Dr Luca Lombardo
When did you start to practice lingual technique and why ?
I began using the lingual technique in 2005, when I joined the University of Ferrara Postgraduate School of Orthodontics. In fact, in this University the lingual technique is taught by non other than Giuseppe Scuzzo and Kyoto Takemoto, in their role as adjunct professors.
These luminaries inspired me with their passion for this discipline, and, thanks to the Postgraduate School’s Clinic, I was immediately able to put their teachings into practice, eventually coming to know the technique well.
I must admit, however, that at first I was a little daunted by the inherent practical difficulties of working on the lingual side. Nevertheless, as lingual devices evolved and the mechanics became easier to handle, I took courage and began to take on ever-more complex cases.
Where is your practice, what is the pourcentage of lingual treatment in your practice ?
I still practice lingual orthodontics at the University of Ferrara Postgraduate School Clinic, where the majority of adult patients opt to be treated with lingual appliances.
Thus far, I have to say, I have been very pleased with the results, and my patients have been extremely enthusiastic – after the first few days of discomfort after fitting, they have all responded well, whatever the degree of their initial malocclusion.
This has led me to consider lingual orthodontics as my first choice when called upon to treat adult patients.
You are the new President of the Italian Lingual orthodontic society.
Could you give us some information: How many members, how many meetings, etc.. Is Lingual orthodontics well developed in Italy?
I was elected Chair of the Italian Lingual Orthodontics Association a few days ago, a great honour considering the fact that among my predecessors are several of the most illustrious and esteemed lingual orthodontists in the world.
At present, the Association holds one meeting a year, and numbers over 110 members, although one of our primary aims is to raise the profile of the organization. This is something that the new Board takes particularly to heart, and we are especially interested in recruiting younger members.
Currently, lingual orthodontics tends to be seen as a niche market, a technique offered by a few select practitioners – we aim to overturn this belief by demonstrating that even newly qualified orthodontists can achieve excellent results.
One of the ways in which we intend to go about this is to organize a series of study clubs, which members can come along to and pool their knowledge, exchanging their ideas, experience and results.
We are also planning to revamp the Association website and introduce a regular newsletter to keep members informed of developments. Although we are well aware this will not be easy, we also hope to use the new website to actively promote lingual orthodontics among the end users – the patients – a goal that we consider of primary importance.
You are doing research at the Ferrara University. Could you tell us the topics of your research?
One of the most avidly pursued areas of research at Ferrara Postgraduate School is, in fact, lingual orthodontics.
We decided to approach this topic from various angles, and thus far we have published articles on adhesion force (World Journal of Orthodontics), inter-bracket distances (International Orthodontics), friction (in press), arch form (American Journal of Orthodontics and Journal of Clinical Orthodontics), the use of the square slot (Journal of Clinical Orthodontics) and incisor intrusion (Progress in Orthodontics).
At present we are concentrating our efforts on elucidating the specific properties of orthodontic archwires and the play between the wire and the bracket slot.
We are also in the process of wrapping up several studies on the bacterial flora of patients treated with labial and lingual appliances, and we are continuing to study the effect of ethnicity on the shape of the dental arcades.
What will be the title of your lecture and could you give us some details of your lecture ?
I have chosen to discuss “The Importance of Biomechanics in Clinical Practice”, a talk in which I will explain the research we have been focussing on of late, how our findings are related daily to clinical practice, and therefore what influence they can have on treatment strategies.
Too often at conferences we are treated to first-class clinicians showing us their results, the fruits of their skill, experience and intuition, but in order to ‘standardize’ the procedures they used to achieve such results, thereby making them available to a wider group of patients, they need to be backed up by strong scientific evidence.
For this reason I have chosen to emphasize the importance of biomechanics research in influencing clinical practice.
In your opinion, what is the future of lingual orthodontics ? In which direction should we concentrate our attention ?
I’m sure that lingual orthodontics has a glowing future – the efforts of recent years to perfect and simplify lingual appliances and techniques are opening this discipline up to a wider audience, and an ever growing number of clinicians are discovering the benefits of offering this approach to their patients.
New generations of orthodontists are starting to comprehend that they cannot be considered good ‘all-rounders’ without familiarity with this technique, and increasing numbers of patients will doubtless begin to see the benefits of this aesthetic solution to their orthodontic problems.
However, this is precisely the challenge: to increase awareness among members of the public, who are currently largely unaware of the advantages of lingual appliances.
This is something that needs to be addressed decisively, so that in the future lingual orthodontics becomes as ‘conventional’ as removable appliances and labial orthodontics.