What Happens to the Braces if Elastomeric Chains Are Not Removed for 8 Months? (photo)

I'm 22-y/o, undergoing orthodontic tx for 3 yrs to straighten crooked canines d/t overcrowding. My orthodontist removed my first molars to make space for canines & has been closing the excess gap ever since. My last visit was 8 mos ago, in which she put e-chains. She said she'd remove them after 3 mos, but we weren't able to meet. I've rescheduled for next week, but she said that I should "expect irreparable damage to supporting structures". This has alarmed me. Can someone pls explain? Thank you!

Doctor Answers 2

Eight months with no visits to orthodontist

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Even after all this time you may find that there is no irreversible damage at all to your teeth or gums.  However, since such damage can occur in a few cases, it is very important to keep regular appointments with your treating doctor when you have braces.  If a problem did occur, it would be caught before major damage was done if you are keeping regular appointments. 

Seattle Orthodontist

Too much time between orthodontic visits can lead to problems...

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Periodic orthodontic adjustments are not only needed to progress treatment, but also to monitor and correct oral hygiene deficiencies, and control side effects.  Oral hygiene is a no brainer.  If you are not cleaning effectively and visiting your dentist for regular cleanings, enamel defects and even gum disease can occur.  Also in orthodontics there are many side effects that happen as teeth are moved that we must monitor and take care of.  In your case, if that e-chain is high quality and continues to provide force over a prolonged period of time you could see your last molars on each side that it is attached to turn outwards.  That will actually put you backwards in your progress.  As far as irreversible goes...you'll need to be seen to check on that one.  You better go in now with your tail between your legs and get back on track.

Doug Depew, DMD
Atlanta Orthodontist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.