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The Internet is an amazing place to spend time. I love watching the interactions and the massive amount of information exchange that takes place every minute of every day. I don’t think many orthodontists recognize how much the world has changed as a result. We orthodontists are so focused on what we perceive as “truth” or “accuracy” or “right” that we believe the world is as we say it is. Nothing could be further from the “truth”. Oh, and there is one more word we orthodontists focus on – MINE.

It’s disturbing and even frightening to watch well intentioned orthodontists allow their fear and even greed eclipse their moral compasses when it comes to orthodontic care delivery channels that are beyond the scope of their traditional practices. Though the hyperbolic claims of orthodontists have had some efficacy in the past, I am certain that at some point in time that is fast approaching, such outlandish defamation of anything outside of what is considered “right” or “fair” by orthodontists will fall on deaf ears… furthermore, our cumulative actions will be recognized for what they are and there will be dire consequences to the profession at large.

If we are unwilling to fulfill our primary duty – the duty of increasing access to care and providing services to as many people as WANT them – then we are abdicating our responsibility AND our authority. Eventually orthodontists will be seen as anticompetitive and anti-access to care. It’s sad to watch. I’m sure most, if not all of you, will disagree but at least recognize this one fact. If a consumer doesn’t have $4000-$8000 to pay for your traditional orthodontic services, what options do they have? How can we orthodontists blame them for seeking treatment elsewhere? How can we be upset about companies and doctors filling a need that we refuse to address? What would YOU do if you were a parent and you couldn’t afford your traditional services?

Do you truly believe that no treatment is better than some form of straightening as you so often post on social media? Would you take the same position if it was that or nothing for your child?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot of late but I saw this billboard yesterday and the future became clear. Don’t get upset, we are bringing this on ourselves.

2 thoughts on “The Future Is All Around Us

  1. Great thoughts Ben. Not sure what the answer is. Do we offer tiered services? Good, better, best? This would require lots of education to help a patient make an informed decision. Would most patients choose good? Margins improve with higher tiered service just like any luxury goods or services. Do you consider chasing only one segment of the population per practice location. Lots to think about here. Theres room for everyone here.

    1. I’d suggest deciding what you will and won’t do and if you refuse to service a given segment of the market then don’t berate others for doing so. We can all do whatever we want in our offices and no two orthodontists agree on anything so we need to keep that in mind when deciding what is and is not malpractice or bad for patients.

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