SmileDirectClub, LLC (SDC) was founded in 2014 and is
headquartered in Nashville, TN. SDC recently filed a lawsuit in the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to prohibit the enforcement
of a rule recently adopted by the Georgia Board of Dentistry (Board), along
with a demand for unspecified monetary damages.
The rule requires a licensed
dentist to provide direct supervision of digital scans used to fit orthodontic
aligners. SDC’s complaint alleges that the Board violated the Sherman Act[i]
when it allegedly conspired to restrain the ability of non-dentists to provide
“nonclinical administrative support services” by withholding relevant
information from the state of Georgia about the rule’s affect.
According to the SDC complaint, this new rule would destroy
its business model, which is based on providing technician-administered photographic
scans of patients’ mouths, which are then referred to offsite dentists for
evaluation and used to construct clear plastic aligner treatments fitted to
each individual patient.
The new rule does not require direct supervision by a dentist
during digital scanning but does require a licensed dentist to be present in
the building during scanning. SDC is alleging that the rule will reduce Georgia
citizens’ access to dental care, increase consumer prices and impose
unnecessary regulations on a safe nonmedical procedure.
Sherman Antitrust Act, 26 Stat.209, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1-7 (1890)