The Oral Health Foundation and British Orthodontic Society have launched Safe Brace (www.safebrace.org) - a campaign to give people a trusted space they can go to for expert advice on getting braces and orthodontic treatment.
The launch of Safe Brace follows a statement from the General Dental Council (GDC) expressing concerns over direct-to-consumer orthodontics and stressing the importance of always seeing a trained profession face-to-face when seeking dental treatment.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said: 'We are highly concerned by the growth of companies offering orthodontic treatment online. Many of these providers lure people in with cheap prices and the promise of fast results.
'Straightening teeth is a highly complex medical procedure and should only be carried out by a dentist or orthodontist. These face-to-face appointments are essential. They allow for a patient to be fully assessed by a qualified professional who can help guide them arrive at the most appropriate treatment for their needs. Importantly, the dentist will also be able to monitor a person's progress throughout the course of their treatment and make adjustments to the appliance when needed.
'By visiting a trained clinician, patients will get a full examination and have a range of different treatment options explained to them. This will put the patient in a great position to get the best results in a safe and effective environment. It will also mean that the treatment is more likely to meet a patient's expectations.
'The consequences of ill-fitting braces are hefty and can leave a person with permanent damage to their teeth, gums and jaw. As part of Safe Brace, we will be working alongside the British Orthodontic Society to protect the health of all people undergoing dental treatment.'
Recent statistics from the British Orthodontic Society highlight the rise in demand for orthodontic treatment in Britain. According to the charity, three in four (75%) of orthodontists report an increase in adult private patients.
Professor Jonathan Sandler, President of the British Orthodontic Society, 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.
'What other transforming dental or medical treatment would you undergo, without an in-person evaluation or supervision by a medical professional?
'For me, one of the issues with 'DIY Braces' 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.'
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New Safe Brace campaign alerts patients to the dangers of 'DIY Braces'. BDJ Student 27, 6 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41406-020-0133-y