Campaign to alert patients to the dangers of ‘DIY Ortho’

Campaign to alert patients to the dangers of ‘DIY Ortho’

The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) and Oral Health Foundation have announced their plans for a national campaign to warn patients about the risks of direct to consumer orthodontics – also known as DIY Orthodontics. It will advise patients to visit a trained clinician so that they have the various options open to them explained.  The website is to be launched in December 2019.

The Campaign comes as recent statistics from BOS reveal adult orthodontics continues to rise with three quarters (75%) of orthodontists reporting an increase in adult private patients.  Both the BOS and Oral Health Foundation will provide patients with expert information that relates to their oral, orthodontic and overall health. By bringing the expertise of the two organisations together on this issue, it will empower patients to make the right choices.

Jonathan Sandler, BOS President, said: “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. 

He continued: 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 over-estimated.”

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation said:

“As the demand for adult orthodontics increases, so do the options for patients.  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”.

The American Association of Orthodontics long-held position mirrors that of the BOS and the Oral Health Foundation.  They state that orthodontic treatment is a complex medical process and that it is in the best, and safest, interest of the public to have that treatment conducted under the direct and ongoing supervision of a licensed orthodontist. 

Speaking at British Orthodontic Conference, 2019, Dr Jay Bowman, talked about the landscape in the USA regarding DIY Ortho.  He said: “I share many of the same concerns about direct-to-consumer treatments as have been voiced by the American Association of Orthodontists, the American Dental Association, and many U.S. State dental boards and legislators.

“It is my opinion that comprehensive diagnostic records and an in-person examination should be performed prior to embarking upon treatment.   I am also unconvinced that orthodontic progress follow-up and resolution of patient concerns can be handled only by so-called tele-dentistry.   In other words, ask yourself, what other transforming dental or medical treatment would you undergo, without an in-person evaluation or supervision by a medical professional?”

The BOS and the Oral Health Foundation will jointly develop a website aimed at anyone seeking information about orthodontic treatment, to be launched in December 2019.  In addition to the campaign, the BOS is currently exploring regulatory options in relation to this issue and hope that the appropriate bodies will take a patient safety led decision.

Raj Kumar
DIY ortho NOT


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