An occasionally irregular blog about orthodontics

An end of year orthodontic blog

By on December 21, 2014 in Personal opinion, Recent posts with 7 Comments
An end of year orthodontic blog

End of year orthodontic blog

I thought that the final blog post of this year should be short but contain a lot of information. I felt that this would be a good idea because it has been a good year for the blog and I wanted to look back on this year.  As many of you know I started the blog in October 2013 and this got off to a slow start but interest increased fairly quickly in the early part of 2014.  Like all people who write a blog, I check with Google Analytics to see how many people are reading the posts and they produce nice graphs for you.  These two show the number of hits per month and the countries that have made the most hits.

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 13.21.38Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 12.44.47










I am pleased to see that interest is remaining high with a slight increase over the last three months. The number of hits is, of course, related to the interest shown in the posts and over the last three months there was a lot of interest in the posts on impacted canines and functional appliances.  Activity went down over the early summer, because I did not post much because I was watching the World Cup.

In terms of other blog related activity.  I publicise the blog through an email subscription which is in the right hand column of the site.   Over 500 people subscribe to this.

Other sites which let people know when posts are published along with other relevant stuff are;

My Facebook page which is here

Evidence based orthodontics Facebook page.

My Twitter which is here Twitter

Linkdin for those who understand it, and I don’t, is here. Linkdin


This years top ten posts

I have decided that it would be a good idea to simply list the most popular posts of 2014 so that you can revisit them and the comments pages and new readers can have a look at them for the first time.  So, in order of number of hits, here are the top 10.  The scientists will now be saying “have you adjusted for time”?  I thought about it but I did not have time because I need to go and wrap my Christmas presents.

Twenty four month braces!

This was a light hearted look at the advertising for fast orthodontic treatment.  This has now been read almost 6,000 times and is probably my most highly read piece of work, including my publications!  This really set the tone for some of the blog posts, but I have never reached these heights again…

New evidence on the treatment of palatally displaced canines

This was a report on a really interesting clinical trial that added evidence to an important clinical problem.  The comments section was very lively on this one.

Self Ligation: Another nail in the coffin?

This was a slightly misunderstood post and I got a fair amount of criticism about this one.  Mostly because of the title.  But the people who were the most critical did not spot the question mark at the end!  They also did not like the skeleton symbol…..Perhaps they need to lighten up a bit and look at the evidence?

Should we stop using cephalometrics in orthodontic research

I did not think that this one would be so popular. I put forward the question on the value of cephs in research and suggested that we should be looking at other more important information derived from patients

Removable functional appliances do not alter the skeletal pattern

This one was very popular in the first day of posting and got hit over a thousand times.  It was based on the results of a recent, well carried out systematic review.

Top ten papers that have influenced me

This again, was a short blog on the papers that influenced my career, most of these were published some time ago and were not necessarily the greatest science but they made me think about orthodontics.  They are still very important pieces of work,

What do we know about Class II treatment?

This was a summary of a Cochrane review that focussed in on the results of randomised trials.  Again this was well received with a fair number of positive and negative comments.  The “mandible growers” did not like it..

A brief guide to removable functional appliance treatment

This was a new departure and I wrote this with my colleague Jonathan Sandler, who is an excellent clinician and teacher.  This allowed me to include more clinical information and case photographs.  I will be doing a few more of these next year, as it was very well received.

The great unanswered questions about orthodontic treatment

A surprisingly successful post.  I just sat down and thought of ten interesting questions and put them forwards.

Short term effects of the Twin Block appliance

This was a review of a systematic review and my interpretation of the data that they presented.

So thanks for following the blog this year. I have enjoyed writing it and the many nice comments that I have received. I have also received a fair number of critical comments and I try to publish them all in the comments section for each posting. So it would be great to keep them coming.

I hope that you continue to read the blog, I have been criticised for my questioning style and not always being positive about papers, but I have tried to provide my interpretation on research and orthodontics and allow you to come to your conclusions about the papers and my individual discussions.  I really want this blog to become more popular, so if you think that it is good, can you spread the word, I hope that it is relevant to anyone who is interested in orthodontics.

