GDC issues statement on direct-to-consumer orthodontics

THE GDC has published an updated statement on direct-to-consumer orthodontics, reaffirming that at present there is no effective substitute for a physical examination as the foundation for clinical assessment.

The statement has been issued with supporting guidance for dental professionals and information for the public.

The GDC document sets out three main requirements. First, that clinical judgements about the suitability of proposed orthodontic treatment must be based on a full assessment of the patient’s oral health, and the responsibility for that judgement rests wholly with the prescribing dentist.

It states further that direct interaction between patient and practitioner, whether in person or remotely, is essential for valid and informed patient consent. Patients must also know the full name and be able to make direct contact with the dental professional responsible for their treatment.

GDC executive director of strategy, Stefan Czerniawski, said: "Traditionally, healthcare is delivered in person - patient and clinician sitting in the same room discussing treatment options and agreeing on a way forward. New technology is challenging that norm and we support innovation wherever it safely brings benefits to the patient. But safety is absolutely key and new ways of doing things must not compromise well-established safety measures which are designed to protect patients.

"Our statement highlights a number of issues that dental professionals working in remote models of treatment will need to consider. One of the main things to remember though, as is the case in any other setting, it remains the treating dentist who is responsible for ensuring they have met all of the Standards for the Dental Team."

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