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

Vandana KatyalDr Katyal’s Publications, Uncategorised

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

  • I completed the BOSS UK Diploma in 2021 and when it became available, signed up for the AU course as well. I completed the AU course at the end of last year and can honestly say BOSS (now Digital Orthodontic College) has completely changed my approach to clear aligner treatments and increased my confidence with treatment planning immensely. The fact that the course is 100% online was a huge drawcard for me initially since I have two young children, work clinically part-time and run my own business. It allowed me the flexibility to study when I had the chance and didn’t result in any loss of clinical time. Dr V is extremely passionate about orthodontics and more importantly sharing her wisdom and that comes through in her approach to teaching. The course is extremely comprehensive (NB: the AU course has quite a few complex assessments) and covers everything starting from the basics of tooth movement, which sets a good foundation and is therefore suitable even for beginners. The monthly/bimonthly webinars allow students to share cases and is a safe space, non-judgmental and therefore an incredible learning platform. I had been doing clear aligner treatments prior to starting this course, but BOSS helped me see patients with new eyes and has overhauled my treatment planning approach. I would not hesitate to recommend this course to anyone interested in learning, or to extend their knowledge about, clear aligner treatments.

    Thank you so much Dr V!

    Dr Lora Banicevic, Dentist NSW
  • The Australian accredited 10905NAT Graduate Diploma of Digital Orthodontic Treatment offers comprehensive training in the field, gives the candidate the opportunity to do things in a self-paced manner, while getting a personalised 1-on-1 learning experience with Dr Vandana Katyal. It was an excellent choice for me and gave me the flexibility to get the well-designed training done in my own time frame. I would strongly recommend the course to any practitioners who is looking to upskill themselves with a no-compromise high quality course, while also having to juggle between busy practices and family schedules.

    Dr Charles Sun, Dentist WA
  • I started this course unsure of how much I would benefit. The in-person lectures were fantastic (although the course is now 100% online) where I made good friends and learned a lot. The online resources are extensive and second to none, accessible at your convenience. The webinars were great – usually with the right mix of teaching, cases demonstrated and the attendees’ cases being discussed. I was also invited to deliver a webinar on intra-oral scanners, 3D printers and in house aligner manufacturing (from a dentist’s point of view) – which I enjoyed.
    Most of all the course gave significantly more confidence what can be done with aligners, how plan the setup efficiently with the end in mind and how to make the processes to get there smoother. As a result, a MUCH larger chunk of my work is now aligner based. My conversion rate for aligner treatments has definitely increased along with my confidence. The course has easily paid for itself. Full disclosure: I was invited to deliver a webinar on intra-oral scanners, 3D printers and in house aligner manufacture to my BOSS batch mates, which I also thoroughly enjoyed doing. I declined any remuneration for this, although it was offered.
    Dr Shammi Moopen, Dentist VIC
  • Since I have joined the postgraduate diploma in orthodontics I have noticed all the applied practical learning/knowledge on my patients and I am only half way through the year. Dr Vandana is a genuine educator. She goes way beyond to simplify every lecture and I really like her evidence based information and that is available for us 24/7. Her webinars helped a lot for busy dentists and loved the feedback we get in the one on one sessions with our cases. It make us think every step of the way. But the best thing I like is to see she is giving back to the community and her association with Smile Train in helping children with cleft palate is just beyond words. Thank you so much for being nice and approachable.

    Dr Claudia Braybon, Dentist NSW
  • Received my Diploma in Digital Orthodontics from BOSS and couldn’t be more stoked! Huge shout out to Dr Vandana Katyal and the BOSS team for a wonderful year. I would recommend BOSS to every dentist no matter their level of experience with Orthodontics and clear aligners. Starting off with barely any orthodontic experience, I have commenced about 9 cases in the matter of months and BOSS gave me the confidence to predictably deliver results for my patients through clear aligners which are the future of modern orthodontics.
    Dr Sarang Sathe, Dentist NSW
  • I chose Boss’s clear aligner diploma because I wanted to know the latest evidence based practice to enhance my treatment planning and case execution. I now have a much better understanding of how to diagnose, what movements can be done and what will get me into trouble. The flexible nature of the course delivery also fit perfectly into full time work and my otherwise packed schedule. The monthly case presentation webinars are also great to not only get feedback from Dr Katyal, but also to validate your own thoughts self-assess and see how you are tracking with your learning.

    Dr Gregory Nguyễn, Dentist NSW

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