The British Orthodontic Society recently published this press release announcing a new campaign to warn patients about the risks of DIY Ortho … we felt it was really worth sharing as the dangers are very real.

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

DIY Ortho

The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) and Oral Health Foundation announce their plans for a national campaign to warn patients about the risks of direct to consumer orthodontics – also known as DIY Ortho – at BOC 2019 in Glasgow.

  • This joint campaign will advise patients in all circumstances to visit a trained clinician ensuring that they have the various options open to them explained so 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 (75%) of orthodontists reporting an increase in adult private patients. 

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.  

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”.

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

Dr Jay Bowman, talked at BOC 2019 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. 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.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from the BOS. The survey was carried out online. The BOS membership is open to dentists and orthodontists. Members of BOS work in a variety of settings, from hospital to high street practice, from academia to community clinics.

For more details on the danger of these treatments, or if you would like a second opinion on treatment that you have bought this way please feel free to contact us