BOS Welcomes GDC Statement on DIY Orthodontics

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BOS “wholeheartedly welcomes” GDC statement on DIY orthodontics

The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) wholeheartedly welcomes the GDC statement and accompanying guidance for both patients and professionals regarding direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment.

BOS members have long warned of concerns about direct-to-consumer orthodontics. The most recent members’ survey from last month (April 2021) showed that 82% of members were concerned about more patients seeking DIY orthodontics during the pandemic; and 98.92% wanted to see the GDC take action.

In a statement released yesterday (13th may) the GDC backs the long-held stance of BOS and has reiterated that: “In line with current authoritative clinical guidance, and orthodontic training, clinical judgements about the suitability of a proposed course of orthodontic treatment must be based on a full assessment of the patient’s oral health.

“At present, there is no effective substitute for a physical, clinical examination as the foundation for that assessment.”

The statement went on to remind direct-to-consumer providers, dentists and others that: “The GDC is aware of an increasing number of organisations offering services remotely, including ‘direct-to-consumer’ orthodontics using clear aligners. These services fall within the legal definition of dentistry so can only be performed by dentists and dental care professionals who are registered with the GDC.

“All dental professionals must adhere to the GDC’s Standards for the Dental Team. Anybody practising dentistry while not registered with the GDC could be subject to prosecution for illegal practice.”

BOS Director of External Relations, Anjli Patel said: “Today’s announcement is about the most fundamental element of healthcare – patient safety. We are delighted that our concerns have been heard by the GDC and acted upon.

“However, as the voice of orthodontics in the UK, we still have reservations about how any wrongdoing by DIY orthodontic companies could be picked up by authorities, and we don’t want patients falling through regulatory cracks. Patients don’t know what they don’t know – we will endeavour to give them all the facts.

“The GDC also included information for registrants to support their statement and ensure that they have met all the Standards of the Dental Team. Whether a consultation is in person or remote, responsibility rests with the GDC registrant who prescribes the treatment.”

Anjli added: “The guidance for patients  is particularly appreciated and we would recommend to our members and the wider dental community that these be shared widely on social media so as many patients/potential patients can consider what questions they should be asking.

“The BOS first duty of care is to patients – the charity’s ultimate beneficiaries are patients, and benefits to patients are provided through the advancement of knowledge, practice and standards. The Society advises that anyone seeking orthodontic treatment should speak to a dentist or orthodontist first.”