Limitations of orthodontics

As with all forms of medical and dental treatment, there are some risks and limitations. Fortunately, in orthodontics, complications are infrequent and generally of minor consequence.

Read on to see what the possible limitations are. Please also see our treatment policies and procedures.



Compliance by the patient is probably the most important factor in preventing many, although not all, of these complications.

The most common problem is related to infrequent and improper brushing of the teeth and gums as well as the consumption of foods containing excess sugar. This can result in tooth decay, gum disease and marking (decalcification) on teeth. Whilst these problems can occur without orthodontic treatment, the risks are greater to individuals wearing braces.

With patients with existing periodontal disease or teeth that are already compromised, it is possible that moving teeth may influence an incipient problem.

Some shortening of roots may occur, but it is usually of no consequence to the longevity of the affected teeth. In rare circumstances significant shortening of roots can occur, often due to inconsistent wear of orthodontic elastics. Trauma, impactions and habits such as nail biting and endocrine disorders can also cause root resorbtion.

Bone, blood, endocrine disorders, smoking and many prescription and non-prescription drugs can adversely influence your orthodontic treatment.

Problems may occur in the temporomandibular (TM) joints during or after treatment causing pain or headaches. However these problems may also occur without orthodontic treatment. Such problems should be reported promptly to the orthodontist. Generally, orthodontics is beneficial to health of the TM joints.

Due to unexpected or abnormal growth, jaw surgery may become necessary to correct the problem. When oral surgery is necessary in conjunction with orthodontics, risks and details of treatment and anesthesia should be discussed with the Maxillo-facial and Oral surgeon or Periodontist and Anaesthetist.

Teeth may have tendency to change throughout life, which can adversely effect tooth and jaw positions. Causative factors include eruption of the wisdom teeth, growth and/or maturational changes, playing certain musical instruments, mouth breathing and other oral habits. These factors may be out of the control of the orthodontist.

The total time required to complete treatment may exceed the estimated time. Excessive or deficient bone growth, poor co-operation in wearing the appliance the required hours per day, poor oral hygiene, broken appliances and missed appointments can lengthen the treatment time and decrease the quality of the end result.

Due to variation in size and shape of teeth, an ideal result may necessitate reshaping the teeth or additional restorative procedures (for example, complete closure of excessive space.) The most common types of treatment are cosmetic bonding, crown and bridge restorative dental care and/or periodontal therapy.

It may become necessary to modify the treatment plan to achieve the most favourable outcome, for example, if insufficient space or bone exists for the placement of an implant, a bridge may be recommended.

General medical problems and medication can affect the orthodontic treatment. You should keep your orthodontist informed of any changes in you medical health. Proper communication can resolve most concerns of treatment. Do not hesitate to consult with your orthodontist on any matter, which causes concern.

Member Login
Welcome, (First Name)!

Forgot? Show
Log In
Enter Member Area
My Profile Log Out