State Dental Board Complaints—SmileDirectClub

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) wishes to inform you of recent AAO efforts to protect the public from harm caused by over-the-internet orthodontic devices. The AAO has filed complaints with more than 35 state dental boards and authorities against SmileDirectClub (SDC), alleging specific regulatory and statutory violations.

Each state’s dental laws and regulations are in place to protect the public and the AAO is concerned that SmileDirectClub’s alleged practices are, and will, result in harm to the public. Orthodontists are already seeing certain patients who have had issues, and such patients should be made aware of their state’s dental board patient complaint process.

The AAO has long held the position that it is in the best interest of the public to have orthodontic treatment conducted under the direct, ongoing supervision of a licensed orthodontist. Orthodontic treatment is a professional service and a complex medical process, not a product or device.

As an association, our mission includes improving the health of the public by promoting quality orthodontic care and advocating for the public interest. A patient moving their own teeth with over-the-Internet orthodontic devices puts unacceptable risk on the patient and can cause dental issues.

The complaints filed by AAO are being adjudicated in the respective jurisdictions and the AAO will update the membership on future developments. Just recently, Alaska’s Board of Dental Examiners voted unanimously to send a cease and desist letter to SmileDirectClub, https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/Portals/5/pub/DEN_Minutes_2017.08.pdf (bottom of p. 7).

Given the AAO’s actions, it is neither requesting nor requiring any assistance from the membership with respect to the AAO’s efforts to protect the public well-being. You are of course entitled to exercise your constitutional right as a citizen and individually, and independently, contact your respective state dental board regarding your own thoughts about this public safety matter.

Please be advised that this is an ongoing legal matter, and all inquiries, media or otherwise, should be directed to the AAO. Any necessary inquiries regarding this matter may be sent via email to feedback@aaortho.org.

Thank you for your membership.