The AAO Practice Based Research Network Committee (AAO-PBRN) was formed in 2013 to encourage orthodontic research in network settings, especially in the National Dental Practice Based Research Network (National Dental PBRN). The first project to be approved was a study of adult anterior open bite and the AAO began recruiting member participants for the study in 2015.

Dr. Greg Huang, who led the AAO-PBRN, presented information about orthodontists and patients participating in the open-bite study during the 2018 AAO Annual Session.  The descriptive information has now been published as an article, “The National Dental Practice-Based Research Network adult anterior open bite study: A description of the practitioners and patients.” (The Angle Orthodontist, November 2018). 

Scheduled to give the 2019 John Valentine Mershon Lecture, Dr. Huang will present results of the anterior open bite study at the 2019 Annual Session.
Jan. 23, 2019

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by Dr. Trista Felty
One of the biggest assets I have had as I pursued an orthodontic career and started a practice, has been the mentors I have found along the way. My very first mentor was my own orthodontist. He saw my interest in my treatment and took the time to explain the detailed process of orthodontics. He also invited me to his office when I was in high school to learn more about the profession and gave me the first glimpse into my own future career. Through dental school and orthodontic residency, I have been fortunate to find mentors to not only guide and shape me as a student, but with whom I have been able to remain in contact and still rely on for assistance and advice. Here are a few pieces of my own advice on mentorship:
Be proactive. Mentorships do not develop randomly; you have to actively seek out mentors in areas of your life where you feel they would be most beneficial. Most mentors won’t seek out a mentee – they want someone who is interested, takes initiative, and asks for help and guidance. Also, keep in mind that not every person will be a perfect fit to be your mentor. Spend some time seeking out someone who not only has the knowledge you desire, but also is a fit for your personality and needs. Mentorship also varies in terms of time. The mentor you had in dental school may no longer provide the guidance you require while starting a practice, and you should continually evaluate your future plans to see the areas where you may need to develop new mentors. Some mentors may provide guidance in just one specific area and are considered short-term mentors, while others may be able to assist you in various aspects of your life and become a more long-term commitment. 
Mentorship is a two-way street. Don’t expect your mentor to just give you all the answers. Sure, it would be easy for them to give you a quick fix to help you solve a problem; but a mentor should help you cultivate yourself, making you better able to handle the problems and challenges that arise in the future. Yes, it requires time and effort to build a valuable relationship, but the benefits will be well worth it. One of the significant things about mentorship is that both parties benefit from a great relationship. My business partner and I are constantly learning new and useful lessons from each other at the office. While he has years of experience in practice management and the business side of things, I can keep him updated on the newer technologies that are quickly changing the field of orthodontics. 
Find mentors outside of orthodontics too.  We all know that orthodontics is only a small part of what we do every day. Most of us will have to run a practice, supervise staff, plan for retirement, make investments and manage families, just to name a few things. Find areas where you feel you have the most room to grow, and look for a mentor in that field as well. Mentorships can benefit all aspects of our lives, not just our careers, so you may find yourself with multiple mentors at any given time.
Mentorship has been shown to have long lasting benefits, both professionally and personally. Once you have identified an area where you would like mentorship, and have found someone who emulates the values you admire, it is often helpful to talk about the expectations of the relationship in advance. This can range from the amount of communication you will have, if you will meet in person or online, what you intend to get out of the mentorship, the time commitment you are prepared to give, and so on. With technology, mentors can live almost anywhere and still be in touch quickly when needed. As you begin your search for a mentor, consider the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) as a resource. The AAO offers an online mentoring program to help facilitate the formation of these important relationships. The program allows you to search for and refine potential matches with numerous filters such as: areas and topics in which you would like guidance, location, similar practice modalities or treatment philosophies.

