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An honest and genuine response from an orthodontist to the dental community

Vandana KatyalUncategorised

Dear Dental Colleagues,
A few days ago I shared my opinion with you all on my professional Facebook timeline. It was then shared by someone whom I didn’t know on a secret closed dental group called DPR. I understand no permission was required from me to repost or share the post since my post was public. However the sharing of it in DPR created some intensity and passion, both positive and negative. Today I would like to be as transparent, honest and genuine as I can in my response to that post.

I would like to start by saying that I thank every one for their opinions & comments. Some were valid, some off topic and others philosophical and questioning.

My original post was nothing but my own truth and my opinion based on my personal experiences. It was never meant to single out the entire specialist orthodontic profession as greedy or selfish as some have perceived it to be. I am part of the same profession too. It was purely meant to state that there are still some individuals who question me, misinterpret my intentions and advise me to turn back and stop teaching dentists via BOSS. And that’s all good and valid as they are individual opinions, however the objection has sometimes been based on their business growth and profits, which I pointed as $$$$$. I personally perceive this to be short-sighted and selfish. I have been given other reasons as well, to name some – that I might be turning my back on the profession as a group and its wellbeing by continuing teaching dentists how to do orthodontics. We all have a human need for belonging together as a tribe and I can understand that reasoning a lot better than the former. Everyone inherently thinks they are good at heart and want to do their best everyday. Orthodontists and dentists are no different.

To clarify my statement made and to be as transparent as possible, there have also been some orthodontists who have come up to me and told me that what I was trying to do (provide quality orthodontic knowledge to general dentists via BOSS) is a great endeavour and they wish me success. Some offered to lecture and to get involved, few did and it was wonderful and extremely well received by the dentists attending in 2016-17. Some of those that lectured were not only the more experienced orthodontists but also from the younger generation. I distinctly remember a few young orthodontists highly encouraged me to actually start BOSS around 2015 and were very supportive of it.

Since I’m being as honest as possible, starting BOSS was a very bold step for me and it still is for me to continue. It is not one I take lightly but I know this is needed to help empower the dental profession and help minimise the divide between dentists and orthodontists. It has been so rewarding to watch many dentists attend, improve their understanding of the evidence-based orthodontics of today and hence I continue to move forward with my teaching endeavours. I believe teaching dentists will help improve referral paths to orthodontic specialists in the long term by increasing their understanding of risks and their own competencies. Being a research-based practitioner, I collect data all the time, love to track metrics and changes. Hopefully one day I will have some data to share with the industry.

With technology and direct to consumer businesses on the rise, not far from our shores, we are at the edge of a major paradigm shift in the way orthodontics will be delivered in the future. In fact more than ever there is now an urgent need to teach quality and predictable orthodontics to dentists and raise public awareness together as an industry.

I am certainly not a crusader for GP dentists or a shining light as some people have commented. There are times I will refuse to coach a case simply because I don’t believe that particular dentist would be capable of handling it or due to its complexity. Other times I will help, when a dentist clearly understands the diagnosis, risk management strategies and evidence behind their treatment planning. This type of education and evidence-based knowledge empowers not just dentist but all specialists too.

I did start BOSS for non profit for a year. Unfortunately without profit or income I couldn’t afford to run it any longer. Even some of the supportive attending dentists and orthodontists said why should I not charge, were genuinely surprised how I was running it for free and that I should be rewarded for my time like everyone else. I have continued to educate about 2 – 3 dentists per year completely free of charge. We hold 4-6 free events that give evidence based lectures, bring different specialists in and extend the education given beyond the paid courses. This is on top of my 2-3 pro bono cases per year I undertake in my own clinical practice (CCC Smiles) and free educational events I organise for local dentists. I’m also continuing my passion for research and starting clinical trials in my own practice, all funded by myself.

