The hometown newspaper of Congressman John Garamendi reports that the student loan bill (H.R. 4001) that he introduced in the House of Representatives in October is awaiting action by a Congressional committee.

During 2017, AAO leaders and legislative counsel led dental organizations that worked closely with Rep. Garamendi on the bill. The legislator introduced the Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculating Act with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. Congressman Garamendi is a Democrat and Congressman Fitzpatrick is a Republican, so the bill had immediate bi-partisan support.

The Reporter News of Solano County, California, which includes Congressman Garamendi’s district, published updates on the legislation on February 20.  The article, “Congressman John Garamendi’s bill to ease student loan debt awaits committee action,” reports that the committee responsible for the bill is headed by Representatives Virginia Foxx, Republican-North Carolina and Robert Scott, Democrat-Virginia.  The AAO is listed in the article among organizations supporting the legislation.

The House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee must review the bill and prepare a favorable or unfavorable report on it. If it is reported favorably, the Rules Committee would determine when the full House will hear the bill.*

Three orthodontic residents who are AAO members met recently with Congresswoman Foxx to discuss the bill and student debt issues faced by orthodontists. Their meeting with Congresswoman Foxx was arranged by the AAO’s legal counsel.

Key features of H.R. 4001 include:
  • Allowing borrowers to refinance their student loan interest rates to the 10-year Treasury note rate, plus one percent, throughout the lifetime of the loan.
  • Eliminating origination fees and instead setting future student loan interest rates at the 10-year Treasury note rate, plus one percent.
  •  Delaying student loan interest rate accrual for many low- and middle-income borrowers while they are in school.
  • Allowing borrowers in medical or dental residencies to defer payments until the completion of their programs.
Learn More about HR 4001
* “U.S. House of Representatives, Wikipedia
Feb. 26, 2018

