Dr. William A.
Laughlin's Answers to Our Survey
I. DID YOU HAVE BRACES WHEN YOU WERE A
a. How long did you have braces?
b. Did you like having braces?
NO. BUT WITHOUT THEM I WAS A MESS.
c. Did anybody tease you ?
NO, BUT I WAS SELF CONSCIOUS.
If so, What did you do about it?
A FEW OTHER KIDS HAD THEM TOO.
d. Did a lot of kids in your neighborhood, school
or family have braces?
NO, JUST A FEW.
e. Did you grow up in a city, the suburbs, or
in a rural area?
f. How did your parents help you with your braces?
THEY PAID FOR THEM AND GOT ME STARTED.
g. What age were you when your braces were taken off?
h. Did you like your orthodontist? YES.
i. Did you read any books when you were a kid
with characters that had braces?
j. Did you see any celebrities with braces when
you were a kid? NO.
k. Did you wear a retainer after your braces
were taken off? YES.
l. Did you think it was hard taking care of
m. Why did you need braces?
n. Do you think braces hurt less now than when you had
braces put on?
|MY TEETH WERE VERY PROTRUSIVE AND
LARGE AND SOME DID NOT COME IN AT THE RIGHT TIME.
o. Do you talk to your patients differently
than your orthodontist talked to you? YES.
II. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO TO DENTAL SCHOOL?
a. Did you like going to the dentist?
|I WAS GOING INTO MEDICINE, BUT
AT THE TIME THERE WERE TOO MANY WHO WANTED TO GET IN SO I WENT TO THE STANFORD
GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, AND THEN I WAS TALKED INTO DENTISTRY BY MY
COUSIN WHO WAS MY SAME AGE AND WAS GOING TO GO INTO DENISTRY.
NO, ALTHOUGH THE ORTHODONTIST WAS
NOT ALL THAT BAD.
b. Did anyone encourage you to go to dental
school? MY COUSIN.
If so, who and what did they tell you?
c. What school subjects helped you with dental school?
|HE SAID IT WAS A PROFESSION AND
YOU ARE YOUR OWN BOSS, AND IT IS IN THE MEDICAL FIELD AND IT INVOLVES ART
AND WORKING WITH PEOPLE IN A HELPFUL WAY.
CHEMISTRY, MATH, BIOLOGY, PHYSICS.
d. Did you think about doing any other jobs?
e. Did you know that you wanted to be an orthodontist
when you started dental school? NO.
f. Did you go to college before you went to
dental school? YOU HAVE
III WHAT WAS DENTAL SCHOOL LIKE?
a. How did you choose the dental school that you
|VERY DIFFICULT AND MANY SUBJECTS
AT THE SAME TIME, AS WELL AS MUCH LAB WORK AND CARVING OF TEETH AND DENTAL
IT HAD A VERY HIGH REPUTATION FOR
b. Which dental school did you go to?
c. How many years did you go to dental school? 4
|UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC, THEN
KNOWN AS: COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS, A DENTAL COLLEGE
d. What kind of subjects did you study?
e. Did you work on models?
|BIOCHEMISTRY, PHYSIOLOGY, ANATOMY,
HISTOLOGY, MATERIAL SCIENCES, CROWN AND BRIDGE, DENTAL SURGERY, ANATOMY
Where did the models come from?
f. Did you work on people or animals at your dental
|MADE OF PLASTICS AND WE CARVED
TEETH OUT OF BLOCKS OF PLASTER. WE DID FILLINGS ON EXTRACTED TEETH AND
g. Did you learn about how faces change when people
get older? YES.
|ON TYPODONTS WHICH ARE PLASTIC
MODELS OF TEETH, AND THEN ON PATIENTS LATER.
h. Did you use computers to learn about how
THEY WERE NOT INVENTED.
i. What did you like most about dental school?
I AM NOT SURE.
j. Did you learn about how to explain what you
are doing to your patients?
NOT REALLY, ALTHOUGH BY KNOWING
WHAT WE WERE DOING IT WAS NOT DIFFICULT AS LONG AS WE DID NOT USE TECHNICAL
TERMS TO EXPLAIN THINGS TO THEM.
k. Did you study other parts of the body or
just the mouth?
l. Did you learn about working on people of all
|YES. WE DISSECTED THE WHOLE
HUMAN BODY FOR ONE YEAR, AND THE HEAD AND NECK FOR ANOTHER YEAR.
m. Did you enjoy dental school?
IT WAS CHALLENGING, BUT VERY INTERESTING.
