OHF and BOS Warn Patients About “DIY” Orthodontics

Dentistry Today


The Oral Health Foundation (OHF) and the British Orthodontic Society (BOS) will launch a campaign to warn people about the dangers of “do it yourself” orthodontics, or buying braces online without seeing a trained professional. Set to launch in December, it also will provide sensible and practical advice and information about oral, orthodontic, and overall health. 

“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 real danger of having potentially life-threatening conditions misses as well as inappropriate and dangerous treatment carried out,” said BOS president Jonathan Sandler.

“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. If you have a hammer, it is amazing how often everything looks like a nail. The value of informed choice cannot be overestimated,” Sandler 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,” said Dr. Nigel Carter, OBE, chief executive of the OHF.

“Orthodontics should always involve face to face contact with a trained clinical professional. This is to ensure patient safety and the most effective treatment. When carried our correctly, orthodontic treatment can give patients the straight and confident smile they have always dreamed about,” said Carter.

“We want to make sure that patients are given the very best advice about the safest and most effective way to have orthodontics. This new campaign will make sure patients have a trusted space where they can see the most independent and impartial information available,” said Carter.

The American Association of Orthodontists’ position on DIY orthodontics mirrors that of the BOS and OHF, stating 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.

The campaign comes as recent statistics from the BOS reveal that adult orthodontics continues to rise, with 75% or orthodontists reporting an increase in adult private patients. The BOS and OHF also will jointly develop a website aimed at patients seeking information about orthodontic treatment and are exploring regulatory options.

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