To learn more about the AAO Mentoring Program and request to join, visit
Dr. Trista Felty of Abbotsford, British Columbia is a Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists (PCSO) representative to the AAO’s Council on New and Younger Members (CONYM). She can be reached at
Jan. 18, 2019

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Earlier this year, the AAO and eight other dental organizations joined together to contact U.S. Senate leaders in support of the Action for Dental Health Act of 2018 (S. 3016), which would expand access to dental care in underserved, rural and Native American communities. The House of Representatives had previously passed the legislation by a vote of 387-13.
In a December 11 update on the legislation the American Dental Association announced, “A slightly amended version was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and passed in October 2018. The bill was reconciled in time for passage before the 115th session of Congress ends later this month.”

President Trump subsequently signed the bill into law.

The bill will allow organizations to qualify for oral health grants to support activities that improve oral health education and dental disease prevention nationwide among those who are currently underserved. Ultimately, the legislation aims to reduce emergency room visits for dental conditions and would increase access to care for the elderly in nursing homes, as well as the blind and disabled.

Dec. 26, 2018

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In an effort to ensure that well-qualified speakers are not overlooked when Annual Session lecturers are selected, the AAO has launched a new webform for those wishing to be considered as speakers.
The application process is easy and accessible with the new online Application Form. Each year’s Planning Committee begins vetting speakers 18 months in advance of their respective Annual Session, and the program is finalized 12 months in advance. Applications are currently being accepted for the 2020 and 2021 Annual Sessions.
To complete the application, you will need your biography, Curriculum Vitae and list of speaking experiences, if any. Up to two references are encouraged. Please note that completion of the application does not guarantee a speaking opportunity.  Speaker review and selection are at the discretion of each year’s AAO Annual Session Planning Committee.  The AAO Annual Session provides a scholarly and supportive environment for the exchange of ideas. 
In 2018, the AAO’s House of Delegates created the Task Force on Women Orthodontists to explore ways that the AAO can better serve its women members.  One of the task force’s immediate goals is to increase the number of women speaking in the Doctor’s Scientific Program at Annual Session so that the entire program is more reflective of the AAO’s growing female demographic.

All members are eligible to use the speaker application webform. Dates and locations of the 2020 Annual Session and the 2021 Annual Session are included in the application.

Dec. 26, 2018

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Dr. Gary Inman of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, president-elect of the AAO, gave the orthodontic specialty a voice in a major national discussion of oral health in a public health context. Dr. Inman was among about 150 dentists, dental specialists, physicians and public health experts participating in the Surgeon General’s Listening Session on Oral Health, November 26-27 in Washington, D.C.

The Surgeon General of the United States, Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, initiated the listening session. Its purpose was to solicit input for an updated version of a report published in 2000, Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. The original report was the first of its kind.

Dr. Adams and other officials welcomed participants in the meeting.  Acting Division Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mr. Casey Hannan, was the master of ceremonies.

“We all listened to a review presentation on the 2000 report by Dr. Caswell Evans of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, and a presentation on oral health and disease by Dr. Gina Thornton-Evans of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Dr. Inman. “Of course, a lot has changed in the nearly 20 years since the original report was published. The report carried the message that good oral health is essential to good overall health and well-being, but now we have much more advanced research on the relationships between oral health and heart conditions, diabetes, etc. The 2000 Report also recognized the effects of tobacco on oral health and while that is still a problem today, there has been significant improvement due to the decline in tobacco use.”

Participants in the Surgeon General’s Listening Session also attended topical presentations of their choice and shared information and concerns during break-out discussion sessions that were divided according to special interests and areas of expertise of participants. The many additional topics discussed included:

● The use of mouth guards for all contact sports;
● Soda consumption along with sugar and corn syrup and their effect on oral and general health (tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, heart disease);
● How the rate of dental caries has been impacted now that 70 percent of public water supplies in the United States are fluoridated;
● Access to dental care;
● Substance abuse/addiction (alcohol, opioids , methamphetamines);
● Autism;
● Social media;
● Cyber bullying;
● Suicide and depression.

“Among the many facts shared that I found interesting is that oral health problems are among the top reasons that our military services turn people away,” said Dr. Inman.

