Teledentistry has benefited the community in the last decade by providing dental care to disadvantaged populations through virtual means. Particularly here in California, our Virtual Dental Home system has allowed practitioners to perform examinations, direct care, and refer properly to regions where dental care is limited. In 2015, the ADA adopted its Comprehensive Policy Statement on Teledentistry, expressing its support of teledentistry and laying out policy on its proper use.
Much more recently, “tele-orthodontics” delivery methods have been formulated in an attempt to provide orthodontic treatment at a lower price point to more patients. However, these companies differ in very different ways to traditional teledentistry services. The primary business owner is not a dentist, the irreversible portion of dental care is not under the direct care of a licensed professional, and the patient is responsible for his or her own treatment. Patients take their own impressions, show doctors treatment progress through selfies, and receive limited contact with their provider. The ADA and AAO have already expressed their opposition to these companies. In 2017, the ADA has released statements labeling these companies as “do-it-yourself orthodontics” and objecting the use of these companies to perform irreversible orthodontic therapy. As an organization that is represents the future dentists and orthodontists in this country, it is important that ASDA take a stance on this issue to protect our patients and to promote the pursuit of a proper tele-orthodontics system that can provide orthodontic treatment at a lower cost; therefore, be it
Resolved, that the American Student Dental Association, in accordance with ADA policy, strongly discourages the practice of Direct to Consumer Dental Laboratory services because of the potential for irreversible harm to patients.