Damage from Online Aligners

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BBC – “Damage from clear aligners ordered online”

The British Orthodontic Society has welcomed the recent article in regard to the dangers of permanent damage from clear braces ordered online that appeared on the BBC website – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58038752

The BBC cited Jamie, a father from Glasgow, who turned to Smile Direct Club (SDC) after previously being quoted £4,000-£6,000 for straightening his teeth. The US-based remote orthodontics company was offering clear aligners for about £1,800 without the need to see a dentist in person.

The BBC reported that ‘According to SDC, its platform has improved access to oral care and "has enabled successful treatment for more than 1.8 million people". The "overwhelming majority" of users have had an "excellent experience".

But Jamie now says he would never do it again. "I can't bite into an apple because I can't trust that my front teeth are strong enough anymore," he says.
Before starting treatment, he was sent a DIY kit to take his own dental impressions. The other option, a 3D scan of his mouth carried out in a Smile Direct Club shop, was unavailable because of lockdown.

Within weeks he'd received a six-month course of aligners, with the name of the dentist overseeing him labelled on the box. But after six months, he posted on Reddit: "One of my front teeth has become wobbly, my enamel feels all funny, like the aligners have rubbed some of it off, the aligners have made my gum recede making it agony."

This was then widely shared in the consumer media including The Times (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/that-instagram-smile-from-remote-braces-may-not-last-warn-dentists-c5p2650st), Daily Mirror (https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/demand-instagram-smiles-causing-dental-29004496) BBC Radio 1 and LBC.

The article supported the position of the British Orthodontic Society (and 31 professional dental and orthodontic societies, associations, and institutions from 25 countries across Europe ¹) that any self-administered and remote treatment cannot be justified from a professional medical perspective and thus represents a serious violation of ethical, medical and dental standards.

Director of External Relations at the BOS, Dr Anjli Patel said, “We are delighted that the message is getting out to patients of the potential harm that can be caused by aligners if not assessed by a dentist in person. All dental treatment should be carried out by a suitably qualified clinician. This means treatment will be as safe and effective as possible.

“It is important that patients are able to distinguish between the delivery of patient care which is clinician led and follows GDC standards versus the delivery of aligners which is what most direct to consumer companies provide.”

As always, the British Orthodontic Society advises those who are considering orthodontic treatment to arrange a consultation with a dentist or orthodontist in order to minimise any risks associated with potential treatment.

¹ Click HERE.