The path I took on my journey as a student of Orthotropics is well-trodden with my teachers the Mews and Bill Hang lighting and guiding the way forward. However, as dentists who venture into the land of early intervention orthodontics, we all seem to travel the same stretch of road. I suspect our experiences and lives play out with many similarities.
We walk along winding path, seemingly on our own, in isolated loneliness.
Many of us begin because we aren’t happy with how our children finish their treatments. We are unhappy as we have the underlying feeling, there should be "more". We are told though by those in the know; "That’s all there is folks. The hand you are dealt with is what you have to play with."
Hence we live in despondence.
So when an outlier claims, they have "more", our interests perk. We stop, we listen, we watch and we are intrigued. We think; "Well it certainly looks like they are doing "more"! What if there is more?"
We look around and see the gathering of some of our peers. Like-minded, kindred spirits. Other dentists unfulfilled and looking for more. And we join these groups and immerse in the wonder of another way.
These teachers orate. They reveal the secrets of their discoveries. They fascinate. They show success.
They encourage participation.
And thus drawn are we. And in we follow. And we find purpose.
Enthusiasms that we did not even know was within us and passions that ignite a new beginning.
Yet each and every one of us, within a blink of time, looks around and realise we are again alone.
We start many cases but finish so few the ways we envisaged we would. The children whose faces continue to fall and fade from the ideal we promised haunts us. Questions arise and are sort from and by us but the answers remain elusive.
We have all lived this. Yet I found fortune as on my way, I encountered another journeyman.
Dr Sandra Kahn was like no one who was part of my normal sphere of life. A seasoned and accomplished Orthodontist based in a different country, living a different life, yet a traveller on the very same road, tracking on exactly the same path.
At the point, I met Sandra I had already begun to develop my own methodology of care. It seemed I was already achieving a level of consistency in my treatment outcomes that should have created confidence but by nature, I am one always plagued by doubt. Immobilized by indecision and so locked in self-isolation.