(2) Comments

Questions? Call 800-424-2841 or e-mail
by Dr. Rob Taylor

Last week I returned from the Midwinter AAO conference in Arizona where I must confess it was an uncomfortably warm 85 degrees :).  The educational conference was preceded by the 1-day annual AAO leadership conference.
Attending these conferences was a nice reminder of just how blessed we are to be orthodontists!  More importantly, it reminded me how important it is to get together with old friends and colleagues.  It may have cost me a few bucks not being in my office, but it was worth every penny seeing old friends!  Finally, it was a good reminder of how great the AAO organization is and what it is doing to advocate for our profession.  I feel a great responsibility to convey this message to membership.
It is critical to remember that the AAO is a membership organization.  It is an advocacy organization.  Its primary purpose is to advocate for the benefit of you as a practicing, real-life orthodontist.  Currently, there are some significant forces and issues affecting the orthodontic world.  Some of these forces--if left unchallenged--could dramatically and negatively alter the basic fabric of our profession and leave us wondering how it all happened???
Direct-to-consumer advertising, do-it--yourself/tele-orthodontics, unregulated advertising and providers, student-loan debt, taxes, and  flexible spending accounts are some of the major issues that have changed, are changing, or have the potential to change.
On a daily basis, whether you think about it or not, the AAO is digging in and fighting for YOUR best interest regarding these issues.  As a reminder, we each save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each year thanks to the moratorium of the 2.3% medical device tax fought for by the AAO.  Flexible spending accounts too were and are under pressure of change.  Think how dramatically your practice would change if FSA's were reduced? … or increased?  Both are potential options in the future and it is nice to know the AAO is fighting for our cause.   Student loan debt too is a serious concern for the AAO leadership, and they are advocating to lessen the burden for future orthodontists.
The biggest concern of many members in recent years has been the goal to educate (and warn) the public regarding the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist.  The Consumer Awareness Program (CAP) is changing gears in a very positive way and they are seeing dramatic improvements in the effectiveness.  If you haven't seen some of the recent creative ads they have published, take some time and check them out.  Here is one that they posted to Buzzfeed and now the link on facebook alone has over 1.9 million views:
I encourage you to share this link and others on your own office sites.
When I personally login to the AAO member site, it shows that my name has been provided to about 400 people in the last seven months on the orthodontist locator site.  If only one of those people started treatment, it is worth the annual CAP assessment.
Do-it-yourself/teleorthodontics in the form of companies like Smile Direct Club is currently a big concern for many.  Personally, I am not overly concerned that this will significantly alter our practice success in the next several years.  Orthodontists treat about 3 million people in the US annually.  There are 300 million Americans.  How many of those non patients would like a quick fix and don't want to deal with an orthodontist--probably a decent number.  But I don't feel it is going to be a large percent of our current patients.  I think it is mostly a different patient pool.  Even if they do take some of our current patients, they do create an increased general awareness and increase the size of the entire orthodontic pie.  In addition, some of those do-it-yourself cases will end up a mess and will eventually find themselves asking for our help.  I am currently treating a patient who had this experience.  She showed up in my office with a 3 mm posterior open bite and was quick to sign up for legitimate treatment.  While I don't believe the current do-it-yourself model will dramatically alter our practices and patient safety, I am concerned about the future and how it can significantly alter the landscape.  The only way we will even have a voice in shaping the future is a collective one.  Individually, we can do very little, but together we can have a powerful voice.
The AAO recognizes the potential harm these companies pose on unsuspecting patients and the legal team currently has filed complaints in 36 states.  What will come of it?  Not sure yet, but we have a dog in the fight thanks to the AAO.
The final point I want to make is the access the AAO provides for continuing education.  It is nice to be part of online study clubs or watch CE from our living room in nothing but our birthday suit if we want.  However, there is something invigorating, something energizing about organized conferences.  Getting together with people who share our common interests and goals and learning from each other is simply invigorating.  It makes us want to do more, to be better and reminds us why we love this profession.  The perfect mixture of science and art, orthodontics is a phenomenal profession.  That is why it was recently rated the #1 job (for you millennials, that is not a hashtag) in the U.S.
May we move forward together always remembering to give back to this wonderful profession and retain the collective voice we have as an organization by supporting the AAO.

Dr. Taylor is the president of the Utah Association of Orthodontists. This message originally appeared in an email to Utah members on February 23, 2018, and was re-published to all AAO members with permission from Dr. Taylor.
Feb. 23, 2018

(1) Comment

Questions? Call 800-424-2841 or e-mail
Some members have expressed concerns and questions about the Commission on Dental Accreditation’s recent move to remove the word specialty from all CODA documentation, as well as its website. Instead, CODA recently communicated to its communities of interest that it will refer to all advanced dental education disciplines as advanced education programs.

“This is really a clarification to avoid a misunderstanding of CODA's role,” said Dr. Brent Larson, 2017-18 AAO president-elect. “CODA is responsible for accrediting dental education programs of all types and does not, and has not, been responsible for recognizing specialties.”

Last year, Dr. Larson served on an American Dental Association task force that developed a resolution - subsequently adopted by the ADA House of Delegates - calling for establishment of the ADA National Commission on the Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards.
Dr. Steven Siegel, AAO Board member and chair of the AAO CODA Review Committee, explained that going forward, dental specialty recognition will be based on the following process:

♦ The ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure reviews and proposes revisions to the ADA Requirements for Recognition;
♦ The ADA House of Delegates will consider any proposed revisions to the Requirements for Recognition coming from the Council on Dental Education and Licensure;
♦ The new Commission on the Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards will apply existing/approved House-approved Requirements for Recognition when considering a request to grant a new specialty recognition.
The AAO has strongly advocated our position that a licensed dentist seeking specialty recognition must have successfully completed an advanced education program of at least two full-time academic years, and that the program be accredited by an agency that is recognized by the United States Department of Education.

