Legislation filed in the Florida state legislature aims to protect consumers by adding accountability measures for DTC companies.
Legislation was filed in the Florida state legislature to bring awareness and responsibility to direct-to-consumer orthodontics to protect Floridians from potentially harmful and irreparable damage.
The American Association of Orthodontists and leaders of the Florida Association of Orthodontists worked together to bring the specialty’s perspective and expertise to the attention of state legislators.
The legislation would add an accountability measure by requiring mail-order orthodontic companies to provide a dentist of record to consumers upon using the product.
Senate Bill 356 was filed by Senator Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton), and House Bill 503 was filed by Representative Kim Berfield (R-Clearwater) as companion legislation to the Senate version.
Florida’s 2023 legislative session is scheduled to commence on March 7, but bills can be pre-filed.
“If you provide dental services, you should be held to the same health standards as a traditional practice,” said Boyd in a release. “The Board of Dentistry exists for a reason—to give consumers a mechanism of oversight and discipline in the event of malpractice. This bill simply provides a way to better protect Floridians in the event of injury or harm for all treatment models.”
The legislation aims to strengthen patients’ rights. Under current Florida law, DTC companies operate with no governing board or license, which renders harmed consumers unable to hold them accountable, according to the AAO. If passed, the bill would:
- Require designation of a dentist of record.
- Require that any individual or corporation provide consumers with the dentist’s name, contact telephone number, after-hours contact information for emergencies, and upon the patient’s request, the dentist’s license information for any licensed dentist who is providing dental services to the patient.
- Provide the option of additional grounds for disciplinary action by the Board of Dentistry in the event of non-compliance.
- Require a disclaimer recommending in-person examination with a licensed dentist to prevent injury or harm when:
- Taking an impression or digital scanning of the human tooth, teeth, or jaws
- Creating, supplying, or placing any prosthetic denture, bridge, appliance, or structure designed to be worn in the human mouth
- Correcting or attempting to correct malocclusions (misalignment) in teeth or jaws.
“Improper use of these medical device products can cause serious and irreparable damage to your teeth,” said Berfield in a release. “All we want is to have a dentist of record provided to all patients so that there is a licensed professional available should one be needed.”