The AAO Can Be a Key Resource on Oral Health Issues
Dr. Inman was a member of a break-out group that focused on issues pertaining to adolescents age 12-18. His fellow group members included representatives of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, The Children's Oral Health Institute, the University of Florida and University of Maryland schools of dentistry and various public health agencies.

“In addition to high-profile areas of concern for teens such as sugar consumption, obesity and smoking, we discussed other issues such as sleep apnea,” said Dr. Inman. “Several members of my group were intrigued when I discussed the AAO’s upcoming Winter Conference on sleep apnea, and indicated they might try to attend.”

Another topic of concern to participants in the break-out session was the HPV virus and getting out the word to parents about the now-available vaccines.

“My key message as I interacted with other participants throughout the meeting was that the AAO can be a key resource for reaching families with any type of information, given that we are treating 6.5 million patients – about 75 percent of whom are teens,” said Dr. Inman. “I was given many opportunities to share information and found that it was very well-received.

“It will be interesting to see the updated report on oral health that is to be published in 2020,” added Dr. Inman. “The original 2000 Surgeon General Report on Oral Health was 325 pages. I have no doubt that the 2020 Report will be longer and more comprehensive.”

Dec. 26, 2018

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Give your team the opportunity to take advantage of the world-class learning experiences at the 2019 Annual Session, May 3-7 in Los Angeles.

Each AAO Orthodontic Staff Club member will receive a $25 2019 Annual Session registration discount. Club membership dues are $50 per practice, covering an unlimited number of employees. In addition, all orthodontic staff are eligible for a 20 percent registration discount when four or more employees of the same AAO member register by the Early Registration Deadline (April 5, 2019).*

* An Orthodontic Staff Club member is eligible for BOTH of the above discounts.

Staff Hands-on Programs Return for 2019
The always-popular ticketed hands-on sessions will be among continuing education options for orthodontic staff at the 2019 Annual Session.  These limited-attendance programs fill quickly, so register your team soon to ensure they can participate.  Each program listed below will be given the morning of Friday, May 3 and will be repeated in the afternoon:

Dr. Douglas Depew, assisted by: Brittney Bartholomew & Maegan Leon
“Wire Bending for the Orthodontic Assistant”

Mr. Dusty Green, assisted by Ms. Nikki Green:
“Video for Orthodontic Practices”

Ms. Rita Bauer, assisted by Mr. Jeff Comber:
“Patient Photography Made Easy”

● Ms. Cali Kaltschmidt and Dr. Christopher Riolo:
“Hands-on 3D Printing: From the Scanner to your Hand”

● Ms. Barbara Brinker
Advanced Processing of CBCT Images” (presented by Dolphin)

Orthodontic Team Program Examines Specific Topics by Team Function
The Orthodontic Team Program, divided into Administrative and Clinical tracks, will offer attendees expert input on many topics of concern within today’s orthodontic practice.  Lectures will include:
Jackie Shoemaker – “FC and TC Working Together”;
Dr. Leon Klempner and Ms. Amy EpsteinYou are Your Own Worst Enemy: Make Three Changes for Your Practice to Thrive in this New Economy”;
Kayla Hoorelbeke – “Receivables”;
Dr. Barbara Sheller – “You’re Hurting Me! Insights into Pain Perception and Management” and “Oral Habits”;
Shannon Brockway – “New Patient Starts Tracking”;
Jackie Dorst – “OSHA”
Dr. Ann Marie Gorczyca – “Do You See What I See? Recognition, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Dental and Skeletal Malocclusion”
In addition, the 2019 Annual Session Planning Committee integrated portions of the practice management content into a separate track designed for orthodontists and orthodontic practice employees:  Collaborative Concepts for Doctors and Team.

The importance of practice culture will receive intensive focus in the Collaborative Concepts track, particularly in the full-day All Team series. Among the lecturers in the series are Drs. Anil Idicula and Neal Kravitz speaking on "The Love of Orthodontics," Dr. Kyle Fagala presenting "Happiness," and Dr. Cole Johnson, who will present, "The Worth of a Soul:  Bringing Your Best Self to the Office."

