Voice in the Arena: A New Orthotown Journey—Behind the Curtain by Dr. Chad Foster

Categories: Orthodontics;
Voice in the Arena: A New Orthotown Journey: Behind the Curtain 

by Chad Foster, DDS, MS, editorial director

As orthodontists, we are lucky to live in a time where shared learning with colleagues is so freely and easily accessible. At the same time, I think we can also acknowledge that the discussions, advice, cases and pearls shared are not immune to the “social media effect.” Much of the content that is shared tends to be—consciously or unconsciously, and not necessarily with ill intent—crafted, just like everything else on social media.

People naturally want to present a socially desirable, positive self-image when they’re “putting themselves out there” online. This projected image often comes to narrowly define, and sometimes constrain, the depth of our relationships with one another within the accepted social fabric of online interactions. But we are not a one-dimensional quilt of the words and works we post online. One particularly negative impact of the “social media effect” is the normalization of the idea that real struggles don’t exist.

I’d like to introduce a recurring piece for Orthotown called “Behind the Curtain.” In these columns, and in their own words, some of the most well-known orthodontists will share stories of personal or professional struggles they have managed, or continue to manage, during their journey in orthodontics. We all experience personal and professional challenges, and my hope is that the columns provide some relevance, humor, vulnerability and inspiration to orthodontists facing their own varied daily challenges.

These stories are not, “Here’s how I triumphed over tough circumstances to become even more flawless and amazing.” They are stories of real struggles that highlight our own unique imperfections and lessons learned—challenges that are not simply conquered in outright victory but rather managed in the journey of small wins and losses that is life.

I hope it is some of the most real and raw orthodontist-to-orthodontist content in print or post. At least that is the intent, so let’s see how it goes! We start off with one of my own stories. I hope you enjoy.

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