It was early 1990s. I was a 5-year-old boy when my mom brought the big box from her work to our studio apartment in Moscow. It was a humanitarian aid from the U.S. The Soviet Union had just collapsed and people were experiencing difficulties with consumer goods. But there was something in that cardboard box that excited me much more than American food and clothing. It was a brand-new baseball mitt and a ball.
The whole summer, my friend and I were throwing the ball to one another, pretending we were playing baseball. We knew no rules and had never watched a single game on TV. But we called ourselves baseball players.
At the very same time, post-Soviet dentists began to experiment with marvelous appliances that they never saw before. Contemporary bracket systems just came to market. Soon after, these dentists started to call themselves orthodontists. They mistakenly named the new specialty “Orthodontiya”, throwing themselves back into the times of Edward H. Angle and stepped on the thorny path of trial and error…
I gained a degree in general dentistry from the Moscow Medical Academy in 2009. Couple of years later, I enrolled to a postgraduate program in orthodontiya at the Central Research Institute of Dental Surgery in Moscow. If you have never experienced the difference between ‘orthodontiya’ and ‘orthodontics’ there is no point in telling you about it: you won’t understand anyway. And for anyone who has, I do not even want to call it to mind.
I will state briefly: after two years practicing ‘orthodontiya’ in Moscow I felt deficiency in knowledge and need for additional learning. With this in mind I found myself in a plane travelling from Moscow to New York.
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