ADA files complaint against SmileDirectClub with the FTC, FDA

The American Dental Association announced July 11 that it had sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission arguing concerns over various aspects of SmileDirectClub's marketing and sales.

The letter, which was sent June 27, comes two months after the ADA filed a citizen's petition with the FDA, claiming SmileDirectClub places the public at risk by knowingly evading the FDA's "by prescription only" restriction that the FDA has placed on teeth aligning materials.

In an email to ADA members, president Jeffrey Cole, DDS, outlined SmileDirectClub's alleged deceptive practices. They include:

1. Informing purchasers they have recourse against SmileDirectclub; however, the document allegedly hides a small print provision requiring customers to sign away all rights against the company.

2. Encouraging consumers to become customers by telling them that SmileDirectClub aligners can correct overbite, underbite and crossbite conditions. The ADA claims another SmileDirectClub document states the aligners cannot treat bite conditions and can only treat mild to moderate teeth misalignment.

3. Claiming SmileDirectClub customers receive the same level of dental and orthodontic care. The ADA argues that SmileDirectClub and its affiliated dentists provide almost no care and that the company does not use teledentistry.

"Moving teeth without knowing all aspects of a patient's oral condition has the potential to cause the patient harm," Dr. Cole said. "Orthodontic treatment, if not done properly, could lead to potential bone loss, lost teeth, receding gums, bite problems, jaw pain and other issues."

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