by Christopher Piehler

Christopher Piehler

Orthodontists and their assistants weren’t the only ones continuing their education at this year’s AAO Annual Session. I learned at least three valuable lessons in Denver.

Lesson number one: If you travel by jam-packed airplane, spend 4 days in a crowded exhibit hall, then take another full flight home, you’re going to get sick, no matter how much echinacea you swallow. The airline that installs some sort of Cone of Contagion Containment to make sure that I don’t have to inhale strangers’ sneezes every time I fly will have my business for life.

Lesson number two: Denver is a pleasant surprise. The surprising part was how flat it is. I had imagined the “Mile High City” as a bunch of buildings nestled among the Rockies, but the home of the Broncos seemed more like the inside of an enormous soup bowl: You fly over the rim and then it’s flat, flat, flat as far as the eye can see. The pleasant part was downtown Denver. It’s a manageable size and easy to navigate, with free public transportation and a charming red-brick neighborhood featuring the Wazee Supper Club, where I devoured the best pizza I’ve had outside of New York.

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Lesson number three: Orthodontics is a family business in more ways than one. Orthodontists, of course, often treat multiple members of the same family, and with the increase in the number of adults in treatment, one orthodontist might well treat multiple generations at the same time. Also, more than any other group of professionals I’ve encountered, orthodontists follow their parents into practice. Examples are everywhere: Our cover subject, Laurance Jerrold, DDS, JD, is, in his words, “the world’s first third-generation, board-certified orthodontist.” Another member of our editorial board, Marc B. Ackerman, DMD, glowed with pride as he introduced me to his father and former partner, James L. Ackerman, DDS, in Denver. And Scott Smoron, DDS, MSD, who writes about bleaching in this issue and who took over his practice from his father, was the one who got me thinking about how straightening teeth runs in families. Why is this? His simple explanation was this:”Each ortho has to turn one kid onto orthodontics.”

Christopher Piehler