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Caveat Emptor – Six Month Smiles

The picture you see above is making its rounds on social media. It’s popping up in Facebook feeds, Instagram posts, Pinterest boards and Twitter tweets all over the USA. It’s an advertisement and it’s not for the general public, but for general dentists. If you follow the link to the website it is stunning in its deception.

What is this all about? It’s a company called Six Month Smiles. Some of you might have heard of it, most of you have not. It’s a company that markets directly to general dentists, proposing to them a false premise. What is the false premise? Take a look at the photo… it propagates the myths that orthodontic treatment always lasts 24 months, is always unattractive and is always metal.

Why would they be so deceptive? Because they are a company selling a product. The product is a promise that general dentists can make a lot of money by treating their adult patients with braces instead of referring them to a specialist. The product doesn’t require that the general dentists know how or where to place the braces. The braces locations on the teeth are determined by non-dentist technicians and are ultimately installed on the teeth by the general dentist with a special tray that places all of the braces at the same time. It’s a technique called “indirect bonding”, which is great if you are an orthodontist that knows where to place the braces. How does a general dentist learn how to provide this “service” to their patients? They take a two-day course.

Why does the advertisement say that their version of orthodontics only takes 6 months? Because 6 Month Smiles doesn’t focus on how the teeth come together. The primary focus of Six Month Smiles is the front teeth! The public is being duped by suggesting the idea that the SAME results are done in 6 Months that an orthodontist does in 24 months. Really? Would they really be so bold as to deceive the public like that? Look at the picture again and you decide. This is unethical and YOU are the unsuspecting victim! Would you be surprised to learn that there are many patients who’ve undergone Six Month Smiles at their general dentist’s office and now find themselves in an orthodontist’s office to have their treatment done correctly? It happens almost on a daily basis all over the country.

What is the truth? I can only speak for myself — an orthodontist, but here is the truth in my practice. Most ALL of my orthodontic patients are done with their treatment in about 12 months, this includes adults, adolescents and children. This includes the back teeth and the front teeth. Six Month Smiles would like general dentists to believe that orthodontists don’t like to be bothered with adult patients. That the general dentists is actually doing their patient a favor by offering this treatment. Well, most of my patients are adults! That’s right, the majority of my patients are adults. I absolutely LOVE treating adult orthodontic patients, and so do most of my orthodontic specialist colleagues. One final myth busted, most of the adults in my practice DO NOT have metal braces! They either have clear braces, or clear aligners for their orthodontic treatment.

The truth is out there. You deserve to know it, and to share it. I really hope you do just that.

Here’s to your gorgeous smile, done right.

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