Policy Resources

Welcome to Policy Resources for Policy Makers! As legislators, your decisions profoundly impact healthcare standards. Our concise resources offer crucial insights into orthodontic care, covering topics from the risks of direct-to-consumer orthodontics to the necessity of comprehensive diagnostic records and in-person examinations. Grounded in scientific evidence, these resources support informed policymaking to safeguard patient safety.


DIY Orthodontics Legislator FAQ

Things to consider when making policy decisions related to direct-to-consumer orthodontics

Questions to ask about the safety of DTC orthodontics

Orthodontic treatment is a complex process that could lead to potentially irreversible and expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, changed bites, and other issues if not done correctly.

CAO Background Handout 2024

Information about the CAO including supported legislation

CAO Position on DTC Orthodontics

The CAO has significant concerns about certain components that are common to direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment, such as the patient never being seen in-person and the absence of x-rays prior to beginning treatment. These concerns are based on reliable, peer-reviewed scientific evidence, and are focused on protecting the health and well-being of the patient.

Learn more about CAO’s position in this one-page summary

CAO Recommendation for Diagnostic Records

Assessing patients properly before beginning treatment is essential to patient safety and effective treatment planning. This begins with collecting basic but critical information about the patient’s oral health through a variety of records.

See what records are needed before beginning treatment

The Importance of In-person Examinations

An in-person examination by a dentist or orthodontist prior to beginning orthodontic treatment is essential. The CAO joins our national organization, the AAO in advocating for laws that require an in-person examination prior to orthodontic treatment, based on reliable scientific evidence.

This summary lays out the need for laws requiring an in-person examination

The Importance of Radiographic Imaging

Radiographic imaging (x-rays and other types) is an essential component of the evaluation and diagnosis that must occur prior to beginning orthodontic treatment. The CAO advocates for laws that require radiographic imaging prior to orthodontic treatment, based on reliable scientific evidence.

This new summary lays out the need for laws requiring radiographic imaging

Teledentistry Catch-22

Dental boards and state legislatures have expressed concern that patients who elect to receive orthodontic treatment through mail-order are not being adequately protected. Mail-order orthodontic companies are using a catch-22 hoping to prevent legislators and dental boards from codifying, in statute or regulation, a standard of care that would protect these patients.

Learn more about how this is happening