With the costs associated of going to an orthodontist for braces in Harrisburg or anywhere else in the US, do-it-yourself orthodontics is becoming more and more popular. Startups like Smile Direct Club are seeing increasing patronage from people, though orthodontists and legislators across the US have called for greater regulation on these companies.
Dr. Andrew Chase of Arch Orthodontics says that there are cases of people who turn to Smile Direct Club, then require tens of thousands of dentistry needed later down the line due to complications with DIY orthodontics, calling it a high-risk sport, which is also counterproductive given that people turn to DIY orthodontics to avoid the usual costs of going to an orthodontist for braces in Harrisburg or anywhere.
The Attorney General has also received complaints regarding Smile Direct Club from 36 different states across the US. State and national orthodontist associations have also received complaints.
Lawsuits and countersuits have also been filed, like the letter sent by 9 members of the US House of Representatives to the Food and Drug Association as well as the Federal Trade Commission, which expressed the representatives’ concerns with DIY orthodontics.
Medicaid Orthodontists of Massachusetts President Dr. Mouhab Rizkallah stated that these complaints didn’t make their concerns legitimate, but the fact that x-rays were not being taken, and there was no way to ensure that the Board of Registration in Dentistry’s regulations were followed, due to the lack of an in-person doctor, is an issue.
Smile Direct Club spoke on the matter, admitting that they have been investigated by 36 states, but have noted that no dental board has actually taken any sort of final action against them for malpractice, because they are not doing so.
The company refused to speak about specific cases due to patient privacy laws, but that patients do have remote check-ins once every 90 days. They added that they’re not going to make changes with their current operations due to the complaints.
The dentists and orthodontists that have filed complaints against Smile Direct Club stated that they don’t actually want the company gone, but that they feel that increased regulations on the startup is needed in order to make sure that patients are safe. Otherwise, the medical experts say, this could lead to further complications, which will result in customers having to spend more than whatever they should have.