Direct-to-consumer company wrongly claims ADA approval in recent social media post
Thursday, November 15, 2018
No one was smiling last week when an Instagram post attributed to SmileDirectClub — a direct-to-consumer clear aligner company — falsely claimed approval by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Oops. Cue the frowns. Lots of serious, brooding frowns. Especially over at SmileDirectClub. And a few at the ADA.
The incorrect statement was made in an Instagram post the week of Nov. 5. Only trouble was, the ADA was watching.
After the ADA called SmileDirectClub’s attention to this false information, the Association received a response that the statement on Instagram was unauthorized and made without its knowledge and was removed. In addition, the ADA was assured by SmileDirectClub that steps will be taken to prevent the recurrence of this type of mistake, the ADA said.
The ADA says it will continue to monitor social media while moving ahead with efforts to educate professionals and the public about direct-to-consumer dentistry.
A new(ish) policy from the ADA "strongly discourages the practice of direct-to-the-consumer (DTC) dental laboratory services because of the potential for irreversible harm to patients." The new policy expands upon a 2017 ADA policy entitled "Do-It-Yourself Teeth Straightening" to include the sale of partial dentures, teeth whitening trays, snoring appliances, veneers and mouth guards, in addition to DTC orthodontic services.
Dentists (and patients!) can report any issues with medical devices to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, including any problems they have experienced with devices related to direct-to-consumer dental laboratory products.
The FDA’s MedWatch voluntary reporting form can be used to inform the FDA about problems patients encounter with direct-to-consumer products, such as aligners, partial dentures and snoring appliances.
More general information about the FDA medical device reporting program can be found on the FDA's website, FDA.gov.
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