Editorial: Just Horsing Around

Editorial: Just Horsing Around

William E. Stein, D.D.S.*:
When I was a little kid, I would say this prayer every night before I went to sleep:
May God bless Mommy and Daddy and Billy (Me!) And Gretchen and Jon (…my siblings…) AND ALL OF NATURE’S ANIMALS!
 
Selfish as I was, I have always thanked God for the wonderful critters that share our lives. Our cover story concerns equine dentistry. My wife Terry is a big (or actually, little) horse person. She  spent her summers on her grandmother’s Shetland pony ranch on the shores of Rush Lake near Braham. She’s a great rider. 
 
I grew up in Mendota Heights when it was very rural. We had an old  farmer who would come twice a summer and cut the hay off our lower lot with a team of Belgian draft horses. There was a meadow at the end of our road where a family kept their six riding horses.  My buddies and I, having spent hours watching the Disney fantasy dude ranch saga “The Adventures of Spin and Marty”, were led to assume that horses were docile creatures whose greatest  pleasure was to train city kids into becoming not only great riders but fearless cowboys. That didn’t work out so well for me, as any time I would approach the stallion, “Sox”, with a handful of clover  or even an apple or carrot, he would gratefully accept my offering and then viciously bite me on my prepubescent thigh. In the words of Sherlock Holmes, “Horses! They’re dangerous at both ends  and crafty in the middle.” 
 
Fast forward 30 years later. I was coming up with an article idea for the journal. There was a dentist who raised championship quarter horses, and one of his intended prime breeders had an under  bite, or as we would say, a “pseudoclass III”. I was alerted to this situation by a friend who ran an orthodontic lab specializing in “functional orthopedic appliances”, and he showed me the massive  stone working model, evidently taken by an equine dentist, upon which the appliance would be built to correct the under bite. I took photos and set off gleefully wringing my hands at the  groundbreaking article that would appear in Northwest Dentistry.
 
Not so fast: The dentist/owner informed us that he (or she) was treading on thin ethical ice, as the buyers of the foals of this equine wonder would assume this parent had a perfect bite, and he or  she was not prepared to disclose that “Secretariat the Second” used to resemble a member of the Hapsburg clan. (Thank you, Dr. Gorlin.) 
 
So sit back and enjoy the article on how far equine dentistry has come.
 
We have wonderful news concerning Northwest Dentistry. We will now be an officially peer reviewed dental journal thanks to the good work of Dr. Tom Larson, who has established an impressive  staff of reviewers who will work with potential authors so that their works will have impeccable scientifi c credence having been published here. Of course, this will only serve to attract more high  quality scientific articles to the journal. 
 
And speaking again of scientific articles, this issue is pleased to offer for your consideration the consummate article on evidence-based dentistry by Dr. Gary Anderson and company. Personally, I  have always thought that I have been practicing evidence-based dentistry for the last 40 years. If I attended a course and tried a technique and it did or didn’t work, that was evidence enough for  me. The basement is full of promising inventions that didn’t work as touted. 
 
As Gordon Christensen has taught us, “The only true success is clinical success.” I thank Dr. Anderson for defining EBD for me. Some say EBD is “The wave of the future”; some say “EBD is a solution  in search of a problem.” Whatever the case, EBD has caused me to use two clichés in one paragraph, something I have pledged to avoid like the plague. 
 
So if you have been tossing and turning, sleepless at night, trying to come to grips with where you should make your stand on evidence-based dentistry, we have your answer. As for me, I’m going  musky fishing.
 
*Dr. Stein is Executive Editor of Northwest Dentistry. He is a general dentist in private practice in Aitkin, Minnesota, AitkinDent@AOL.com