“Say Aaargh”: Dental Pseudoscience

Posted by QED at 10:30am on June 20th 2016

While skeptics are often very aware of the dangers of pseudoscience in regular healthcare, few skeptics consider the woo that exists in dental care. However, dentistry is not immune from outrageous claims, with homeopathy, unnecessary amalgam filling removal, dental chiropractic, and a host of other pseudoscientific treatments to threaten patients’ physical and financial wellbeing.

For the first time at a skeptical event in the UK, pseudomedical dentistry will be put under the spotlight, as our panel of dentists and skeptics talk about their experiences of dental woo, the harms that can be done to patients and what can be done to curb outrageous claims in dental health.

Shaun Sellars is a dentist and co-organiser of Lincoln Skeptics in the Pub, Lincoln PubhD and Nerd Nite Lincoln. He has has written in critique of alternative dental health claims made in blogs and magazines like What Doctors Don’t Tell You including questionable health claims regarding amalgam removal.

Grant Ritchey has been a staunch science based dentist for thirty years and has attend the American Dental Association’s Centre for Evidence Based Dentistry conference as both a participant and a speaker. Moreover, he writes for the Science Based Medicine blog, hosts The Prism Podcast and recently spoke at NECSS and the American College of Dentists about the hazards of alternative dentistry.

Martin Law runs a private practice in Portsmouth where he is an active member of Portsmouth Skeptics In The Pub and a fierce opponent of pseudoscience in dental practice. He has made ASA complaints regarding untruthful advertising and marketing in the dental industry, and has helped to eliminate favourable reporting of the Burzynski Clinic in his local paper.

Sarah Farmer is a dentist working in an oral and maxillofacial surgery unit in Liverpool. With a background in biomedical research, she is passionate about providing evidence based dentistry, with a particular interest in antimicrobial prescribing. She is also a member of the Merseyside Skeptics Society.

Laura Thomason’s work as Project Leader for the Good Thinking Society has seen her investigating and reporting dentists who scaremonger over mercury amalgam fillings, and working with the GDC to have guidance issued on what claims can be made in dental advertising. Beyond dentistry, Laura has been responsible in the last year for over 500 complaints about misleading claims made by chiropractors, osteopaths, homeopathic vets and more.