Embrace Progress: The Pendulum Swings by Dr. Daniel Grob

Orthotown Magazine 

Dr. Dan Grob’s final column as Orthotown editorial director examines the familiar patterns of change


by Dr. Daniel Grob, DDS, MS, editorial director


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 good examples.

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 probably will!)

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. Imagine that!

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 growth issues.

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!


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