“Round tripping the teeth is bad!”

Every orthodontic resident has heard this phrase 1000 times and has probably repeated it at least as many as an orthodontist. But what is the basis for this “truth”? As far as I can tell this round tripping theory arose about the same time as the theory of orthodontic anchorage and there is ZERO evidence to back up this foundational orthodontic philosophy. I’d love to hear differently if you know something I don’t. I’m actually ashamed it takes me so long to root out these so called facts for what they really are. I assume the difficulty in recognition arises because we all take for granted certain things based on our education, associations and consensus. These planks of the orthodontic platform are so fundamental that we can’t even see them as up for debate as it’s crazy to question what everyone agrees is true.

But shouldn’t we all be doing exactly that?

Don’t we owe it to our patients and ourselves to be sure that we are doing the best we can? Isn’t it strange that we say, “round tripping teeth is bad” while using clear aligners, nay, claiming clear aligners as the sole purview of orthodontists? To be clear, what I’m saying is that the orthodontists I know who are most effective in using clear aligners almost all advise that when sequencing tooth movement it’s important to complete all labial tooth movement before attempting any lingual movement. How do we align this practice with the theory of round tripping being a bad thing? Why do we hold on to antiquated ideas/theories as fact when there is zero evidence to support them AND our clinical practice doesn’t align with them? Even more importantly…

Why haven’t we asked ourselves these questions before and why do we get so upset when someone dares to ask?

2 thoughts on “Round Trippin!

  1. Hi Ben, When I use Invisalign, I actually request round-tripping to occur in certain situations, especially for difficult rotations. In that sense, it gives me the most efficient outcome. Because my other choice is to possibly have to do a refinement and I personally prefer to avoid refinements like the plague. Long story short, I don’t necessarily look at round tripping as bad, but I do try to minimize it.

    1. I think most serious clear aligner users would agree and this is why it’s funny that the round tripping terminology and theory are still so prevalent and accepted. The fact that we try and avoid it is testament to that! Thanks for the comments.

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