The last couple weeks have been more interesting than usual. I attended the SAO in New Orleans – the first time I’d been to an AAO constituency meeting in a while – and was shocked by what I saw. Not only were the exhibit hall and lecture rooms virtually devoid of doctors, but the SAO had an honest to god MEAW “expert” extolling the virtues of this antiquated and medieval orthodontic appliance. I said something about what I witnessed on my personal Facebook page .
Along with tons of messages from vendors and orthodontists alike confirming that they had the same experience, I incurred the ire of an orthodontosaur who was highly offended by me saying anything negative about “his city” and “his constituency” (which is ironic given that his practice is in Baton Rouge and that I’m an SAO member as well…). We had a spirited/entertaining debate about many aspects of my post during which I mentioned that even if the MEAW technique worked well, it is pure insanity to use that thing on a patient when other, less obtrusive and more easily operated orthodontic force systems are available. My new friend was having none of it. Anyhow, much hilarity followed and you can check that out for yourself as the post is public on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bgburris)
About a week later I was scrolling along and came across a video of several HSO KOLs discussing the Carriere Motion Appliance and all the awesome, magical things it can do. I vomited in my mouth a bit while watching and listening to the outlandish claims being made then posted my thoughts on the matter on my personal Facebook page.
This elicited explanatory and defensive comments from Ted Dreifuss, the General manager at Henry Schein Orthodontics as well as Luis Carriere. Their comments, the questions that I and others asked and their desperate attempts to avoid the questions while praising the Carriere Motion Device are must read FB. Again this is a public post on my personal page so it’s available to all.
Here are a few of my favorite bits for those who don’t feel like finding my page and scrolling down to the post:
First Ted jumped in with the party line and I followed up with a few, very reasonable questions for him. SPOILER ALERT – don’t waste your time looking for Ted to answer these questions as he avoided them during the entire episode.
Then Luis jumped in and things got even better. Curves, Mother Nature, crystals, magic herbs… you can’t make this shit up (well, I guess you can).
Then Luis posted a video of a young couple frolicking in the woods as proof of his appliance’s efficacy and proceed to say that I was just about money while he was about patients. HA! This made me laugh out loud that someone who’s name is on an unnecessary appliance that he hocks relentlessly would say that he’s more about patient wellbeing than anyone! I’ve been accused of a lot of things but this is a first.
Then Ted chimed in again:
But then the best thing that’s ever happened to me in terms of calling out corporate BS happened. Ted posted some photos of a packed “HSO meeting” in response to the assertions (aka fact) that HSO meetings are notoriously under attended. They looked impressive – that is until one of our European colleagues pointed out that this was not an HSO meeting at all! A fact that can be clearly seen by the logo on the wall next to the screen. When called on this, Ted said nothing else. Not. One. Word. Leaving us to wonder… if he will post photos of someone else’s meeting claiming that it is an HSO event and that all those people are there to learn about the Carriere Motion Appliance, what else is he willing to do to get what he wants?
So what’s the point of all this? A few things.
First, if you have multiple options for devices that can perform a task, why not use the one that is most comfortable, most efficient, least expensive and most effective? In case you’re wondering, I just described regular old braces or possibly clear aligners (aligners have properties that braces do not as well as desirability). Using additional appliances that do no more than braces but cost more, require extra time fabricating and/or fitting them and don’t have magical properties only raises your overhead. Just because the cool kids use the cool appliances doesn’t mean it is a good idea.
Second, QUESTION EVERYTHING! Don’t take anyone at their word – orthodontist or vendor. If someone makes claims, ask them to show you. Go visit their office and see serial cases that walk in on a day when they didn’t know anyone was coming – that’s the only way to see what someone truly does and the results they actually get. Anyone can pull off a good looking case now and again and show it on the big screen. BUT SHOWING A FEW CASES THAT LOOK GOOD DOESN’T MEAN SHIT!
Think for yourself. What we do is relatively easy and straight forward. It is as simple as it appears most of the time so don’t overthink or overcomplicate it. It’s a great time to be an orthodontist, more people than ever want your services, all you have to do is figure out how to give them what they want in the way they want and at a price they can afford. Cutting out a bunch of time and money wasting appliances is a great place to start down that road.
There’s an old saying about trying to make something look better than it really is – “You can’t polish a turd”… but based on recent events it appears you can schein one.