CHICAGO, December 12, 2023 — In light of recent news reports concerning a direct-to-consumer (DTC) manufacturer and marketer of teeth aligners, the American Dental Association (ADA) reaffirms its policy which strongly opposes offers of direct-to-consumer dentistry because of the potential for irreversible harm to individuals, who are treated as “customers” rather than as patients. Under virtually all states’ laws and as is reflected in ADA Policy, the dentist is ultimately responsible for the patient’s care and is the only individual licensed and qualified to accept responsibility.
Moving teeth without knowing all aspects of a patient’s oral condition has the potential to cause bone loss, lost teeth, receding gums, bite problems, jaw pain, and other damaging and permanent issues. Without the involvement of a licensed dentist, patients lose an essential quality control checkpoint—their dentist—to ensure all aspects of their treatment are performed and are progressing in the best interests of the patient. Supporting dentists in providing quality care to patients for optimal oral and overall health is at the core of the ADA’s mission. The ADA’s primary concern around DTC dentistry has always been patient safety, first and foremost.
The ADA and its members are committed to patients, and no patient should be abandoned or left behind. ADA encourages any individual who will no longer have access to customer service—or is considering other DTC dental products or services—to speak with a dentist in their area. Oral health and overall health are deeply connected, and the ADA encourages all patients to find a dentist they can visit regularly.