It’s that time of year again. The e-mails, the letters, and the cold call voicemails are beginning to arrive. They all pretty much sound the same. "Dear Dr Ackerman: I am the best thing ever, so hire me. PS: I need to be paid $1,500 per day to start, and you need to finance my ultimate purchase of your practice because I am dead broke. PPS: I am coming to your town regardless of whether you hire me, and I will be happy to work as an itinerant orthodontist for multiple general dental practices as long as they pay me what I want."

Beautiful. These annual missives don’t give you a whole lot of warm and fuzzy feelings about the future of the orthodontic specialty. The first two questions that come to mind when I read one of these letters are 1) who advised this person to study orthodontics in the first place; and 2) how much has this person borrowed to become a university-trained orthodontist? Well, after a few years of thinking about it, spending 3 years teaching in one of the most expensive orthodontic residency programs in the United States, reading some 2011 survey data, and doing some elementary-school math, I think some answers to these questions are self-evident.

To read the rest of this article from the April/May issue of Orthodontic Products, click here.