So, this is the last post of the year for this “surprisingly successful orthodontic blog”. I hope that you have enjoyed it. Those of you who live and have studied in the UK know that we have a long Christmas holiday  and I will start up again on January 5th.


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  1. Neil Hillyard says:

    As an adult patient undergoing treatment, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts and the subsequent debate amongst the orthodontic community. Twenty four month braces and self ligation have been two particularly interesting articles and I look forward to more in the coming year.

    Seasons greetings and best wishes to you.

    • Kevin O'Brien says:

      Hi Neil, thanks for the comments, it is great that people who are having our treatment are reading the blog. I hope that it makes sense. I was wondering whether I should do a lay summary of each post, so that it would be more understandable to those who are not dentists, but I am struggling for time. Do you think that this would be a good idea?

      Best wishes: Kevin

      • Neil Hillyard says:

        Hi Kevin,

        Apologies for the slightly lengthy reply but I wanted to explain the rationale behind my response to your question. My initial thought was ‘maybe you should’ as it would make the topic more accessible and potentially attract a wider audience to your blog. In my experience, orthodontics is not widely understood and the profession appears to offer conflicting advice to confused potential patients. The line between specialist orthodontists and those offering orthodontic treatment is at risk of becoming blurred and with the use of clever marketing material, it is easy to see how some products are gaining ground in a society that appears to place short term solutions above tried and tested processes. For this reason, making your blog more accessible to a wider audience would help to address any information void and ensure those considering undertaking orthodontic treatment have access to impartial information based on the latest published research.

        However, after considering this for a while, I have veered away from my initial thoughts and would argue that providing a lay summary of each post may not be necessary. Without the benefit of accurate readership demographics (beyond the scope of the already impressive Google analytics suite) I would expect the ‘non-professional’ readership of your blog is largely populated by those both interested in the topic and motivated to explore the subject in more detail. With this motivation and interest, it is relatively easy to explore topics in greater depth or to seek clarification, and armed with this knowledge, find a path through the conflicting advice offered by the dental community. In my experience, your blog has provided a useful signpost to explore topics in more detail and although I do not have access to the majority of the published material, have been able to follow much of the research and subsequent debate without too much difficulty.

        On the assumption that the majority of your readership is comprised of dental professionals, writing a lay summary of published research may leave you open to criticism by having to overly simplify a paper and draw conclusions that may not be sufficiently evidenced (and I’m not suggesting for one moment that you would do this). I would expect that potential patients would seek some straight forward advice such as ‘what is the best retainer to get’ or ‘should I pay extra and get ‘xyz’ self ligating brackets’ and my understanding of some of the research material discussed on your blog is that in many cases, there is insufficient research to provide a definitive answer to these questions. Where research does provide sufficiency of evidence, there is the risk that a lay summary of a paper may be misinterpreted as advice against a particular product which does not come without it’s own complications. I note that very few posts make mention of any product supplier or brand and another risk with making your blog more accessible is that others may seek to draw you into discussions about the merits of one solution above another.

        I would be interested in your views on this topic and also those in the dental community and thank you for offering me the opportunity to reply.


        • Kevin O'Brien says:

          Thanks for the reply and sorry for the delay in replying. I am very much in favour in getting lay input to our research projects and other methods of dissemination. So I have no real worries about lay summaries as these could provide useful information. So I am going to give it a go. My only problem is How to make the lay section on the blog clear and accessible, as I am not a wordpress expert.

  2. Bill Weekes says:

    I think that a section in lay terminology would be a great idea. In obtaining informed patient (parent) consent, I actually outline the orthodontic dilemmas to my patients. I even print out sections of this blog for interested parents so that they can see for themselves how we are debating these issues.

    • Kevin O'Brien says:

      Hi Bill, thanks. I am going to give this ago but my only problem is how to set this out in the blog, I will work on it over the next few weeks.

      Best wishes Kevin

  3. To maintain the excellence of your blog ,I suggest you will have to start charging a small ,yearly fee .I use your blog as a staring point to explore areas that ,I personally ,need to improve ,as a clinician .The blog is invaluable to me and I can’t see it surviving without a financial footing !!

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