As drug stores push “DIY braces,” Tampa dentists warn of dangers
Dentists brace to treat patients suffering from damage
TAMPA, Fla --- With “do-it-yourself” orthodontics on the rise in Tampa Bay, local dentists are bracing to see more patients suffering from damage to their teeth.
“DIY dentistry is becoming more popular and the trend is alarming. As dentists, it’s time for us to speak out to protect our patients’ health,” Derek Diasti, CEO of Coast Dental and Orthodontics said.
Just months ago, CVS announced plans to open “Smile Shops” at more than 100 stores nationwide, connecting people with “mail order” orthodontics from the company, Smile Direct. Two of those stores are now open in the Tampa Bay area - one on Dale Mabry and another in Brandon.
“People are hoping to save money with “mail order” aligners, but we’re seeing the opposite. If those aligners aren’t a perfect fit, it can cause serious oral damage and infections. Treating a patient without supervision is dangerous,” Derek Diasti, CEO of Coast Dental and Orthodontics said.
The American Dental Association strongly discourages the practice of do-it-yourself orthodontics because of the potential for harm to patients. Companies, like Smile Direct, encourage patients to skip a visit to the orthodontist and do at-home impression kits for clear aligners.
“While these 3D images are reviewed remotely by a licensed orthodontist, the loss of in-person care is concerning. That lack of oversight can cause problems that cost patients thousands of dollars to correct,” Derek Diasti, CEO of Coast Dental and Orthodontics said.
In April, the American Dental Association filed a citizen petition with the Food and Drug Administration regarding the dangers of direct-to-consumer orthodontic aligners. In addition, the American Association of Orthodontists, which represents about 19,000 members in the U.S. and abroad, has issued a consumer alert warning people of direct-to-patient orthodontic companies like SmileDirectClub, Candid Co. and SmileLove.
Dentists are encouraging patients harmed by mail-order braces to file an individual complaint on the FDA’s MedWatch Voluntary Reporting Form.