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"I wished I had stumbled acrossed this site earlier in my life. In 1999 (when I was 19/20) I went to the dentist to have my overbite corrected. I had no pain, no cavities and no need for any fillings1 and just needed a cleaning.

I received permanent braces on my teeth. I was not told of any side effects or warned of any dangers of braces, everything happened very fast and I simply trusted the dentist to do the right thing.

I wore those braces for three and a half years during which I kept my teeth cleaned the best way I could - with brushing, flossing etc.

In 2003, aged 22, I went to have the braces taken off, and that's when the pain, gum issues, tooth and bone loss started.

The brackets had put holes in three of my bottom teeth, in fact the brackets would not come off so all the teeth stuck to the brackets had to be removed!

After that I lost many more teeth because it turned out that the braces had killed other teeth as well, including my wisdom teeth. Stations on this journey included:

  • I first went to see another dentist to see if I could get a bridge made to fill in the gaps left by the first three extractions. He said I actually had seven dead teeth and roots and requested my consent to pull them, which I gave. Afterwards I was told there's nothing else he could do for me.
  • I saw another dentist to get a partial fitted who told me to trust her which in spite of my previous experiences I did. She did poor work on me by drilling a couple of micro-cavities in my teeth to make the partial fit - which never fitted, however. So in the course of this treatment, I lost two additional teeth since the teeth she drilled into seem to now also be dead.
  • Whenever I tried to get root canals rather than extractions to keep some more teeth in my mouth2, I was turned away because the dentists wanted all the money up front.
  • I currently (2014) have 16 of my former 32 sound teeth left in my mouth. I lost half of my healthy teeth where the braces were put on, and half of my jaw bone started to decrease from getting teeth pulled at other locations.
  • While my bloodwork is fine my main oral issue is pain - I still have pain from the braces and my jaw hurts even when I'm not eating. I find ways to reduce the pain by rinsing with warm salt water.

To at least get some compensation (damages) in financial terms (after all, I had even paid out of my own pocket for some of this "treatment"), I tried to get ahold of several malpractice lawyers but where I live you only have two years to file. You need to have proof from other dentists to witness you have been mistreated and no other dentists I've been to wanted to hear my story. They were always laying the blame at my door.

I tried to have lawyers get a copy of what work was done at the first dentist who fitted me with braces but got shunned. I assume he won't give me my records because he thinks I'll put his practice out of business. These days it's all business to dentists. And the more I try to get fixed the more damage is being done.

I'll be seeing a TMJ group and specialist to save my remaining teeth and finally get my records and x-rays. I don't want to lose any more teeth because of someone else's incompetence. I've been suffering too long and this gets in the way of my everyday life. Luckily I have lips that cover my bottom teeth and in any case I don't let that destroy my self-esteem.3

I wish I'd never stepped foot into a dentist's office or even gotten braces on so I would not blame myself anymore. I see more people getting them. I have to warn these people about braces.

Footnotes

1 It can be argued that there may hardly ever be any true need for a filling, see Drilling & filling teeth: an unwise choice?.

2 Both root canals and extractions should be carefully considered, see Tooth extraction risks and the entire Root canal treatment section.

3 In addition to tooth loss, there are many more dangers of dental braces or retainers such as tooth decay and TMJ damage, see Potential risks of orthodontic treatment.

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