ADA Response to "Staight Talk" Segment of 60 Minutes
Monday, August 18, 2003
In response to the segment, Straight Talk , which was screened on the current affairs program 60 Minutes on Sunday, 3 Aug 2003, the Australian Dental Association issued the following statement:
The Australian Dental Association Inc. (ADA), which has a membership in excess of 90% of registered dentists in Australia, wishes to express its support for the views expressed by Dr. Geoffrey Wexler, a member of the Australian Society of Orthodontists Inc, during the above program.
After completing a Bachelor’s degree to practice as a dental surgeon, a specialist orthodontist undertakes a further three years of extensive practice and post-graduate study before obtaining their specialist qualification.
In treating patients seeking orthodontic advice, it is necessary to consider an extensive range of factors before formulating a comprehensive treatment plan. A variety of alternative treatment methods are available in orthodontics and the specialist orthodontist has the requisite skills to best evaluate how the patient’s desired treatment option outcome can be best achieved for that particular patient.
The ADA considers the program failed to present an accurate and balanced view in relation to the practice of orthodontics in Australia. The program focused on the U.K. position and experience (quite different to that which exists here), by presenting Dr. Mew’s views as to his perceptions of the practice of orthodontics in the U.K. Further, it presented only very limited information regarding the cases discussed. This precluded any appropriate balanced assessment of the cases to enable educated comment on the preferred treatment plans to be considered.
The ADA considers this to have been inappropriate for a program addressing the Australian situation. It believes the practice of Orthodontics in Australia utilizes techniques and achieves results consistent with world-wide best practice.
As such the program did little to educate the public and has served only to create unnecessary concern for those who have embarked on or will be embarking on orthodontic treatment.
The Australian Society of Orthodontists released the following statement:
Australian orthodontist specialists are recognized as equal to the best in the world.
They are absolute experts in providing the Australian public with the very best possible orthodontic treatment options available in the world today.
The non-extraction and early treatment methods that were advocated by 60 Minutes are very well known and practiced by all Australian Orthodontists.
Non-extraction and early treatment techniques are not peculiar to the one orthodontist featured, but are extremely old techniques that originated over 80 years ago.
The cases shown as bad examples of extraction treatment were treated in England in a different health system. They were not treated by Australian orthodontists and they had nothing to do with Australian orthodontic practice.
The public may rest assured that when visiting an Australian orthodontist specialist, they are visiting an extremely well-qualified specialist.
Orthodontists in Australia are expert in providing treatments without extracting teeth, wherever possible, but extractions definitely do have a legitimate place in normal orthodontic practice today.