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Braces and Steroids: I'm 19 years old and I've had Braces for 5 years. The predicted time plan was 2 years.

I have severe asthma and take oral cortisone steriods and have developed osteoporosis from it. I was wondering if this might have something to do with how fast my teeth are moving. ...Visitor from NC

Five years is a very long time to be in braces. It troubles me. My harder cases take about 18 months to complete.

The causal relationship between oral cortisone and osteoporosis is unlikely. The interaction between cortisone (an anti-inflammatory) and tooth movement biochemistry suggests that cortisone could delay orthodontics depending on the frequency of cortisone application. I wouldn't expect it to dramatically increase your treatment time, however.

Without understanding the complexity of your tooth movement needs, it is difficult to ascertain the efficiency of your progress. I will say this: Generally, certified orthodontists are very efficient in their treatment. Board certified orthodontists even more so.

If your orthodontist is certified, the two MOST likely possibilities follow:

1. Your case is astoundingly complex (not likely given your original 2-year plan)

2. You are not cooperating well with your orthodontist (breakage, not wearing elastics, etc). Other possibilities do exist.

Bottom Line: I don't believe the cortisone to be the issue here. Find out if your orthodontist is a certified orthodontist (i.e. completed a 2 to 3 year residency in orthodontics).

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