Risks & problems
In most cases people have orthodontic treatment without problems.
Prior to commencing orthodontic treatment each patient will receive information that has been prepared by the Australian Society of Orthodontists that outlines the problems that can occur.
This information can be viewed at http://www.aso.org.au/Docs/Orthodontics/Risks.htm
Don’t proceed with orthodontic treatment if you believe any of the problems that may occur during treatment are unacceptable to you. In this case, you should accept the current pattern of the teeth.
Some minor orthodontic problems may involve still considerable effort and expense. Thus in some cases, such as minor crowding of the lower teeth, it might be that given the problems, risks and potential for relapse, orthodontic treatment is not indicated.
Patients whose lifestyle is such that they are so busy that attending appointments during the week will be problematic should not commence treatment. Orthodontic treatment involves regular appointments. We do try to assist as far as possible with out of school appointments (but cannot guarantee in all cases – we give preference for VCE students).
Risks that may occur include:
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!!!!! Cleaning and diet are very important especially with all the “plaque” attracting appliances in your mouth. Sometimes damage to teeth is not detectable until after braces are removed.
Patients who have a poor diet that is high in sugar (soft drinks, lollies etc) should not commence orthodontic treatment until this aspect is addressed.
- Tooth root changes
Minor rounding of the tip of the tooth roots may occur. Generally this does not lead to any problems. In a small number of patients the roots can become significantly shorter and may affect the long term health of the tooth. Fortunately, even most of these cases the teeth still seem to be retained in the mouth and remain healthy.
- Nerve death
It is possible on rare occasions to have a tooth nerve die during orthodontic treatment. This is usually due to the tooth having received a knock at some stage before or during orthodontic treatment. The nerve would have died at some stage, however, the orthodontics may have unmasked the problem a little earlier.
- Gum problems
In adults particularly, gum problems may be accentuated by orthodontics.
Smokers can experience gum problems and it is our view that smokers should not proceed with orthodontic treatment (a great reason and time to quit – put the savings towards the treatment fees).
Orthodontics does carry the risk of relapse whereby the orthodontic correction starts to reverse back to the original pattern. All due care is taken and retainers are provided (see Maintaining Your Great Smile). However, if the potential for reversal of the correction is unacceptable to you, then treatment should not be undertaken and again, you will need to accept the present pattern of the teeth.