19 September 2019

The Oral Health Foundation and the British Orthodontic Society (BOS) have today announced their plans for a national campaign to warn people about the dangers of DIY Orthodontics.

The joint campaign, announced at the British Orthodontic Conference in Glasgow, is set to launch in January 2020.

The project will warn against the dangers of buying braces online, without seeing a trained professional.

It will also focus on giving sensible and practical advice and information about oral, orthodontic and overall health.

Jonathan Sandler, BOS President, said: “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 real danger of having potentially life-threatening conditions missed, as well as inappropriate and dangerous treatment carried out.

“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 – if you have a hammer, it is amazing how often everything looks like a nail. 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.

“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 orthodontics.

“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.

The campaign comes as recent stats from BOS reveal adult orthodontics continues to rise with three quarters (75%) of orthodontists reporting an increase in adult private patients.

The BOS and the Oral Health Foundation will jointly develop a website aimed at anyone seeking information about orthodontic treatment.

Both organisations are also exploring regulatory options in relation to this issue and hope that the appropriate bodies will take a patient safety led decision.