Dr Asif Chatoo: ‘A named clinician must be central to orthodontic care’

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  Posted by: The Probe      29th June 2021

Knowing the name of the clinician who provides your orthodontic treatment should be a fundamental right says Dr Asif Chatoo, an orthodontist who founded the first clinic in the UK dedicated to lingual orthodontics.

His comments are made following publication of a statement from dental regulator the General Dental Council as well as the 2020 review Dental Complaints Service (DCS) which highlight the worrying growth in “direct-to-consumer” orthodontics.

The DCS annual report reveals that the majority of complaints by patients in 2020 related to perceived failure of treatment (85%) with most arising from treatment with removable orthodontic appliances. Of concern to Dr Chatoo is that a case study in the report reveals the patient did not know the full name of the clinician who wrote their treatment plan. This meant that they had no-one to turn to with their concerns or questions about their treatment.

The case study described how following treatment the patient complained to the company who provided the aligners because they could see no difference in their teeth. Initially the company would only offer another course of treatment involving a second finance plan. Fortunately, the DCS intervened and the company cancelled the finance agreement with the patient who declined a second course of “remote” orthodontic treatment.

Said Dr Chatoo: “Several things about this case study concern me. I am shocked that the initially the company declined to share the name of the clinician who provided the treatment plan. Without the intervention of the DCS, the patient would not have had a refund and their credit rating might have been jeopardised due to the finance agreement not being cancelled. This highlights the risk of an arrangement with an online company as opposed to with an individual clinician or practice.”

In its statement issued last month, the GDC stresses that patients must know the full name of the dental professional responsible for their treatment and be able to make direct contact with that person if they should need to.

Dr Chatoo, who has written a blog  https://www.londonlingualbraces.com/for-patients/orthodontics-must-include-communication-clinician/)

about ‘remote orthodontics’ said: “I am glad that the GDC and the DCS have highlighted the questions patients need to ask before they order aligners online. For all patients, knowing the name of your clinician should be a right.

“Communication between clinician and patient is critical to the provision of orthodontics and must not be lost in the rush to embrace innovation and remote technology.”

The Dental Complaints Service 2020 report can be found here: https://dcs.gdc-uk.org/about/publications


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