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4 Aug 2017

Handle mail order braces with care

Mail order braces, teeth whitening and veneers caused more complaints from dissatisfied patients last year, and patients have been warned to be careful about what they order online.

Do-it-yourself dentistry is a recent and popular phenomenon, largely because it is relatively cheap, and it’s now possible to order teeth straightening online through suppliers such as Your Smile Direct — yet some companies selling kits by post are often not dentists.

Dental Complaints Resolution Services facilitator Michael Kilcoyne received 10 complaints last year from people who bought dental kits online, and the number is increasing. He said he couldn’t deal with the complaints because the people supplying the products were not registered dentists.

Speaking at the launch of the DCRS’s fifth annual report, Mr Kilcoyne said: “I have to tell those consumers I can’t do anything for you. The service can only deal with complaints where there is a registered dentist involved who is practising in the Republic.”

The Dental Council, which regulates the dental profession, warned earlier this year that “purchasing an appliance without an appropriate examination or ongoing dental support could compromise your treatment”.

Consumers receive a kit to take impressions of their own teeth and send them off in the post, and a brace is made to fit the impression. Some companies use PO box addresses for their services, so they are difficult to reach if something goes wrong.

At Pembroke Dental we would always advise an in depth consultation with one of our experienced orthodontists so we can assess what’s best for your long term dental health, and choose from our range of proven orthodontic treatments.

The DCRS, which is a voluntary service, dealt with102 complaints last year, down from 134 in 2015 and 158 in 2014. Mr Kilcoyne said: “The drop to 102 last year is welcome and may well reflect a trend towards greater engagement between dentists and patients.”

He added that he received “a sizeable” number of complaints from dental tourists who had travelled abroad because of attractive prices, but again could do little to help because the dentists were not regulated by the Dental Council.

NB: YourSmileDirect wanted us to clarify they do not provide any DIY dental treatments, and all of their dental treatments are prescribed by a licensed and registered dentist who is fully insured.

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