When Braces are Left on Too Long

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Braces, candy, exercise and water — no matter what it is, you can definitely have too much of a good thing.

Braces Left On
You should always see your dentist twice a year, but attending regular appointments is even more critical for orthodontic patients.

If you or your child has braces, your orthodontist is watching how the teeth and mouth are responding to treatment and can gauge the ideal time to remove the braces. However, if you skip appointments and your braces have to stay on longer, serious damage can occur.

In some rare and extreme instances, shoddy orthodontists are to blame. You may have recently seen news coverage of a man who sued his dentist after the orthodontist had him wearing braces for over a decade!

The average orthodontic treatment plan is anywhere from 18 months to three years. It’s different for everyone, but anything beyond a four-year treatment plan warrants getting second, third and fourth opinions.

Brace Yourself
The American Dental Association recommends children get screened for orthodontics between the ages of 9 and 14. This is when adult teeth all have emerged (usually) and when the mouth is still growing, so it’s easier to manipulate.

Adults can get braces, too, but may require more invasive or longer treatment plans. Your dentist, the ADA and the Mayo Clinic all have strict rules about caring for orthodontic-infused mouths. This includes regular dental checkups, sometimes slightly altered at-home care (like using water picks instead of floss) and perhaps a fluoride mouthwash.

There’s no getting around the fact that brushing and flossing is more challenging with braces. This means plaque buildup is more common, and over the length of the orthodontic treatment patients will likely have more cavities and more advanced gum disease than they would have had without braces.

Plaque can certainly build up in brace brackets, too, exacerbating the problem. Also, if you keep braces on for too long, and your teeth can get shorter. That’s not dangerous, but it certainly doesn’t give you that perfect smile you want.

Timing Is Everything
When you get braces, your dentist will give you a pretty accurate timeline of when they will be removed. Still, nobody can predict exactly how your teeth will respond to treatment.

At each checkup, your orthodontist will look at your progress. It’s possible you might get braces taken off a little early, or you may need to keep them on a little longer. You and your orthodontist want the same thing: great results, a healthy mouth and a fantastic smile.

Do your due diligence and research orthodontists before agreeing to a treatment plan. In Utah, you can go right to the top! Contact Johnson Elite Orthodontics today for a free consultation and to see if braces are the right choice for you or your child.

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