“Ultimately, it is this new commission and the courts that now determine specialty recognition - not CODA,” said Dr. Siegel.
View the CODA Communication on Advanced Dental Education Programs

“Specialty recognition and other issues of great importance to our specialty and to the well-being of the public are occurring at the state and local levels,” added Dr. Siegel. “The AAO’s Component Legal Support Fund is here to help our members, but we can only provide help if we know about the issues. If you have any concerns about pending legislation that may affect specialty recognition or advertising as a specialist, please contact AAO Associate General Counsel Sean Murphy (800-424-2841, ext. 523, ."

Feb. 21, 2018

(0) Comments

Questions? Call 800-424-2841 or e-mail
During the 2018 Annual Session, the AAO, the AAO Foundation and the American Board of Orthodontics will recognize honorees at the Excellence in Orthodontics Luncheon and Awards Ceremony (Sunday,  May 6 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center).

The Excellence in Orthodontics Luncheon and Awards Ceremony keynote speaker will be Mike Krzyzewski, aka “Coach K,” head coach of the Duke University Men’s Basketball Team. Ticket cost is $60 for the luncheon (or $15 for the keynote address and award presentations only). Tickets may be purchased via Annual Session registration.
AAO award recipients will include:

Humanitarian Award
Dr. E. David Engst

After practicing  orthodontics for 26 years, Dr. Engst sold his practice and returned to his alma mater, the University of Washington, as a fellow in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.  Over the past 10 years, he has provided free dental clinic services in several Latin American countries, Cambodia and the Philippines, often serving patients who have never had dental care. For the past eight years, he has spent six months per year in the Philippines, providing dental services in schools, churches and sometimes outdoors.

James E. Brophy Distinguished Service Award
Dr. Stephen Litton
During his 41 years in orthodontic practice in Golden Valley, Minnesota, Dr. Litton was co-chair of the Doctors Scientific Program for the 2003 AAO Annual Session, served as general arrangements chair of the 2011 Annual Session, and chaired the AAO Council on Membership, Ethics and Judicial Concerns (COMEJC). He was president of the Midwestern Society of Orthodontists and of the Minnesota Association of Orthodontists, served on numerous AAO committees and task forces, was also very active in organized dentistry, and was a long-time assistant professor of anatomy at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Lifetime Achievement Award in Orthodontic Research
Dr. Lysle Johnston Jr.
Professor Emeritus and former chair, Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Michigan, Dr. Johnston had chaired the orthodontic departments of Case Western Reserve University and Saint Louis University before joining the Michigan faculty. He now teaches part-time at all three schools. He has conducted extensive research on differential effects of orthodontic treatments, mechanisms of facial growth, and the interaction between growth and treatment. Dr. Johnston has received research support via grants from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and has served on the editorial boards of several journals, including the AJO-DO.

AAO Foundation, American Board of Orthodontics to Present Awards
Award recipients at the Excellence in Orthodontics Luncheon and Awards Ceremony will also include:

AAO Foundation Louise Ada Jarabak Memorial International Teaching and Research Award
Dr. Brent Larson

Currently a professor and the director of the Division of Orthodontics at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, Dr. Larson has been a leader in organized orthodontics, orthodontic education, research and organized dentistry throughout his career. He is the 2017-18 AAO president-elect and has published articles in many refereed journals including the AJO-DO, most recently on 3D imaging and orthodontic treatment outcomes. He has served as the AAO Foundation Planning and Awards Review Committee vice-chair and was chair of the AAO Council on Orthodontic Education and of the AAO Task Force on Faculty Recruitment.

●  American Board of Orthodontics Albert H. Ketcham Memorial Award
Dr. Birte Melsen
From 1975-2012, Dr. Melsen was professor and chair of the Department of Orthodontics at The School of Dentistry, Aarhus University, Denmark. She has also had a part-time practice in Lübeck, Germany, focusing on treating adults.  Dr. Melsen has authored and published more than 400 articles, with her research encompassing study of human autopsy material, bone biology, biomechanics, interdisciplinary treatment, skeletal anchorage and tissue engineering. In recent years her primary areas of research have been skeletal anchorage, virtual imaging and adult treatment. Dr. Melsen has been very active in fundraising for third-world children, especially in South America where she lectures to generate money for underprivileged children.
Feb. 20, 2018

(0) Comments

Questions? Call 800-424-2841 or e-mail
Drs. Lauren Wiese and Chris Scott, University of Maryland residents, and Dr. Jennifer Collins, a resident at the Howard University College of Dentistry, had lunch on February 14 with Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina's 5th congressional district. Congresswoman Foxx chairs the House of Representatives Education Committee and the House Workforce Committee.