I say all this today with humility and in no way as a brag. I feel grateful that I have reached at a position where I have the ability to give back more than before. To be completely honest, personal and raw – I do not fancy designer clothes, cars, jewellery, investments, etc. They have never driven me to work. What drives me is this position I have created for myself to be able to make a positive difference on a bigger scale. The above will be true for most people who truly enjoy their livelihood.

I am not painting that I’m better than anyone else or on a higher ground, but that I’m passionate about giving back as well, just like most people with good intentions at heart. I’m passionate about my profession and so proud to be in this position today. My post was fuelled by that passion and was solely placed on my timeline. It was to say a big NO to my detractors and the nay-ers and in no way a generalisation.

I hope we can all move forward positively as a profession together. I know we can! I really hope this has helped us all bond even more today. Thank you all for your time.


Dr Vandana Katyal

What People Are Saying

  • Dr Katyal’s courses are always very practical, interactive and based on up-to-date evidence. I have completed other orthodontic courses and I have found the structure and organisation of BOSS to be superior. Whilst Dr Katyal is very encouraging of GP dentists doing orthodontic treatment, she ensures that we understand our scope of practice, which allows patients to have the best outcomes. Looking forward to doing more BOSS courses in the future!

    Dr Brodie Hil, Dentist VIC
  • Boss is an amazing seminar well ran by Dr Katyal and her team. The group is small and Dr Katyal caters to the needs of the group. We bring cases along to discuss and we can interrupt to ask questions.
    It’s not like other seminars where you get lectured to and they take a few questions at the end . By which time you can’t remember the question you wanted to ask .
    The many lecturers are funny , informative and a pleasure to listen to . Ohh ohh I forgot … it’s held at the Hilton hotel and the food is unbelievable!!!

    Amy Lg, Dentist, Sydney
  • Many thanks to BOSS and Dr Vandana Katyal for providing me with a great learning platform for clear aligners. With a previous background in fixed orthodontics, I have always been interested in incorporating clear aligners to give my patients all options when it comes to providing orthodontic treatment in my practice.

    After attending BOSS lectures, Dr Katyal has helped grow my confidence in using clear aligners by providing one on one mentoring on clin-checks and also going through some of her own cases that she is treating with Invisalign which has been an eye opener for myself.

    I have now got multiple cases of Invisalign undergoing and I don’t shy away in presenting clear aligners as a treatment option for patients requiring orthodontic treatment in my practice.

    Amrinder Oberoi, Dentist, Sydney
  • I have been attending BOSS Courses since early 2016, and am so pleased to have found Vandana and her team! As Orthodontics is such a vast study in itself, BOSS breaks it down into practical and easy to understand concepts, which allows you to become more aware of the orthodontic status of all your patients. I have found so much confidence in being able to deliver orthodontic treatment to my patients after attending BOSS. If you’re someone who hasn’t done any orthodontics and are looking for starter courses, this course is fantastic. It is also a great opportunity for those who have had orthodontic experience in the past (like myself) to enhance, grow and learn more!

    Dr Radhika Singh, Sydney
  • I just attended the 2018 Boss Course 1 in Melbourne. It was a comprehensive introduction into orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning. I have walked away feeling confident in my knowledge and abilities. I recommend this course to beginners and those with more experience. The group was small and the course felt tailored to our individual levels of experience. Dr Katyal was so kind and approachable and generously shared her knowledge. The course was heavily scientifically based and Dr Katyal frequently referred to the literature and gave recommended pre-readings to enhance our knowledge and make the most of the session.

    Dr Rachael McDonald, Dentist, Melbourne
  • Dr Katyal shares so much of her own protocol and is extremely generous not only with her time but with the well thought out information she provides along with the course such as inventory lists, marketing material and case presentation templates. She tailors her advice to your own experience and helps with appropriate case selection, points out possible pitfalls and helps you understand how to overcome them. The course is also up-to-date using the latest technologies in orthodontics and is heavily evidence-based.

    I would recommend it to anyone wanting to start doing some orthodontic treatment or looking for a more comprehensive course to assist in some ortho they are already doing.

    Dr Becky Dudman, Melbourne

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