by Lauren Travitz

You may or may not know that back in late February some of our team was away in Florida for a few days. The most popular question asked is “What for?”. Well, I am writing to answer that exact question and to share our exciting experience! Not only did we learn A LOT, but we might have squeezed in a little bit of fun too!

For 16 years, Ormco (one of the largest orthodontic manufacturers and providers) has been hosting the Damon Forum. This is a large event to welcome orthodontic professionals who specialize in using the Damon System in their practice. Orthodontists from all over the world come together as a community every year for this annual event to continue their education, share their knowledge and experiences, network with one another, and overall further develop the treatment being given to their patients. At the forum, you will meet many people including orthodontic professionals and some of their staff, current dental students and residents, and some of the most world renowned orthodontists, like Dr. Dwight Damon, founder of the Damon System.

Before going any further, I want to explain a little bit about the Damon System and how it relates not only to us, but to YOU. If you’re a patient of ours, chances are that you’ve most likely heard this term. It sounds pretty familiar right? Dr. Dwight Damon developed and first introduced this system in 1996. This unique system stands out from traditional orthodontics by using a “self-ligating” bracket. This type of bracket has a door to hold the arch wire in place verses an elastic O-tie which is used in traditional orthodontics. Most of our patients understand this concept because we explain this before starting treatment. What most of our patients don’t know is that this isn’t just a bracket that Dr. Damon invented, but instead an entire system that works together as a whole. This system was designed to have less friction and pressure on the teeth by using lighter forces, making your orthodontic experience more comfortable, and ultimately speeding up your treatment time. Our practice was the first in the south-central PA area to put the Damon System to use, starting in the early 2000’s. As you can probably see, since then, we’ve have had many patients (including myself) in and out of the Damon System and end up with amazing results! However, just like everything else in the health industry, the world of orthodontics is always ever changing. We will always want to go further and make your results even better. This brings me back to the sole purpose of the Damon Forum.

Our team had the privilege to listen to Dr. Damon as he gave an incredible three hour presentation on some new thoughts he has and what is to come to the future of the Damon System (shhh… we’re not allowed to say just yet.) Some of the other doctors that were presenting, such as Dr. Frost and Dr. Kozlowski, offered advanced orthodontic knowledge and techniques that we really enjoyed learning about. Among our time at the Forum, our staff and doctors also attended some CE classes to further our education. This included classes on Damon System techniques, infection control protocols, a really fun class on dental photography, and more. This allowed us to gather more information than our brains could hold. Don’t worry, we took notes along the way that way we can put some of this knowledge to use in our own office! Along with the other doctors presenting and teaching, our very own Dr. Lorei had an opportunity to give a presentation of his own this year. This was Dr. Lorei’s first time speaking at the Forum. You could say he was a bit nervous, but he did an outstanding job speaking. We are very proud of him for chasing after his dreams and goals and representing ALO at the forum!

As the saying goes- “Work hard, play hard”. We had a chance for a free day before the Forum began, so our wonderful doctors treated our staff to a team building day at Universal Studios Adventure Island. Even though it was the only day it rained over the course of our trip, we had a BLAST! Together we went shooting up the Hulk rollercoaster, fell into Spiderman’s 3D web, took a tour of Hogwart’s, and conquered the Jurassic adventure at Kong’s Skull Island. The fun didn’t stop there though. During the last evening of the Forum, it is tradition that Ormco hosts a formal dinner and dance of some sort to close off the event with some fun! This year, they hosted a masquerade ball which included a delicious dinner, cocktails, and LOTS of dancing and karaoke, all while everyone was dressed to the nine’s, wearing beautiful masks. Not all of our team members were able to make it to the dance, but for those of us that went we had an unforgettable time dancing the night away!

You could say we were all sad to be leaving the sunny state of Florida, but we were eager to get back and put ourselves to work with all of the new information and techniques we took home with us. Overall, this trip was an incredible learning experience for all of us, including the Doctors. We have gained so much knowledge and have started putting some of this to use in our practice already, little by little. At ALO our goal is to challenge ourselves everyday to be the best we can be, and ultimately make your orthodontic experience the best it can be, because it’s what you, our patients, deserve! Again, we want to thank our generous Doctors, Dr. Lorei and Dr. Apicella, for bringing us along on the ride. Not only did we individually learn and grow at the Damon Forum, but as a team we learned and achieved a stronger ALO.