IV. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN ORTHODONTICS?
a. Was there an orthodontic part of dental school?
|I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING TO MAKE
PEOPLE APPRECIATE AND TAKE CARE OF THEIR TEETH AND IMPROVE THEIR APPEARANCE
RATHER THAN JUST PATCH UP DECAYED TEETH
NOT AT THE TIME.
b. Did you think about working mostly with kids
c. Did you want to work on helping people look
d. Did you like to look at people's teeth and
think about how braces would change their face? YES,
I STILL DO.
e. Did anyone tease you when you decided to
be an orthodontist?
NO, IT WAS AN HONOR TO BE SELECTED
TO GO INTO ORTHODONTICS.
V. WHAT WAS ORTHODONTIC SCHOOL LIKE?
VERY DIFFICULT, BUT NOT AS MUCH
PRESSURE AS DENTAL SCHOOL. WE STUDIED MORE MEDICINE AND SOME ANATOMY, AND
BENDING WIRES AND MAKING BANDS WHICH WE CEMENTED TO THE TEETH, ETC.. THEN
HOW TO MOVE TEETH MOST EFFECTIVELY.
a. Where did you go to orthodontic school?
b. What did you like about orthodontic school?
|UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA GRADUATE
SCHOOL OF MEDICINE.
c. How many years did you go to orthodontic school?
|TO BE ABLE TO SEE HOW TO DIAGNOSE
A PROBLEM AND SEE HOW WE COULD TREAT MOST EFFECTIVELY.
d. What percent of your fellow students had
braces as a kid?
I AM NOT SURE - NOT TOO MANY.
e. Did you work on models or people?
f. Did you work on the same people for a long
YES. FOR TWO FULL YEARS.
g. Did the school teach about how people are supposed
to look? YES.
h. Did you use computers to study orthodontics?
NO, THEY WERE REALLY NOT INVENTED
i. Did the school teach you how to work with
kids and teenagers?
TO SOME EXTENT.
j. Did you watch other orthodontists work with
YES. WE VISITED A NUMBER OF OFFICES
TO GET IDEAS.
VI. WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE AN ORTHODONTIST?
a. How long have you been an orthodontist?
|IT WAS A WONDERFUL ENVIRONMENT,
AND VERY ENJOYABLE AND INTERESTING BECAUSE OF THE VARIATIONS IN GROWTH
AND DEVELOPOMENT OF TEETH AND JAWS AND MOVEMENTS OF TEETH.
ABOUT 30 YEARS.
b. Do you have to be strong to be an orthodontist?
c. Do you get tired of working on people's mouths?
|NO. BUT IT DOES HELP TO BE IN GOOD
PHYSICAL SHAPE, SO THAT YOU DON'T GET TIRED EASILY.
d. What percentage of your patients are kids,
teenagers and adults?
20% TEENS, 10% KIDS, 70% ADULTS
(WHICH IS REALLY UNUSUAL)
What percentage are female and what percentage are
e. Have you ever seen someone have an allergic reaction
to their braces? NOT
|ABOUT 50% EACH. AT FIRST
I WOULD SAY IT WAS 2/3 FEMALE, BUT NOW IT IS MORE EVEN.
If so, did they know it was because of their braces?
What does an allergic reaction look like?
IT WOULD BE AN ERUPTION OF THE
INSIDE OF THE MOUTH - A SORE, OR IF ON THE SKIN AN ALLERGIC REACTION IS
A SORE. I WAS ALLERGIC FOR A WHILE TO RUBBER GLOVES, BUT I SEEM TO BE OVER
THAT. ALLERGIES TO METALS ARE VERY RARE
AND WOULD BE A LITTLE DIFFICULT
f. Is it difficult to explain to kids what's
wrong with their bite and what needs to be done?
g. Are kids easier to work with than teenagers?
|NO. I ALSO HAVE A BOOKLET I GIVE
THEM WITH EXPLANATIONS AND CAN SHOW THEM A VIDEO ON MY COMPUTER OF HOW
TEETH MOVE AND WHAT A PATIENT WOULD LOOK LIKE.
h. If there is a problem with braces, can kids explain
the problem to you?
|YES. THEY TEND TO BE MORE ENTHUSIASTIC
AND OFTEN REALLY WANT BRACES AND RETAINERS.
i. Do you put the braces on all at once or do you
put them on a little at a time?
|SOMETIMES , ALTHOUGH THEIR PARENTS
HAVE A HARD TIME AS THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR.
j. How do you help kids get used to braces?
|USUALLY ALL AT ONCE EXCEPT WITH
LINGUAL BRACES. I PUT THE UPPER ONES ON FIRST UNTIL THEY ARE USED TO THEM
AND ONE OR TWO MONTHS LATER DO THE LOWER ONES.
k. Do you recommend any books to them to help them
|THEY DO PRETTY WELL IF WE EXPLAIN
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR AND WE GIVE THEM WAX AND SHOW THEM HOW TO BRUSH WITH
WE GIVE THEM A BOOKLET WITH GOOD
PICTURE AND EXPLANATIONS.
