Monday , July 26 2021

The invisible home aligner industry is booming, but orthodontists warn of dangers

"Even if the immediate results look good, the teeth and the bite may not be in a stable position and go back, and there may also be muscular and mandibular problems."


EZ Smile has modeled itself on the great American player SmilesDirectClub, which has opened the way to the invisible aligner industry at home, but has also triggered a wave of consumer warnings.

After passing a quick quiz on dental history, customers can purchase a footprint kit, make molds at home and send them to a laboratory, which will then create a set of plastic aligners, similar to Invisalign.

The website gives the impression that everything is done locally, but Fairfax Media has discovered the laboratory and orthodontists are in Shiyan, China.

Director of EZ Smile, Ed Ambrosius.

Director of EZ Smile, Ed Ambrosius.

Photo: Provided.

This means that if something goes wrong, it may be more difficult for disappointed customers to find an appeal.

EZ Smile's founder, Ed Ambrosius, stated that the laboratory made dentist equipment all over the world and that the orthodontists were fully qualified. It has so far 5000 applications and a turnover of $ 2.5 million.

"We are simply doing the smallest cases of tooth movement and we would never consider treating someone who requires complicated dental techniques," he said.

"Dentists are scary, the risks are extremely low and we have rejected many more cases than we have assumed."

Ambrosius asked: "No, I guess not, but the fact is that they can get it from other companies based abroad, so at least with us, we are here and can deal with us through normal legal channels."

Competitors include Irish start-ups Your Smile Direct and Hong Kong Easy Smile.

The dott. Holmes said that these mail services do not offer good value for money, with orthodontists able to treat minor cases for a similar price. Invisalign brand aligners usually start at $ 3,500.

He said that ASO wanted tougher laws to protect the public.

Ambrosius said he wanted to discuss issues with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) so that laws are in step with technology.

NSW spokesperson, Walt Secord, urged the state government to investigate this new phenomenon and close legislative loopholes.

"Unfortunately, there is a part of the community that can not afford the dizzying costs of dentistry and, unfortunately, these services rob them," he said.

NSW Health did not answer the questions if the state laws were sufficiently strong, if it responded to the concerns of the dental profession and its position on online do-it-yourself dental offers.

However, it is very likely that changes will be made at federal level, with all registered dentists complying with the codes issued by the Dental Board of Australia, which collaborates with AHPRA.

AHPRA said it was aware of the growing number of dental companies online and considering the issues they can raise compared to laws that protect the public.

The Healthcare Complaints Commission stated that it could accept complaints about these activities, having already received one.

The dott. Neil Peppitt, president of the Australian Dental Association NSW, said he did not support do-it-yourself dentistry.

"If treatment is based on fingerprints and records without the patient being examined personally, there is a much greater risk that the treatment will not be successful," said Dr. Peppitt.

Esther Han is a health journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald. Previously she was editor of consumer relations and also covered food and wine.

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