Week in Review: Battles continue over DTC orthodontics | FTC ruling in distributor case | What to know about vaping

This past week saw major battles erupt in the ongoing struggle over direct-to-consumer (DTC) orthodontics, in particular involving the segment's major player, SmileDirectClub.

The first skirmish erupted in California, where that state became the first in the U.S. to pass a law that aims to better protect patients who undergo DTC orthodontic treatments by requiring x-rays and more before moving ahead with care.

The other shoe dropped on Thursday, when SmileDirectClub filed a lawsuit against the California Board of Dentistry, claiming that the board has harassed the company in an effort to hinder its growth. The complaint in the case accuses members of the board of posing as potential customers and conducting "coordinated raids" of the company's brick-and-mortar stores and mobile vans.

Another major legal story this past week involved the three biggest distributors in the U.S. (Benco, Patterson, and Schein) as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handed down a mixed ruling in a trial that began in October. Patterson and Benco will likely make sure this isn't the last we've heard about this case either. If so, we will keep you informed on the latest twists and turns.

We're also keeping an eye on the news in regard to vaping and what health professionals -- including dentists and dental team members -- should know about the ever-evolving trend. Speaking of trends, let's not forget the growth of the group practices. We have the latest numbers on their recent expansions.

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