Chalk it Up to Experience

Chalk it Up to Experience

They say experience is the best teacher.

In the case of Dr. Robert Borkowski, teaching is also great experience. As a pioneer in modern orthodontics, he has been treating patients and teaching students before he even graduated from Georgetown University.

“When I was a resident I was asked to teach general dental students in orthodontics,” said Dr. Borkowski, owner of Renown Orthodontics. “Then, after I graduated I was invited back to teach one day each week, while I was opening my own practice.”

It’s one thing to simply gain experience through practicing, but to be engaged in the responsibilities of teaching, answering colleague’s tough questions, is quite another. Dr. Borkowski has had quite an impact on decades of students, having been invited to their home countries to speak about orthodontic topics.

Thus began a career-long love of research and teaching, and as a result, Dr. Borkowski has been requested to speak globally for many years, lecturing to thousands.

“A teacher is held to a different level of understanding,” said Dr. Borkowski. “Orthodontists all over the world are so meticulous in their approach to treatment, you find that you have to know more than if you just stay in your own office.”

It wasn’t long before he began consulting with other innovative orthodontists as well. Dr. Dwight Damon called Dr. Borkowski to consult with him about his previous research and how it related to a new system that Dr. Damon had developed which reduces friction between wires and brackets, making tooth movement more efficient, but more importantly, more comfortable for the patient. The Damon system, as it is now known, was game changing as far as the world of orthodontics was concerned.

“After meeting with Dr. Damon, I went back to my own practice and immediately stopped using the old conventional system,” said Dr. Borkowski. “ I knew I would be short-changing my patients if I didn’t use the Damon system.”

Because research had provided him with a deeper understanding of the force systems that drive the Damon system, Dr. Borkowski knew how to best make it work for his patients.

“I had already done a great deal of research on force systems. But it’s not enough to only know the information. You have to know how to best apply it,” said Dr. Borkowski.

As a result, not only was Dr. Borkowski closely involved in the development of the Damon system, he was one of the original leading international speakers, lecturing in over 30 countries worldwide.

In fact, now that the patents have run out, several orthodontic companies are producing something similar to the Damon system, which has now come to be known as a Passive Self-Ligating (PSL) system, but Dr. Borkowski says that there are nuances to the Damon system that make it the PSL leader.

“The depth of experience and research I’ve done over the years on the Damon system have demonstrated it to be able to far surpass conventional orthodontics when it comes to the patient’s overall experience.”

The other thing that makes a huge difference in his practice is having a staff that is well educated in the Damon system. That is critical as to how patients are treated. His staff is knowledgeable, experienced and talented in the application of Damon principles.

“I’m so thankful to find such a remarkable staff,” says Dr. Borkowski. “They are an amazing team and have been instrumental in anticipating, confronting and overcoming the challenges of starting a new practice.”

After such an illustrious career, one might wonder why Dr. Borkowski doesn’t just rest on his vast array of laurels.

“When I decided to open Renown Orthodontics, I had a friend ask me ‘Why don’t you just relax and float casually downstream?’”, said Dr. Borkowski. “After that, I thought about getting a tattoo over my heart, but in reverse script, so that I can read it in the mirror every morning for inspiration: No, I don’t float casually downstream.”

Dr. Borkowski went on to say that this is a very exciting time in Orthodontics, with procedures and theories changing more rapidly than ever. Yes, we’ve come a long way in integrating so many fields of science, from Biology and Physiology to Engineering and Metallurgy, but there is still a lot more to learn and discover.

“As a profession, we have come so far,” said Dr. Borkowski. “I’m excited to see and be a part of what’s next. New technologies, such as Invisalign and Propel, the former of which can make treatment more cosmetically acceptable, and the latter which can drastically reduce treatment times, are on the verge of changing how we think about patient care.”

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