The luncheon took place in Washington, D.C. at the offices of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, the AAO’s legislative counsel. The meeting was arranged as an opportunity to have orthodontic residents speak personally with a key legislator on education issues important to the orthodontic specialty, especially student debt relief.

“This experience really helped us understand the issues currently circulating around post-secondary education,” said Dr. Scott, noting that the residents plan to participate in the 2018 AAO Advocacy Conference. The conference will be May 8-9 in Washington, immediately following the Annual Session.
Feb. 19, 2018

(1) Comment

Questions? Call 800-424-2841 or e-mail
By Gary J. Kloberdanz, DDS, MS
Orthodontics has certainly changed over the last 40+ years. When I entered practice in the mid-1970s, advertising did not exist, most orthodontists were male and being one’s own boss (running a practice) was the goal of most of my classmates and colleagues. However, some of the “old school concepts” I have experienced still apply today and can benefit both established orthodontists and the younger doctors, with the ultimate goal of preserving our extraordinary profession and serving our patients:
  1. Talk and shake hands with the established orthodontists in the area in which you have chosen to build your practice. This shows respect on the younger doctor’s part and may lead to a possible mentor relationship with that older doctor.
  2. Participate in study clubs, component, constituent and national orthodontic associations and societies, as you have become a perpetual student. In reality, one of the best parts of serving your profession will be the lifetime friends you will make as you personally stay informed and are on the cutting edge of what is happening in orthodontics.
  3. Always call the previous orthodontist about any complaining transferring patients. The phone is a powerful tool that can save many misunderstandings and problems. A wise man once said the phone allowed him to speak into the ear of another man anywhere in the world. Communication is the key!
  4. If a patient or parent complains or says anything critical or negative about their treatment and/or staff, address the issue immediately. If treatment is not going as planned, consider taking new records and scheduling a treatment consultation to discuss why and maybe changing or modifying the treatment plan.
  5. Avoid “puffery” (I.e., making claims that are false or misleading) on your website. Let your patients praise you. Say less and deliver more. Understand that marketing should have an educational purpose, which is better than advertising.
  6. When considering treating adults, confirm they are periodontally and restoratively ready to start treatment with their general dentist and/or periodontist. You will want to know from the general dentist his/her “restorative plan” after orthodontic treatment.
  7. Peer review is your friend. If a patient makes a complaint against a doctor, the doctor-driven peer review process may help you avoid a potential lawsuit. Also, do not let your ego get in the way of working with your component peer review committee.
We are blessed to serve our patients and profession. I hope you will find in this brief article a “pearl” you can apply in your practice as an orthodontist.
Gary J. Kloberdanz, DDS, MS has been a practicing orthodontist for more than 40 years and is the owner of Fort Morgan Orthodontic Center in Fort Morgan, Colorado. He can be reached at
Feb. 8, 2018

(0) Comments

Questions? Call 800-424-2841 or e-mail
The AAO will present the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award in Orthodontic Research during the 2018 Annual Session in Washington DC (May 4-8, 2018) to Dr. Lysle E. Johnston Jr.  Dr. Johnston will be given his award just prior to his lecture, “Envoi: A Walk on the Mild Side.”

“Dr. Johnston has had a profound influence on the orthodontic specialty in the United States and around the world through his research, teaching, publications, and presentations,” says Dr. Rolf Behrents, editor-in-chief of the AJO-DO.  “His lifelong devotion to the specialty has clearly shaped our present and helped design our future."