View the Complete Lectures Schedule

Dec. 21, 2018

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2019 Annual Session events will include the Excellence in Orthodontics Awards Ceremony featuring Ron Howard as the keynote speaker. The luncheon ceremony will be Sunday, May 5, 12 pm – 2:15 pm at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles, with the Annual Session extending from May 3-7.

A ticket is required to attend the Awards Ceremony (($60 with lunch; $15 to attend the keynote address only).
Register for Annual Session
Already registered?  Click on the Access My Registration tab to add event tickets.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is one of this generation’s most popular directors.  From the critically acclaimed dramas A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13 to the hit comedies Parenthood and Splash and holiday favorite How the Grinch Stole Christmas, he has created some of Hollywood’s most memorable films. His work includes Cinderella Man starring Oscar winner Russell Crowe, for which Howard earned an Oscar for Best Director and which also won awards for Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress.  Many of Howard’s other films have also received nods from the Academy, including the popular hits Backdraft, Parenthood and Cocoon, the last of which took home two Oscars. In 2009, Howard produced and directed the film adaptation of Peter Morgan’s critically acclaimed play Frost / Nixon.  The film was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture.

Howard began his career in film as an actor, first appearing in The Journey and The Music Man, then as Opie on the long-running television series The Andy Griffith Show.  He later starred in the popular series Happy Days and drew favorable reviews for his performances in American Graffiti and The Shootist. Howard and long-time producing partner Brian Grazer co-founded Imagine Entertainment in 1986 to create independently produced feature films.  Howard is currently directing the documentary Pavarotti, about famed tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

Also, plan to attend the following Annual Session events:

Opening Ceremonies, Saturday, May 4, 5 pm – 7 pm
Microsoft Theatre
Featured entertainer:  World Classic Rockers
One complimentary ticket is included with each paid Annual Session registration.

The World Classic Rockers was founded in 1995 by Nick St. Nicholas of Steppenwolf.  St. Nicholas tours with group on an ongoing basis, recruiting very talented musicians to perform with him in high-energy, audience-friendly concerts.
The International Reception*, Saturday, May 4, 8 pm – 10 pm
The Terrace at L.A. LIVE
Sponsored by Rocky Mountain Orthodontics
Ticket required ($50)

Located on the rooftop of the GRAMMY Museum® L.A. LIVE, The Terrace at L.A. LIVE is a modern, outdoor mezzanine offering exceptional views of downtown Los Angeles and the iconic Hollywood sign. The museum pays tribute to all aspects of the American musical heritage.

* Open to all registered attendees who purchase tickets.

Fun Run and Walk, Sunday, May 5, 6:30 am – 7:15 am

(Location to be determined)
Sponsored by Speed System Orthodontics
Ticket required ($25)

AAO Orthodontic Residents Reception, Sunday, May 5, 5 pm – 7 pm
Lucky Strike
Sponsored by American Orthodontics
Free by reserved ticket for residents who are AAO student members. Required guest tickets are available for purchase for $35 each.
AAO Celebration, Sunday, May 5, 7 pm – 9:30 pm
Microsoft Square
Entertainment: Tom Thumb and the Hitchhikers
Ticket required:  $29 for adults and children of ages 4-18. Free for children aged 3 and under.

This event, which formerly took place on the Monday evening of Annual Session, has been moved to Sunday evening to allow those leaving Los Angeles on Monday to attend. AAO member Dr. Patrick Turley performs as the lead singer of Tom Thumb and the Hitchhikers, a popular oldies band in Southern California.

View the complete 2019 Annual Session Special Events and Business Meetings schedule, including educational and networking events and governance meetings.

Dec. 21, 2018

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2018 was an eventful, exciting year for the AAO.  In addition to a new CEO and new strategic plan, there was plenty of positive change seen as a result of the AAO's ongoing advocacy efforts.   2018 also saw the continued success of the AAO's consumer awareness program.  Below is a list of 18 wins the AAO and its members can celebrate in 2018.

