Patient warning on DIY orthodontics

A NATIONAL campaign to warn people about the dangers of DIY orthodontics will be launched this December by the Oral Health Foundation and the British Orthodontic Society (BOS).

The campaign will warn against the dangers of buying braces online without seeing a trained professional. It will also focus on giving sensible and practical advice/information about oral, orthodontic and overall health.

The BOS recently released a statement in regard to websites now offering patients the opportunity to carry out orthodontic treatment at home. Most involve an individual being "assessed" as to their suitability for treatment using "selfie" photographs taken via mobile phone and then (on payment) having the appliance sent direct. Most take the form of a series of aligner-type appliances.

The BOS warns: "Unsupervised treatment may result in a sub-optimal outcome and the need for further treatment, or in the worst case scenario, cause permanent damage to dental health.

"A full clinical examination by a trained clinician is necessary to decide if orthodontic treatment is in the best interests of an individual."

The BOS and the Oral Health Foundation will jointly develop a website aimed at anyone seeking information about orthodontic treatment. Both organisations are also exploring regulatory options in relation to this issue and hope that the appropriate bodies will take a patient safety led decision.

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.

"Orthodontics should always involve face-to-face contact with a trained clinical professional. This is to ensure patient safety and the most effective treatment."