The Dentist Magazine.

BOS welcomes new clarity around risks posed by online aligner companies

Published: 30/01/2017

The legal and ethical challenges confronted by dentists who are asked to carry out limited aspects of treatment on behalf of an online orthodontic provider are set out in a new risk management article from Dental Protection.

Richard George, director of external relations for the BOS, welcomed the advice in the latest issue of Dental Protection’s publication, Riskwise. He said, “This article brings great clarity. The dentist who is tempted to sub-contract for a third party, especially an online provider who has never met the patient, is taking a risk.”

Yvonne Shaw, dento-legal adviser at Dental Protection, highlights how dentists who are asked either to carry out interproximal reduction (IPR) or to fit aligners may be compromised if there are difficulties down the line.

She states, “Internationally this has been a growing concern with dentists being asked by companies to undertake limited aspects of the treatment plan provided to the patient, including IPR and initial fitting of aligners.”

“It would not be surprising,” she says, “if the patient held the dentist responsible if problems arise because they would believe that the dentist endorsed the treatment.”

She goes on to set out the steps that a dentist who is sub-contracted to carry out aspects of treatment would have to take in order to protect themselves either from litigation or from the General Dental Council.

Make sure, she says, that:

  • A treatment plan has been drawn up by a registered dental professional with appropriate experience.
  • You have valid consent for the treatment – do not assume someone else has obtained the patient’s consent.
  • The patient understands all the treatment options, risk and benefits of treatment.


The article can be found in the January 2017 edition of Riskwise: