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FDS statement on DIY aligners

27 Jan 2023

The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England welcomes recent media reports highlighting the problems that patients have experienced when undertaking orthodontic treatment with so-called ‘DIY aligner systems’ ordered online. This type of remote treatment involves the patient sending impressions and photographs of their teeth to an online provider who then sends them a series of removable orthodontic aligners to straighten their teeth.

The lack of a formal clinical or radiographic examination means that appropriate diagnosis and treatment planning is impossible and any underlying dental/gum disease or pathology will often remain undiagnosed. Worryingly, these aligners are designed without any direct contact with the patient. They attempt to simply straighten teeth with little or no consideration for the bite or relationship of the teeth to each other.

Manufacturers of these DIY aligner systems falsely claim that they are able to straighten teeth faster than conventional braces provided by a trained orthodontist. These assertions are completely untrue and highly misleading for patients. Orthodontic treatment undertaken without a direct examination of the patient by an appropriately trained dentist or orthodontist along with proper diagnosis and regular clinical monitoring of treatment progress can lead to significant irreversible damage to a patient’s teeth and gums.

The use of DIY aligners is potentially hazardous to patients. The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) and the Oral Health Foundation launched the “Safe Smiles” campaign last year to help patients make safer choices when it comes to their dental and orthodontic treatment - see for further information.

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