AAO highlights risks of mail-order orthodontics

Clear Aligner

A growing number of patients are seeking care from orthodontists for retreatment after using mail-order aligners, according to the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO).

In a recent survey of its member orthodontists, the AAO reported that 77% of respondents said they had been consulted by patients for retreatment after using mail-order treatments that did not include a prior in-person examination. 

"It sounds almost too good to be true: the convenience of orthodontic treatment without ever having to leave your home or see an orthodontist or dentist in person," said Dr. Ken Dillehay, MS, president of the AAO, in a news release

The AAO released the findings in conjunction with World Orthodontic Health Day on May 15 to highlight the health and financial risks that are concerning AAO members. 

Many mail-order orthodontic companies market treatments (especially straightening the front teeth) as "cosmetic," but moving teeth is a medical procedure that involves complex biological processes that should be monitored in person by a trained dental professional, the AAO said. 

The AAO called on orthodontists to inform their lawmakers about the AAO’s survey findings and the potential financial and health risks of mail-order orthodontics.

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