At the conclusion of Dr. Johnston’s presentation, the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award for Orthodontic Research will be announced. Dr. Johnston will also be acknowledged at the Excellence in Orthodontics Award Luncheon.

Dr. William Proffit was the first award recipient (2017); Dr. Johnston is the recipient for 2018. 
Nominate a Colleague for the 2019 Award by March 31
Nominations for the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award in Orthodontic Research will be accepted at through March 31, 2018.
Any AAO member in good standing may submit a nomination for the research award. A nominee may be from the United States or from any other country and does not have to be an orthodontist. Once the winner of the award is determined, he or she will be invited to make a presentation at the 2019 Annual Session of the AAO in Los Angeles during the Doctors' portion of the program. 

Click here to view criteria for consideration for the research award, required nomination materials and to submit a nomination. There is also an option to show support for an individual who has already been nominated.
Please direct questions to Dr. Behrents at

About the Lifetime Achievement Award in Orthodontic Research
“Over the history of the specialty of orthodontics there have been a number of uncommon individuals who have devoted their entire careers toward the pursuit of research and discovery and each, in their own way, advanced the basic or clinical sciences associated with orthodontics,” says Dr. Behrents. “Names such as Angle, Case, Hellman, Broadbent, Sicher, Tweed, Brodie, Krogman, Bjork, Harvold, Moorees, Graber, Moyers, Ricketts, Sassouni, and many others come to mind. Such individuals conducted important investigations and made significant contributions to orthodontics. At the culmination of their careers some were honored in various ways, but many simply faded away without recognition or ceremony.  In an attempt to recognize those individuals who have made significant contributions to the science related to the specialty of orthodontics over the course of their lifetimes, the AAO established the Lifetime Achievement Award in Orthodontic Research.”

Feb. 7, 2018

(0) Comments

Questions? Call 800-424-2841 or e-mail
During 2017, the AAO Disaster Relief Fund received nearly $200,000 in contributions, aided members and retained some funds to utilize for pending and future applications for assistance.

Members whose practices have been impacted by natural disasters* can apply to see what assistance the AAO can provide. Those assisted by the program during 2017 included some who were affected by hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

“We are very grateful to the many members and AAO staff who contributed to the Disaster Relief Fund,” said Dr. Brent Larson, AAO president-elect and chair of the Disaster Relief Funding Committee. “At all times, and especially during a very challenging year for some members it is very important that the AAO be capable of providing assistance to those affected by disasters.”

Application Deadline for Members in Puerto Rico Extended 
Thus far, the Disaster Relief Fund has aided 12 members who were impacted by the 2017 disasters. The deadline to apply for aid is normally three months post-disaster. Some members in Puerto Rico, however, were cut off from communications for an extended period after Hurricane Maria hit the island, and so may have missed the series of eBulletins about the Disaster Relief Fund. Thus, the application deadline has been extended until June 1, 2018 for members in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Orthodontic Society President Expresses Appreciation 
Among the grateful recipients of Disaster Relief Fund assistance was Dr. Jose "Otis" Vicens of Humacao, Puerto Rico, president of the Puerto Rico Orthodontic Society. Dr. Vicens contacted Dr. Larson to express the group’s gratitude for the support offered by the AAO.

“On behalf of the AAO members in Puerto Rico and myself included, I would like to thank you for the support that the AAO has given us in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,” wrote Dr. Vicens. “This grant served as a reminder that the AAO's reason to exist is to support the members and there is no better way to show this support than helping the members when they are in need.” 
When the hurricane hit Puerto Rico on September 20, Dr. Vicens sustained substantial damage to his office. He says that he now feels grateful to be able to see patients.

