Letters: Armed to the teeth

YOUR ARTICLE "Children's dentists at odds in battle of the braces" (21 November) gives the misleading impression that orthodontic treatment regularly damages faces. The claim that orthodontic dentistry leads to painful, long-term damage to the skull and jaw pain and headaches in many patients is not borne out by scientific evidence. The article focuses on a few anecdotal cases - the weakest type of evidence.

A multi-centre randomised controlled trial (the highest form of scientific evidence) funded by the Medical Research Council is under way at Manchester University. The study involves treatment of 390 patients treated with appliances similar to those advocated by Dr John Mew. It is taking place in 13 orthodontic centres across the country. Two years ago Dr Mew was invited to submit a series of his treated cases for comparison with the Manchester material - to see if any of his claims stand up to scientific scrutiny. So far no documented case has been received.

JONATHAN SANDLER

British Orthodontic Society

London WC1

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