Bogus Braces – Let the buyer beware

“There will always be those who make something cheap and sell it cheaper.”

As I celebrate my 50th year of constant continuing education in my much loved profession of orthodontics, spending uncountable hours reading every orthodontic text book and journal, 23 years of teaching orthodontics at UF Dental Clinic, years of  sharing the complexities of dentistry with study clubs and maintaining a respectable practice with families I have known for three generations and who trust my decisions and fairness; I believe I have earned the right to comment on the dumbed down “knock off” orthodontics being  sleazed seductively on the internet.

There is a huge difference between “Health Care” and health caring. The former is a wrecked, sick, failed economic system plaguing our country based on how many different procedures you can bill an insurance company in hopes of getting a heavily discounted fee, the latter is a God given ministry dedicated to the highest ethical and moral standards. There is no room for quacks, charlatans and “side show” entertainers in my profession. Alas, but this is the land of saying anything you want loud enough and often enough and your lie will soon be believed enough to fool some of the people.

Today, with the internet, you can skip seeing the orthodontist altogether, you don’t need his/her wisdom or skill or those pesky costly monthly visits.  You take a “selfie” photo of your teeth with your cell phone and email it and they send you the “putty” to take your own impression to send it back for them to fabricate the 5 “invisible trays” which will make your smile gorgeous like the stunning model on the box of their braces. This is called malpractice in the State of Florida and carries a felony fine and jail time. Please don’t ever believe that you can take your own impression accurately with “putty” or that they know how to straighten your teeth from an  image from your cell phone or with a distorted impersonation of an impression.

Another popular appeal is 6 months braces with only 1 wire, another non-orthodontist get rich quick scheme. This is an insult to biology, physiology, bio mechanics, human behavior and integrity. There are no secret ways to move teeth unknown to orthodontist “faster than a speeding bullet” or any magic wire that perform miracles before your very eyes. We all have the same equipment and in fact I do accelerate tooth movement with Propel, but I guarantee you that no 6 months of orthodontics properly corrects a malocclusion to the standard of care specialist are honor bound to uphold.

Please consult a professional before making this kind of decision.

John B, Harrison DDS, MSc.

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