“We were closed for three weeks,” he says. “After we miraculously obtained a 5,000-watt generator, we were able to re-open - although with no phone or cell service, we had no way to contact patients. We knew some had left for the mainland, but others showed up to see if we were open. Some even helped us with clean-up. Working in almost 90-degree temperatures proved to be a real challenge, but patients were happy to be seen.
“Now we have a pre-paid cell phone and a second, more powerful generator, so we can use our computer, internet and air-conditioner, all of which helps make everything easier,” adds Dr. Vicens. “Only about 50 percent of the people here have power at this point, but we see work being done on the power lines every day.”

Throughout the fall, Dr. Vicens was also very concerned about his colleagues in the Puerto Rico Orthodontic Society as it was impossible to contact many of them following the hurricane.

“We were able to have our society Christmas party and had great attendance,” he says. “It was really good for everyone to come together, I think. Some of our members completely lost their offices and are now renting space in dental offices or other facilities. This experience is a test of our resilience, but we will get through it and grow stronger.  And again, we are very grateful to the AAO for the disaster relief assistance -and also for how quickly the applications were processed.”

Learn about how to apply for aid from the Disaster Relief Fund or make a contribution.

Feb. 1, 2018

(4) Comments

Questions? Call 800-424-2841 or e-mail
The next presentation in the 2017-18 Doctors Webinar series, “Facial Esthetics Oriented Treatment Planning with VTO and TADs,” will address how, instead of using the mandibular incisor position as the primary criterion, a facial esthetics-oriented treatment approach can use the maxillary incisor position as the starting point while the mandibular arch still serves as the diagnostic arch. In this context, virtual treatment objective (VTO) is a critical tool for anchorage planning and reinforcement together with the use of temporary anchorage devices (TADs) and other conventional mechanics.

Lecturer: Sercan Akyalcin, DDS, MS, PhD
Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Time: 07:30PM - 08:45PM CT
Cost:  Multiple participants may participate for a registration fee of only $50 per office when using a common email address.
Continuing Education: Each participant who completes the Webinar will earn 1.0 CE credit.
Learn More and Register
Additional webinars during the late winter period will include:

♦ “Building an Elite Office With Facebook Marketing,” by Neal D. Kravitz, DMD, MS
Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Time: 07:30PM - 08:45PM CT
Cost: Free to all members (Business of Orthodontics series); advance registration is required.

“Realistic Treatment of Patients Missing Maxillary Lateral Incisor,” by José A. Bósio, BDS, MS
Date: Thursday, March 8, 2018
Time: 07:30PM - 08:45PM CT
Cost: Multiple participants may participate for a registration fee of only $50 per office when using a common email address.

Learn more about all upcoming webinars.

American Association of Orthodontists is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual lectures or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry.
Concerns or complaints about a CE provider may be directed to the provider or to the Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition at
Feb. 1, 2018

(0) Comments

Questions? Call 800-424-2841 or e-mail
The AAO Sleep Apnea and Orthodontics Task Force will hold an open forum on Saturday, May 5 from 3 pm – 4:30 pm during the 2018 Annual Session in Washington, D.C.

The Task Force was formed last year after the AAO Board of Trustees announced that the AAO will conduct a consensus conference during 2018-19, regarding the relationship between sleep apnea and the practice of orthodontics.
“Prior to the conference, we are in the process of compiling and evaluating pertinent literature,” says Dr. Rolf Behrents, editor-in-chief of the AJO-DO and chair of the Sleep Apnea and Orthodontics Task Force. “In addition, we will seek input from members of the AAO and other interested parties in order to construct an authoritative report of findings. The open forum during Annual Session will afford an opportunity for any AAO member to speak publicly on this topic.”
Members of the Task Force will be in attendance at the forum to listen to colleagues’ thoughts and concerns regarding the relationship between sleep apnea and orthodontics.
“The primary goal of the conference that follows will be to produce a white paper including evidence-based guidance on this topic,” says Dr. Behrents. “In addition, we anticipate that a resource center will be constructed containing the pertinent literature and that suggestions will be made regarding the need for additional research in certain areas.”
Feb. 1, 2018

(1) Comment

Questions? Call 800-424-2841 or e-mail