  1. At the federal level, the AAO continued to lobby for positive change. As a result of these efforts, the House passed the Medical Device Tax repeal and key elements of RAISE Act.
  2. The AAO's State/Component Legal Support Fund had wins in Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Washington, and Georgia.
  3. The AAOPAC contributed over $605,000 to candidates in the 2018 mid-term elections. 107 of the 141 we contributed to, won...for a 76% total winning percentage.  
  4. There were 5.6 million visitors to the AAO consumer website in 2018, generating more than 64,000 uses of the Find an Orthodontist locator.
  5. A video ad from the AAO’s new “That Feeling When...” social media campaign went viral. The ten-second video was seen over 2.6 million times, generating over 660,000 engagements and driving over 400,000 visitors to the AAO consumer website.
  6.  AAO launched an online Parents Guide to Orthodontics. With nearly 500,000 visitors to the guide, readers spent an average of 14 minutes on the page.  An Adults' Guide to Orthodontics was also recently announced.
  7. The AAO’s Council on Communications partnered with Buzzfeed to produce this video, encouraging consumers to see a real orthodontist.
  8. Lynne Thomas Gordon joined the AAO as CEO.
  9. The 2018 Annual Session in D.C. was a tremendous success with 17,414 attendees.
  10.  A new Annual Session feature for members who were unable to attend allowed them to livestream two lectures from the doctors’ scientific program and earn CE.
  11.  The 2018 AAO/AAPD Joint Winter Conference was the highest attended since 2012.
  12. The AAO adopted a new strategic plan, which includes the AAO’s new mission: to advance our members’ success through education, advocacy and research that drive excellence in patient care.
  13.  Members can now report non-orthodontists advertising as orthodontists.
  14. 72 orthodontic residents were appointed as AAO Resident Champions, serving as liaisons between their peers and the AAO.
  15.  Enhanced websites for AAO members and consumers were launched, featuring a new look and improved functionality.
  16. The AAO launched a “Questions to Consider When Researching Direct-to-Consumer Orthodontic Companies” web page on the consumer site, as well as a flier to download.
  17. The AAO reinstated the Faculty Fellowship Awards to stimulate interest in academic careers among today’s young orthodontists and offset the pending retirement of large numbers of faculty members.
  18. The AAO launched all-new career resources to support members in all stages, including a Career Center platform, Career Path Resources, practice modalities comparison tool and checklists.

While this isn’t all we accomplished in 2018, we are excited to share these brief highlights, and continue supporting the orthodontic specialty in 2019 and beyond.
Dec. 21, 2018

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The AAO Insurance Company has produced the 2018 Annual Session Doctors Risk Management Program DVD and flash drive.

Both items are available for purchase via the AAO Online Store. The DVD price is $50.00 and the flash drive cost is $55.00.
Each AAOIC-insured who views the program and sends in the completed exam will earn a 10 percent premium credit for two years. 
Dec. 18, 2018

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The newly launched AAO Career Center is an online portal for orthodontists seeking practice opportunities and employers wishing to recruit AAO orthodontists, as well as those seeking to sell their practices. Formerly known as Practice Opportunities and Careers, the new portal offers several new and enhanced features.

Visit for free access to search and post available job opportunities, locum tenens, practices and equipment for sale, as well as office space for rent or lease.

  • Search and apply for jobs, practices for sale, locum tenens, and more;
  • Upload your anonymous resume so employers can contact you, but maintain control of your information and choose to whom you release your information;
  • Receive an alert every time a job becomes available that matches your personal profile, skills, interests, and preferred location(s);
  • Access career resources and job searching tips and tools;
  • Receive a free resume review.
Employers and Sellers:
  • Post your opportunities where the most qualified orthodontists will find and apply for them;
  • Choose to remain confidential and conceal your practice information;
  • Email your opportunities directly to AAO job seekers via our exclusive Job Flash email service;
  • Search the resume database and contact qualified candidates proactively.
If you need assistance with this service, call 860-437-5700 or email

Dec. 12, 2018

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