Consumer Warning: Short-term Orthodontics

A number of short-term or so-called ‘fast’ orthodontic treatment products and methods have emerged on the dental landscape in recent years. These treatments are often promoted as a quicker and more cost-effective alternative to the orthodontic treatment options provided by specialist orthodontists. Orthodontics Australia wishes to warn the Australian public of the limitations and the potential dental health and financial risks associated with these treatment methods –commonly referred to as ‘quick’ ‘fast’, ‘rapid’, ‘quick’ or ‘six-month” braces, or more generically, short-term orthodontics.

Australians need to be aware that the claims of ‘advanced’ and ‘revolutionary’ technology associated with short-term braces are misleading and completely lacking in any scientific proof. These braces products do not move teeth any faster than the conventional metal or clear braces provided by specialist orthodontists. The “faster” treatment methods are very similar to traditional orthodontics, however the major difference between the two is that with the aim of aligning only the front six teeth, “quick” braces are simply removed sooner, usually well before all the presenting problems have been fully corrected.

Short-term orthodontic treatment options are predominantly only offered to consumers by general dentists because in most cases the outcomes from these procedures would be considered incomplete, compromised or an “under-treatment” by specialist orthodontic standards. Orthodontists can provide short-term treatments but before doing so will always present patients with a comprehensive overview of all available treatment options and discuss the pros and cons of the different options, thereby allowing the consumer to make a truly informed choice.

While short-term orthodontic treatment alternatives may appear cost-effective and convenient, consumers should consider the potential for long-term dental problems such as an unstable and uncomfortable bite, excessively protrusive front teeth, muscular and jaw joint imbalances, uneven tooth wear and gum recession. There can also be significant costs involved with additional remedial treatment if there is an unsatisfactory outcome.

Orthodontics Australia urges consumers to be wary of the limited orthodontic training and experience of some providers of short-term orthodontic treatments and the questionable claims that are often made about these products. Orthodontics Australia recommends a comprehensive assessment and consultation with a specialist orthodontist before commencing any alternative short-term orthodontic treatment options with a general dentist.

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