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Orthodontic Treatment and Associated Risks

Orthodontic treatment is a part of broad dental health care plan focusing on aligning your teeth and bite. It is the procedure of aligning your teeth so that they mesh well with the teeth in the opposite side of your jaw. Having a good bite improves appearance and makes it easier to chew, bite, and speak. It and can also improve your dental health. Monash Dental Group understands the importance of how straight teeth can positively influence a patient’s appearance and overall confidence and self-esteem.

However, like all forms of dental and medical treatment, orthodontic treatments have potential limitations and risks. Fortunately, the complications in orthodontic treatment are typically of minor consequence and infrequent. Discussed here are the common risks associated with orthodontic treatment.



Decalcification, or permanent scarring of the tooth surface, is caused due to poor oral hygiene. If the teeth are not cleaned adequately, it leads to several problems such as cavities, gum disease, and decalcification, due to the accumulation of food and plaque on the teeth around the braces. This can cause tooth decay or permanent staining of the teeth. Typically, orthodontic appliances do not cause this problem. However, it is important to maintain proper oral hygiene if you are wearing braces or orthodontic appliances, thus, reducing the risks of problems arising during orthodontic treatment.

Periodontal Health

Often, during orthodontic tooth movement, the health of the gums and bone which support it may be affected whether the condition is pre-existing, or not. Usually, with the orthodontic treatment, it is possible to minimise the possibility of gum infection or tooth loss that is caused due to misalignment of jaws or teeth. However, where good oral hygiene is not maintained, bacterial plaque and cavities may cause loss of supporting bone or gum inflammation.

Loss of Tooth Vitality

Often, orthodontic movement may accentuate the condition of a traumatized tooth or decay. In certain rare situations, it may also lead to loss of tooth vitality or discoloration of the tooth.

Root Resorption

Orthodontic treatment may cause blunting or shortening of the tips of the roots of teeth. As a result of orthodontic treatment with fixed braces, root resorption can occur for about 1-2mm of the root tip of some teeth. While there is no clinical significance of root resorption, too much of it can reduce the stability of teeth and can also affect the shape of the roots and trauma to the tooth.


Typically, orthodontic appliances contain a certain amount of nickel in them, to which a minority of patients have a sensitivity. Though this is an associated risk of orthodontic treatment, it only affects a very small percentage of patients and it is unlikely to be problematic in most cases.

Asymmetrical Growth

Excessive, atypical, or insufficient growth of the jaw may significantly hinder the dentist’s ability to deliver the desired results. If growth becomes disproportionate, it might take longer for the treatment to conclude.