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Orthodontic treatment, like any medical procedure, is not entirely risk-free. The risks are rarely serious, but they should be known. You can factor this information into your decision whether or not to embark on orthodontic treatment. Download a pdf of the risks known to us.

Download a pdf of the risks known to us.

1. Root shortening

Orthodontic treatment can result in shortening of the roots of teeth. Unfortunately, it is not known exactly what causes this, nor can it usually be predicted which patients develop root resorption. Root shortening stops after the end of treatment, i.e. from the moment the braces no longer press on the teeth. To get an idea of whether severe shortening may occur, we take an X-ray after about six months of treatment with brackets. We can then estimate whether the treatment can be safely continued.

2. Holes

If oral hygiene is not optimal, spots, cavities or other damage in the tooth enamel can occur. The gums may also become inflamed. It is important that your own dentist continues to monitor the health of the teeth and gums during orthodontic treatment.

3. Retracted gums

In an occasional case, the gums of one or more teeth may have moved slightly downwards after orthodontic treatment. How often this is a direct consequence of the braces or caused by other factors that are simultaneously involved is not known.

4. Allergy

Allergies to certain materials can exist or develop. An allergy to nickel is one of the most common forms of 'contact allergy'. Unfortunately, no comparable good alternative is available for the most commonly used products containing nickel. In case of an allergy, we will look for alternative materials in consultation with you if necessary.

5. Damage to incisors

Sometimes the edges of your incisors can crumble due to biting on the brackets or other small parts of your braces. This rarely happens in healthy front teeth but it can happen if there are small hairline cracks in the enamel due to previous damage.

6. Jaw joint complaints

Occasionally, jaw joint complaints may occur during or after orthodontic treatment. This manifests as pain in the joint, headache or earache. Creaking or snapping of the jaw joint may also occur. These complaints may also occur coincidentally at the same time as orthodontic treatment. It is advisable to report the existence of jaw joint problems to the orthodontist.

7. Third-party treatment

Often, orthodontic treatments are performed in conjunction with an oral surgeon, dentist or periodontist. Providing information on risks associated with these treatments is the responsibility of the respective practitioner. It is therefore wise to discuss the risks of these treatments with the relevant practitioner before the procedure.

8. Ankylosis

A tooth may be fused to the jawbone or become fused to it during treatment. It is not possible to move that tooth with braces. It can also happen that a tooth simply does not want to erupt. There is usually no obvious reason for these contingencies. Treatment may include pulling the tooth, surgically freeing it, surgically reinserting it or a prosthetic replacement.

9. Pain symptoms and painkillers

After braces are placed or adjusted, teeth are usually sensitive for a few days, especially when chewing. This discomfort is certainly not the same for everyone. Usually the teeth also become a little loose, this is normal. Most of these problems go away on their own after a few days. You can take painkillers, available at the chemist, for a short period of time. In particular, do not take anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) or aspirin, as these inhibit tooth movement. If the brace has just been placed, you may find it bothersome when talking. It is also possible that the brace presses somewhere on the gums, bottom of the mouth or cheeks. Of course, in case of doubt or persistent pain, you can always contact the practice.

10. Use of medicines

Some drugs affect tooth movement and, in a few cases, can even stop it completely. These include:

  • NSAIDs( anti-inflammatories) and aspirin

  • Corticosteroids

  • Calcium regulators

It is therefore important that you always inform us of any medication use and change of medication.

11. Health questionnaire

At the start of treatment, you will be asked to complete a health questionnaire. If necessary, this questionnaire will be discussed with you. We urge you to fill in this questionnaire carefully and completely. You might think that general health aspects are not important for orthodontic treatment, but this is often the case. Should there be any changes in health or medication during treatment, it is also important that you keep us informed.

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