelming
support for the opposition next time around?
Sometimes in as little as two or less years.
Orthodontic industry examples
Insurance and dentistry has been a
good example. When first introduced to
the professions, we were encouraged to
distance ourselves from insurance plans
and companies. Then we were told how to
maximize insurance benefits and build our
business model around third-party payers.
Now there are courses that teach how to
create your own insurance plans in-house.
Patient referrals to the orthodontist
have seen some oscillation in mindset as
well. For the longest time, we depended
on referring doctors. Then, social media
made it easier to get referrals on our own
and for many—including myself—it was
so stress-free to treat patients without
having to interface with those “pesky” general dentists who just came back from
an occlusion, TMJ or sleep course. But let
me pose the question: Is there any referral
as likely to start without much hesitation
than a doctor referral made to your practice
for your expert care?
Extraction of teeth is probably orthodontics’
greatest example of a pendulum
swing. We’re currently living—or reliving,
depending on your age bracket—through a
period of time in our 100-year-old specialty
where the majority of orthodontists are
reluctant to remove permanent teeth to
shape a smile. Part of that decision is due
to beliefs that, too, have appeared and
disappeared during the past years, including
TMJ, myofunctional therapy and other
Two of my favorite pendulum examples:
Invisalign makes stickers so others can see a
patient is wearing clear aligners—defeating
the purpose of clear aligners!—and Amazon
has just opened a bookstore and four-star
store in my local mall. Both companies were
disrupters, causing much agony among the
disrupted and making us conclude that
we’d been beaten at their game—only to
see that the premise for their disruption
gradually turned a 180 after sufficient
market share had been peeled off.
Handing over the reins
Now, just like the past hundred years,
it’s time for Orthotown to offer a new
perspective. After six years of waxing and
waning about this and that, it’s time for the
editorial director—me—to put my cases
where my heart is.
In the upcoming years, I wish to
document and publish as much about
early orthodontic care as I am able. Being
involved with a pediatric practice and being
in partnership with a pediatric dentist who
appreciates my thought and desire to share
with fellow dentists helped me to make this
decision. With the success of my late-life
practice venture focusing on early treatment
with a few moms and dads thrown in, I have
elected to pass the torch to a young, highly
successful and energetic orthodontist.
Dr. Chad Foster will own the title of
editorial director and the byline for the
next monthly column, scheduled to appear
in the April issue. Dr. Foster brings with
him a wealth of knowledge about modern
orthodontic care and a perspective our
readers will be sure to appreciate.
Farran Media willing, it will not be that
easy to forget me! As I just stated, I would
“ Two of my favorite pendulum examples:
Invisalign now makes stickies so others
can see a patient is wearing aligners, and
Amazon has just opened a bookstore and
four-star store in my local mall.”
like to get an article or CE course into the
magazine every so often so that you and
the world may keep up with my progress.
My sincere thanks to Orthotown founder
Dr. Howard Farran, Farran Media president
Lorie Xelowski, and Sam Mittelsteadt, Kyle
Patton and Arselia Gales of the editorial staff,
as well as all the graphics and sales support
behind me that has kept this magazine
strong during good and turbulent times.
Thanks also to the readers for their support
and comments during the past six years.
The future is bright!