Why a blog now?
This is the first post on my new Blog and I hope that it will set the scene for the future. Why am I starting to do this now? I am about to finish my term as Chair of the General Dental Council and return to my Orthodontic post full time, so I will have time to spend on this project. I also feel that there is a need to present and discuss information and matters that are important to orthodontics and dentistry in an easy to access and open way.
The areas that I intend to cover will include critical reviews of clinical publications as they are published, updates on recent conferences, discussions of issues facing orthodontics, the regulation of dentistry and pretty much anything that is relevant.
I think that a good point to start is to very briefly describe the current state of orthodontics. I feel that we are at an important point in the further development of our specialty and particularly our evidence base. Over the past ten years there has been a marked increase in the number of high quality prospective trials that have been published. They have provided clear evidence on the effectiveness of our treatment and delivery of care. However, at the same time there has been greater changes to practice that occurred because of the effect of statements of so-called “gurus” and advertising. Orthodontists have accepted many of these claims and we have to consider if we are losing our way as an evidenced based specialty?
This situation has been compounded by the development of techniques that not only promise to enable us to make treatment quicker but these can be done by general dentals with training obtained from one day at a course! Will these claims stand up to scientific scrutiny and who will carry out the research?.
This brings me to my last point. Like many other specialties orthodontics has suffered from a dearth of academic researchers. While this is being addressed in the UK by the appointment of National Institute of Health Research Fellows, this is going to be slow process, but I have great hope for this scheme. However, we need to consider how we are going to address this problem on a Worldwide basis?
I will return to these themes as this blog gets going over the next few weeks, particularly when I finish as GDC Chair on 30th September and I need something to do now that my involvement with regulation and all that it brings will end. All you need to do help is to subscribe and watch this space!
Emeritus Professor of Orthodontics, University of Manchester, UK.