Self Help Guides

Orthodontic Treatment – Risks

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If you are thinking of having orthodontic treatment, you will need to know about the benefits and risks. You may want to ask some questions before you decide whether to go ahead.

What is orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment usually involves wearing braces. Orthodontic treatment may involve the extraction of teeth, but only when necessary. 

What are the possible benefits of orthodontic treatment?

  • Orthodontic treatment can improve the appearance of the teeth and face.
  • Orthodontic treatment can improve the health of the teeth and gums.
  • Orthodontic treatment can improve the bite and make it easier to eat.

What are the possible risks of orthodontic treatment?

Patients should finish their orthodontic treatment with healthy teeth and gums. Unfortunately, some patients do experience problems during orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist will talk to you about the common risks of treatment and about those that might particularly affect you. MOST PROBLEMS ARE PREVENTABLE IF YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR TEETH AND GUMS.

What are the risks

Will I end up with marks on my teeth?

Your teeth will be damaged unless you keep them clean and are sensible about what you eat and drink. It is important to brush your teeth well, at least twice a day, with fluoride toothpaste. If you do not keep your teeth and brace clean, you risk ending up with permanent white or brown marks on your teeth. The picture above shows this. Rinsing with fluoride mouthwash at bedtime, after tooth brushing, will also help to keep your teeth healthy. If you have too many sweets, sugary foods, fruit drinks or fizzy drinks, you also risk ending up with marks on your teeth. The more often you have sugary foods or drinks, the more likely you are to damage your teeth, so avoid sweet things between meals.

Will my gums be damaged?

Most patients experience a little redness and swelling of the gums whilst wearing a brace. This problem usually disappears once the brace is removed. 

Guide_Orthdontic Treatments Risks

However, if you do not brush your teeth and brace properly, your gums may become very swollen during treatment, causing lasting damage. The patient above has dirty teeth and so the gums are very swollen and unhealthy.

Does it matter if I have injured my teeth in the past?

Please tell your orthodontist if you have previously knocked or damaged a front tooth. If this has happened to you, then there is a risk that your tooth may need further treatment while you are wearing a brace. One sign of this is that the tooth may become dark. If any treatment is needed, this will usually be carried out by your regular dentist.

Will the roots of my teeth be damaged?

All brace work causes minor changes to the roots of the teeth. This is not usually a problem. Occasionally, changes to the roots can be more serious. It is often possible to tell if someone is at risk, but not always. If you have a particular risk, your orthodontist will talk to you about this.

What happens once I have decided to go ahead with an Invisalign treatment?

After visiting us for your orthodontic assessment, you will be invited back into the practice to have initial records. This will consist of an orthodontic xray, external and internal imaging and digital moulds which is a 3D scan for your bespoke Invisalign aligners to be made. Your orthodontist will programme every single tooth movement. You will then be invited back for the fitment appointment approximately 3-4 weeks after. At this visit we can share your ClinCheck (a short 3D animated movie of your predicted treatment) with you.

Will anything be stuck onto my teeth?

Possible, some patients requires attachments, tooth coloured composite material stuck onto the front surface on the teeth to assist with some movements, for example, tooth rotation. This will be shown to you on your ClinCheck. 

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Self help guides

To help with your on-going dental care our team of experts have created a series of Patient Guides to provide further support for you at home.