Dentists urge patients to shun cheap braces available to buy online

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Dentists and dental bodies are encouraging patients to shun cheap braces, which are available to buy online. 

A growing number of products has appeared online, and companies are targeting patients who want straighter teeth without paying a fortune. Marketed as a cheap alternative to braces provided by orthodontists, a raft of new aligners is now available for customers to buy without seeing a dentist in the flesh. The products, which cost up to £1,500 less than other aligners, are advertised on TV, and people can also gather information about the treatments and view images via social media. 

The attraction of buying inexpensive clear braces online is evident for those looking to save money, but dentists are keen to point out that there are risks associated with undergoing treatment without professional supervision. Dentists and orthodontists train for several years to administer treatment to patients, and those ordering braces online are at risk of sustaining dental health issues and finding that their braces aren’t effective. 

Dr Saaqib Ali, from Sherwood Dental Practice in Birmingham, said that dentists are seeing more and more patients who have come to them because of problems caused by loose, ill-fitting, poor quality braces they have purchased online. Dr Ali revealed that he had advised a patient against having braces two years ago due to bone loss and severe gum disease, only to see the same patient who had returned because he needed treatment for bleeding gums and pain after using a DIY aligner service. Braces apply pressure to the teeth, and they had caused the patient’s gum disease to become more advanced and accelerated bone loss, causing some of the teeth to come loose.

The advice from dentists and the British Dental Association and the British Orthodontic Society is to avoid DIY braces at all costs and to see an experienced, professional dentist. The General Dental Council is currently gathering evidence about the safety of ‘direct-to-consumer orthodontics.’

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