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A Half-Century of Excellence

This issue of the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics represents a landmark in orthodontic history: the 50th anniversary of our publication. Fifty years ago this month, Dr. Eugene Gottlieb, our founding Editor, launched the Journal of Practical Orthodontics with the stated intent of providing the specialty with a truly practical journal, one that focused on the day-to-day practice of orthodontics along with the business aspects of conducting a successful practice. The name was changed to the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics early on. Unlike the leading journals of the time, JCO was more concerned with “real orthodontics” as seen through the eyes of the private practitioner—the doctor who made a living by delivering orthodontic care to very real patients every day—rather than the more arcane academic subjects such as cranio­facial growth, vector analysis, and materials sciences.

The past 50 years have seen tremendous progress in the field of orthodontics. We’ve gone from full-banded edgewise appliances, with the bands pinched, welded, and soldered and the wires bent by hand, to bracket systems that are bonded directly to the teeth and alloyed archwires with almost magical properties of temperature-dependent moduli of elasticity, all the way to “braceless orthodontics” involving computer-designed plastic aligners, digital photography, intraoral scanners, and direct skeletal anchorage. JCO has been there for all of it. Even considering its more practical mission, no other publication has introduced more new technology to the specialty than has the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics.

Similar articles from the archive:

In preparation for our 50th Anniversary Issue, our editorial board was asked to decide which articles in our rich history could be considered classics. Which papers, published in our pages, made significant differences in the way orthodontics was practiced? We settled on about two dozen articles that were recognized by just about everyone as having had a lasting effect on the profession. These classic articles represented every decade of the journal’s existence and most of JCO’s popular depart­ments: Interviews, Roundtables, Overviews, Case Reports, Management & Marketing, Orthodontic Office Design, and Cutting Edge. We even conducted a special Readers’ Corner survey for the anniversary.

Each of the landmark articles is introduced by a current expert in the related field. In recruiting authors for these commentaries, we approached not only members of our own editorial board, but both past Editors of JCO and the editors of the world’s leading orthodontic journals. Everyone responded enthusiastically to the assignment. We told them we would reproduce the cover page and several pertinent figures from the original article, but we didn’t give them strict instructions for writing their essays. We simply said they “should cover the historical significance of the article, how it affected the way orthodontics is practiced, and how the technique or appliance has evolved up to the present,” and we asked them to relate their personal experience with the original author or article. I found it interesting that they developed a number of different approaches to their essays, which make for engaging reading in their own right.

As I re-read these classics (which you can find in full in our Online Archive, if you have not preserved all your back issues), it was indeed a trip down memory lane for me. I am sure many of you will agree that it was like visiting old friends. I vividly remember reading each article either at the time of its initial publication or, if it was published before my time, in our literature review course during my residency. In fact, many of the papers we have published over the last 50 years are on the required reading list for orthodontic specialty training programs the world over. I can’t imagine a higher honor for any professional publication.

Serving on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics has certainly been the highlight of my own orthodontic career. A quick review of my C.V. indicates that I was asked to join the board more than 26 years ago. I assumed the position of Editor in 2002, 15 years ago, following my old friend and mentor, Dr. Larry White. My heartfelt thanks to all of our readers, new and old, and the senior editorial staff of JCO for granting me the opportunity to serve this distinguished journal as an editorial board member for more than half its life. I would also like to thank our advertisers as well as our subscribers—some of whom have been with us since the beginning—and the many authors who have trusted us with their valuable material. Without all of them, we couldn’t publish the journal. Finally, I want to recognize and extend my personal thanks to the JCO staff for putting this 50th Anniversary Issue together: David Vogels, our Executive Editor; Lisa Hauk, our former Managing Editor; and Irina Lef, our Art Director, who came up with an entirely new design specially for this edition. Personally, I think it looks great. Here’s to the next 50 years!




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