Trends are an interesting phenomenon. There are trends in every aspect of our lives. In fashion we have some very strange trends that have come and gone through the years; ranging from the poodle skirts of the 1950’s, big hair and bright neon clothing of the 1980’s (which interestingly enough is making a comeback), flannel of the 1990’s, to the yoga pants and Ugg boots of today. Looking back, trends seem pretty silly. No child of today would look at bell-bottom jeans that were popular in the 1970’s and think: “Hey, those are cool I want a pair of those.” Just like our parents hear Nicki Minaj on the radio and rarely think: “That lady has talent, I wish she were around when I was younger.”
Orthodontists are no less susceptible to trends. The decision as to whether to extract teeth or not has been one of the largest trends in orthodontics. The father of modern orthodontics, Edward Angle, preached that nobody should have teeth extracted during orthodontic treatment. This was the typical way to treat patients until one of his students, Charles Tweed, published a landmark paper in the 1960’s showing that the extraction of four premolars is very often the best way to treat patients. His paper, and the “Tweed” philosophy, caused a major trend where approximately 80% of patients had four teeth removed during treatment in the late 1960’s and 70’s. In the 1980’s, expanders started to become popular so the idea that almost everyone can be treated without extractions then became popular. The trend of removing teeth during treatment went from 80% to well under 20%, by any definition that is a MAJOR change. Today, the removal of teeth is done somewhere around 20% of patients in most orthodontic practices.
Another trend that we have seen is the use of self-ligating brackets (such as the Damon system). The people marketing these brackets claim that they decrease treatment time, cause less discomfort, and are more hygienic. For the most part, these claims have not been supported by the research (with the exception of the hygiene claim: these brackets are slightly easier to keep clean compared to regular brackets). Damon, and Damon-like, brackets are easier for us to use because they use a sliding door instead of a colored rubber band that holds the wire in place. It is much quicker to close the door than to wrap a rubber band around the bracket.
Lastly, Internet trends are the most entertaining of all. Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram are just a few of the websites that were, or currently are, trendy. Viral videos on Youtube, most recently the “Harlem Shake,” make national newsweekly. Speaking of the Harlem Shake, take the time to visit our Youtube page and view each office’s Harlem Shake video (www.youtube.com/tdrortho). After you have watched the videos visit our Facebook page and vote for which video you think is best (www.facebook.com/tdrortho).
We hope that you will make a trend of reading our blog, visiting and interacting on our Facebook page, and sending all of your friends to our offices for their orthodontic needs!