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Editorials Orthodontic Science and Practice – Edition 65

Doctor Professor Alexandre Moro
Scientific Director

Where is orthodontics heading in 2024?

For the twelfth year in this column, we are going to repeat this question and answer it based on the scientific program of the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) congress, which took place in May in New Orleans. We’re going to use the same approach as we have for previous congresses.

This year the congress was divided into 7 areas: Innovation and Technology; Clinical Techniques; Scientific Advances; Commercial Success; Inspiration and Well-Being; Trade Show; Engagement and Connection with Peers.

As always, the trade fair was a major attraction. More than 360 exhibitors took part, promoting orthodontic treatments with innovative products and services from hundreds of leading companies. And more than half of the companies were linked to aligners or produced equipment for the production of these appliances. Different aligners are currently on the market, and they vary in terms of whether they can be worn all day or just for sleeping; in terms of how the plate is printed, which can be direct or indirect; and the type of material, which can vary in shape with temperature or not.

However, one question that exists behind the scenes is: who will be able to compete in the aligner market with Align, which is currently responsible for around 75% of cases? It certainly won’t be easy. However, it should be emphasized that for clinical orthodontists, this competition is healthy, as it increases the quality of products and reduces the price of braces.

It’s also important to note that despite all the technological development in favor of aligners, which are the focus of the moment, fixed braces continue to be widely used around the world. However, we haven’t seen any major innovations in this area.

Sagittal First treatment using a distalizer to correct the Class II or Class III molar relationship is still on the rise. Several companies are manufacturing this type of device.

One aspect that has caught everyone’s attention is the downward trend in the number of participants at the congress. Especially those who graduated less than 10 years ago. It seems that this new generation doesn’t feel the need to belong to an association or have face-to-face contact with their peers. This behavior has attracted attention all over the world and seems to be a trend that is increasing over the years.

The event featured more than 200 lectures by leading clinicians, researchers and practice management experts. And the official program remained the same as last year, with just three days. From Saturday to Monday, and Friday was for pre-courses promoted by the companies.

After evaluating the three-day program, I divided the presentations into 48 different subjects. The ones that were covered the most and the number of presentations were: Removable Aligners with 21; Office Administration with 20; Airways with 12; Marketing with 11; Skeletal Anchorage with 10; and Orthognathic Surgery with 9 presentations.

Some new topics that emerged were: Veterinary Orthodontics, Welfare, Office Modalities and Staff Recruitment.

Twelve Brazilian speakers took part in the main grid of the event this year. Our representatives were: Flavia Artese, Eustáquio Araujo, Marcio Almeida, Daniela Garib, Juan Martin Palomo, Lucia Cevidanes, Helder Jacob, Luciane Menezes, Ricardo Cruz, Renato Martins, Jorge Faber and Jonas Bianchi.

The AAO is already working to plan the 2025 Annual Session in Philadelphia.

And what are the conclusions following this evaluation of the event?

The American orthodontist is, as always, focused on the success of his practice, his well-being, and concerned about the work environment. From a clinical point of view, companies are directing their forces towards the development of aligners, including 3D printing, programs for sequencing treatments, materials for making plates, and remote monitoring of treatment. We’re going through a paradigm shift in the profession, and anyone who doesn’t adapt to the new times is going to be left behind.

Alexandre Moro

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