Objectives

To scrutinize claims contained within Instagram posts related to six popular marketed orthodontic products.

Materials and Methods

Three hundred publicly available Instagram posts were identified using the following Instagram hashtags: #carrieremotion, #damonbraces, #invisalign, #acceledent, #propelorthodontics, and #myobrace. Pilot coding was undertaken on a subset of claims (n = 50) and a coding guide was developed. The associated claims were categorized under 24 recognized themes and their accuracy assessed on a five-point scale.

Results

Of 1730 posts screened, 300 were included for analysis. The majority of posts were based on photographs (n = 244, 81.3%) with the remainder (n = 56, 18.7%) including videos. Half of the posts involved a picture of the product in isolation (n = 150, 50%), with clinical cases presented in a minority (n = 99, 33%). Overall, 472 claims were included with treatment duration being the most frequent theme (n = 125, 26.5%). In terms of accuracy, most of the claims were judged to be “false” (n = 283, 60%) with less than 2% considered “objectively true.”

Conclusions

Most of the claims relating to six popular marketed orthodontic products concerned treatment duration. The vast majority of these claims were not supported by evidence and were judged to be false. Efforts should be made to promote the provision of accurate orthodontic information and to verify marketing claims on social media platforms.

This content is only available as a PDF.

Author notes

a

Senior Registrar, Department of Orthodontics, The Royal London Dental Hospital, London, United Kingdom.

b

Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Dental Sciences, College of Dentistry, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom.

c

Professor, Consultant and DClinDent Program Lead in Orthodontics, Institute of Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom.