I just had the pleasure of attending Dr. Stuart Frost’s 2 day “finishing” course in Phoenix. Dr. Frost is (IMHO) a master clinician and a gentleman of the highest order. His case outcomes are spectacular and the way he finishes his cases was the REAL takeaway for me.  His attention to the soft and hard tissues -the way he regularly sculpts his finished cases with a laser and reshapes the teeth-transforms beautiful finishes into exceptional “Frost Smiles”. Best of all, he teaches with patience and passion.

Almost everyone knows that Dr. Frost uses Damon brackets and I was the only orthodontist in the room who wasn’t a Damon user. As a matter of fact, he knew that I was a KOL for Henry Schein when he let me into the course.  I didn’t even know that it had anything to do with Damon until I showed up and it didn’t matter to me at all. (Disclosure: I am not a Damon KOL, nor do I currently receive any support from them aside from their vendor sponsorship (along with 40 other companies) of the Orthopreneurs Summit.)

You see, his course was about “finishing” NOT Damon brackets. Sure, Dr. Frost firmly believes that his outcomes are a result of the entire Damon system and certain advantages he believes it offers, and until my finishes rival his, I am not in a position to argue for or against his position. If I were to switch to Damon brackets tomorrow, he’d be genuinely happy for me. If I continue with my current bracket system, he wouldn’t judge me.

My point is that irrespective of your bracket system and how you feel about Damon brackets, this weekend was an example of a gifted teacher doing what he does best: Teaching. He doesn’t  get paid if I switch to Damon and he doesn’t care what I’m using. His job (and he did it very well) was to show me how he gets exceptional outcomes using the techniques he implements. He treated me with respect and vice versa. I have 6 pages of notes to implement in my practice starting Tuesday morning, and none of them say “Damon” on them.

Let’s realize that exceptional education crosses all boundaries. I will listen to any speaker, irrespective of who sponsors them and respect their right to talk about the system, bracket, wire, appliance, etc of their choosing. I just want to learn and get better and here’s the entire point of this post…..

There is a small, but vocal minority that is so loud in attacking speakers sponsored by companies, that many of them (I’ve spoken to numerous KOLs on this subject) will not post their best material online because they don’t need the hassle. This small, but loud group (who disguise their contempt for KOls under the rally cry of “we need to know who pays your bills”) are keeping the rest of us from being able to hear the messages of some of the most accomplished and experienced clinicians out there. If they get paid commission, they should disclose it, but otherwise, I’m totally OK with you sharing your knowledge with me so I can look at your cases and make up my own mind. It would be great if all KOLs disclosed it in their posts, but I have personally seen many KOLs attacked when they shared their observations from treating many cases using a particular method, and the attacks have come AFTER they’ve clearly stated their affiliations.

For me, it’s not about the bracket. It’s about the person and I sincerely hope that you all experience the “non-partisan” learning and collaboration I just got to experience over the last 36 hours.

We all have so much to share and I’ll admit that at least I have so much to learn. We chose an exceptional profession that is evolving at such a rapid pace that we need pioneers on the technology adoption curve (i.e.-KOLs)  to go out and push the envelope and come back and report what they’ve found. Let’s realize that their journeys are often fraught with difficulty and failure and that they save us a lot of time and trouble in our practices and there may not be any science on their observations for years to come. Let’s be vigilant with doing our own investigations after hearing their messages and above all, be kind and polite when we express our opinions.

Wishing you all the best!!!

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