Dental Tribune UK & Ireland

Campaign to raise awareness of DIY orthodontics risks announced

By Dental Tribune UK
September 23, 2019

GLASGOW, UK: At the recent British Orthodontic Conference in Glasgow, the British Orthodontic Society (BOS) and the Oral Health Foundation (OHF) have taken the opportunity to announce their joint plans for a national campaign to warn patients about the risks of direct-to-consumer orthodontics—also known as DIY orthodontics.

According to the organisers, the campaign will advise patients seeking orthodontic treatment to visit a trained clinician, in all circumstances, in order to ensure that they understand the various options open to them and are thus able to make an informed decision. The campaign will be supported by a dedicated website, which is to be launched in December.

The campaign comes in the wake of a recent survey from the BOS that revealed that adult orthodontic patients continue to rise in number. An increase in this patient group is reported by 75% of orthodontists.

“In my professional opinion, if you embark on any orthodontic treatment without a suitably trained clinician taking the time to examine you and make appropriate recommendations, you could be in danger of having serious conditions missed, as well as inappropriate and dangerous treatment carried out,” said Prof. Jonathan Sandler, President of the BOS.

“For me, one of the issues with DIY orthodontics is that it offers just one narrow solution when there may be a more appropriate one for the patient. The value of informed choice cannot be overestimated,” Sandler added.

“As the demand for adult orthodontics increases, so do the options for patients,” said Dr Nigel Carter, OBE, Chief Executive of the OHF. “We are seeing a growth in online companies offering orthodontic treatments at significantly reduced prices. For many patients, it will feel like a sensible, consumer-savvy choice. But this may not be the case.”

“My clinical view is that orthodontics should always involve face-to-face contact with a trained clinical professional. This is to ensure patient safety and the most effective treatment,” Carter continued.

“When carried out correctly, orthodontic treatment can give patients the straight and confident smile they have always dreamed about. We want to make sure that patients are given the very best advice about the safest and most effective way to have orthodontic treatment. This new campaign will make sure patients have a trusted space where they can see the most independent and impartial information available,” he concluded.

In addition to the campaign, the BOS is currently exploring regulatory options in relation to this issue in the hope that the responsible bodies will make a patient safety-led decision.

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