February 23rd, 2016
25 years ago my wife Penny and I moved to Marshall and started its first and only orthodontic practice. Although Marshall was a town of only 6500, it was centrally located and easy to get to and had so many positive attributes, we made it our home. We raised our children here and both graduated from Marshall High School but benefitted from the support of Marshall and the surrounding communities.
During these 25 years, we’ve appreciated the support throughout Calhoun County and we’ve had ample opportunities give back, both with monetary support of causes, providing no-cost treatment through Battle Creek’s Smiles for a Lifetime program, but also in advancing the possibilities of orthodontics to improve health in addition to just aligning teeth. I have been fortunate to spend time with industry leaders, my peers, and some national study clubs (the Schulman Study Group, for example) and I’ve noticed some trends in orthodontics.
One is the trend toward adopting a single philosophy (or “system”) and providing this carte blanche for every patient. While I understand that this “one size fits all” approach is profitable to the orthodontist (lower overhead, smaller inventory, simpler treatment), I am passionate not only about straight teeth, but about the health of the patient. Each of out patients is unique and we design a unique treatment plan for each to address their specific needs.
Another trend is toward elevating the “tools” used to achieve results higher than the diagnosis. This trend began with Invisalign and their national campaign, but has continued with Suresmile, Insignia, Damon, and so on. Through personal investment or as a member of the Clinical Advisory Board for a number of companies, I’m fortunate to have experience with nearly all the tools available (Insignia, Suresmile, Invisalign, Orthocad, Lasers, etc.). In our practice, we strive to first determine the goals of treatment, and then choose the best “tool” to achieve the goals.
A third trend is toward “speed”. We agree that we want your treatment done as soon as possible, but not at the expense of quality. We have adopted tools that allow us to provide both speed and quality. As a member of the Henry Schein Orthodontic Task Force on Orthodontics and Sleep Apnea, I have gained professional knowledge of this disease. As an individual who suffers from sleep apnea, I have personal experience of the day-today lethargy and listlessness that comes when you suffer from it. I have made it a goal to do everything I can to avoid having you or your children suffer these ill effects and it is reflected in my office.
Our Next Gen 3D radiography (we were first in Michigan to offer this), gives me critical information necessary to provide “airway friendly orthodontics” and rule out other possible problems. We evaluate patients as early as age 5 for potential risks of a compromised airway and sleep apnea; then treat to minimize risk, providing better overall health and a great smile for our patients for the best rest of their life… literally and figuratively! We do this because we care.
We are now back in Marshall full time, and here to serve the entire region. We have patients who travel up to sixty miles because they value the individualized care we provide on an everyday basis. Stay tuned to this column in the coming weeks for detailed information on what this all means and how we can help you and the people you love.