Campaign to alert patients to the dangers of ‘DIY Ortho’ announced at BOC 2019

24 September 2019
2 min read

This joint campaign will advise patients in all circumstances to visit a trained clinician, ensuring that they have the various options explained so that they can make an informed decision. 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 of orthodontists reporting an increase in adult private patients.  

The BOS is delighted to announce their partnership with the Oral Health Foundation. Both organisations 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.  

“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, commented, “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.

“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.

“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.”

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 interest of the public to have that treatment conducted under the direct and ongoing supervision of a licensed orthodontist.  

Speaking at BOC 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.  This site – to be launched in December 2019 - will be regularly updated and designed to be engaging and informative.  It will include testimonials from various experts alongside patients who can talk about their experiences to bring the issues to life.

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.