Do you know of any books with characters with
braces that kids would like?
l. Do you take pictures of them during their
ONE FOR OUR BULLETIN BOARD SO THEY
CAN SEE OTHERS WITH BRACES, AND FRIENDS, AND I TAKE SOME OF THE MORE DIFFICULT
CASES AND TAKE PROGRESS PHOTOS OF THEIR TEETH FROM FIVE ANGLES.
m. How often do you take x-rays?
n. What happens when kids loose a tooth when their
braces are on?
|AT THE BEGINNING AND END OF TREATMENT,
AND OF THE FOUR UPPER FRONT TEETH TWICE A YEAR TO CHECK FOR ROOT SHORTENING
WHICH RARELY HAPPENS.
I DON'T PUT BRACES ON BABY TEETH.
o. Do people call you for emergencies a lot?
p. What are some of the emergencies people have
with their braces?
|A FEW CALL IF A WIRE MOVES BACK
AND POKES THE CHEEK OR A BRACKET COMES OFF DUE TO BITING ON A HARD PIECE
OF FOOD WHICH THEY ARE TOLD NOT TO BITE ON.
q. Do you get to know the patients pretty well?
|WIRE COMES OUT OF THE BACK OF THE
TUBE BECAUSE THEY BITE ON A BULKY, HARD PIECE OF BREAD CRUST, ETC...
WE DO WITH SOME WHO ARE TALKATIVE
AND INTERESTED IN THEIR TREATMENT.
Do they e-mail you?
NO, BUT THAT IS A GOOD IDEA.
r. Which specialists do you work with?
PERIODONTISTS, PEDODONTISTS, ORAL
SURGEONS, PLASTIC SURGEONS.
s. What can kids do if their lips get hurt by
t. Do you recommend any special machines for cleaning
teeth and braces?
|USE WAX ON THE BRACES AND USE ZYLOBRACE
ON THE CUT OR INJURED AREA AS A BANDAGE.
YES. SONICARE AND ROTADENT ARE
EXCELLENT ONES FOR BRACES.
u. We heard that soda is bad for braces.
Is that true?
v. What are some of the things kids tell you they
are afraid of with their braces?
|POSSIBLE THOUGHT TO WEAKEN THE
CEMENTS AND COULD ETCH THE TEETH IF THEY HAVE NOT HAD A FLOURIDE.
IT MIGHT HURT.
w. I heard that there are guards to put on if
you play a wind instrument or play sports. YES.
Are these guards a good idea?
FOR SPORTS TO PROTECT LIPS FROM
BANGING AGAINST BRACKETS ON THE TEETH.
Are they hard to use?
NO. MOST ATHLETES USE THEM ANYWAY.
Are they expensive?
x. Do you look at celebrities and think about whether
they had braces?
|NO. YOU CAN GET THEM AT A SPORTING
GOODS STORE OR FROM YOUR ORTHODONTIST.
MOST OF THE MODELS YOU SEE IN MAGAZINES
HAVE HAD BRACES.
Have you ever worked on someone who was or became
YES. A MINISTER. BASKETBALL PLAYER.
PRESIDENTS OF SOME LARGE COMPANIES.
y. What do you think of computer imaging?
GOOD, EXCEPT IT MAY GIVE A FALSE
IMPRESSION OF THE FINAL RESULT.
|Is it the same technology as when police show what
a missing kid would look like when they are older?
Does it help kids work harder to take care of their braces?
|NOT REALLY. IT DOES SHOW WHAT WILL
HAPPEN IF THE JAW IS MOVED INTO THE IDEAL POSITION. IN SOME WAYS IT IS
LIKE WHAT YOU HAVE DESCRIBED, ALTHOUGH IT DOES NOT HAVE TO HAVE THE COMPLICATION
OF SOFT TISSUE FORECASTING.
IT MIGHT IF THEY SEE WHAT THE FINAL
RESULT MAY LOOK LIKE.
z. Which part of getting braces do kids like
GETTING NEW WIRES WHICH MIGHT
CAUSE MORE DISCOMFORT.