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FAQ:  Orthodontics - Children - Teens

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Orthodontics Ask The Dentist - Edward Leventhal Question:
I am 18 years old and am currently entering my 5th year with braces. I have been patient throughout the entire process and have recently been told to wear elastics on my braces to fix my bite. From what I have been told my teeth only need to move about 3mm. The problem is that the elastics give me really bad, constant headaches. I am becoming increasingly less patient with the process and want them off.

It is not the fact that they hurt me, it is more that the elastics are not very sociable and people look at me as though I have spit or food stuck in my mouth. I cannot really see the point in going through all of this to correct a tiny little problem which doesn't actually affect my everyday life. What I would like to know is whether or not I can demand to have them taken off and if so, what types of ramifications can I expect later in life if this tiny problem with my bite is not corrected. ...Daniel in Campbelltown, New South Wales, Australia

Daniel, 3 mm is actually a bit to correct your bite. Yes you can request to have your braces off as long as you sign a form that you release the orthodontist of any responsibilities because you wanted to have them off prior to his suggestion. The consequences you can expect later in life are not tiny.

Correcting the bite is very important if you want to make your teeth last you a lifetime. If you have any concerns, have a second opinion with another orthodontist, and thus you can make an informed decision whether you will stick it out or whether you can request to have another orthodontist care for you or whether you want to have your braces removed.

Edward Leventhal, DDS
Baltimore Cosmetic Implant Dentistry
8860 Belair Road
Baltimore, MD 21236
(410) 256-7300

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