Are there Risks and Complications with Orthodontic Treatment?

Are there any risks or complications with orthodontic treatment?

We are often asked about risks and complications and although Orthodontic treatment isn’t particularly risky, as with any intervention to your body, it does carry some minor risks.

For children and adults, you need to consider treatment options, as it’s important to have the information to be able to weigh up the risks and benefits of treatment before making a decision.

At Fresh Smiles our specialist orthodontists are best placed to talk you through any risks you might face, taking into account you or your child’s personal condition we are able to help We have made a list of some of the common minor risks and complications that can arise from orthodontic treatment, including the use of braces.

Mild discomfort – Toothache

When first starting off with braces or Invisalign, you may experience some mild discomfort as your mouth gets used to the orthodontic equipment and your teeth begin to move. This discomfort will vary from person to person, and will depend on your individual pain threshold and the prescribed treatment.

Scratches and ulcers

At the start of your orthodontic treatment, it’s fairly common to feel some small scratches and ulcers on the inside of your mouth, especially if you’re wearing a fitted device such as braces. This will usually only happen for a couple of days, until your mouth gets used to the shape of

Enamel demineralisation

Enamel demineralisation, is a condition where the enamel wears away on the tooth, this can occur during orthodontic treatment, particularly with fixed appliances such as braces. It is primarily caused by sugar, which starts a decay process in the enamel. If left to progress, over time this demineralisation can lead to cavities and tooth decay, which appears as white or yellow stains on the teeth.

However, at Fresh Smiles we will be regularly checking your teeth for signs of enamel demineralisation and the development of cavities, so that they can be treated sooner rather than later. Plus there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk, such as avoiding excess sugar in your diet. And ensuring you brush twice daily..

Gum infection

We all know that maintaining good oral hygiene is important for everyone, but it’s especially important if you’re undergoing any type of orthodontic treatment. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gingivitis and gum infection which can slow down the movement of your teeth – if you’re wearing an orthodontic appliance then this can mean treatment takes longer. In some cases, the infection can cause irreversible damage to the tissues which support your teeth.

Make sure you maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine and follow the guidance of your orthodontist to prevent gum infections. Regular professional cleans with your dentist will also help.

Root Resorption (Root Shortening)

Root resorption is a shortening of the roots during braces. In some patients it can be seen as nothing more than a slight blunting of the root tips. This will generally not result in any long term problems for those teeth. A rare situation will develop in some patients where up to one-half or more of the root shortens away. This could significantly affect the long-term health and stability of the affected teeth. It is known that braces over a long period of time (i.e. over 2-3 years) will increase the chances of root resorption. At Fresh Smiles our orthodontists will take initial, mid-treatment, and final panoramic x-rays to determine if root resorption has occurred during treatment.

Tooth Health

As orthodontic treatment moves your teeth, some pre-existing conditions like drcay or trauma might be aggravated by wearing an orthodontic appliance. This movement that the tooth undergoes during treatment might further aggravate the tooth. While very rare, this can lead to the tooth becoming discoloured or requiring root canal treatment.


Another rare but serious complication whilst being treated with braces braces is Ankylosis.

Ankylosis is a fusion of the tooth root to the bone. If a tooth has fused to the underlying jaw bone, braces will be unable to move the tooth. In fact, all of the surrounding teeth will start to move around the ankylosed tooth. This is a serious complication that would not allow proper alignment of the teeth and bite. A history of trauma where a tooth had completely come out of the mouth and been reimplanted by your dentist has a high rate of Ankylosis. It can be difficult to predict whether a tooth has become ankylosed prior to braces. X-rays and clinical examination may provide diagnosis of ankylosis only in certain situations.

Orthodontic treatment using Invisalign is more subtle, is much more comfortable and achieves faster results.

Invisalign aligners make daily oral hygiene easier, thus reducing the risk of possible problems. And correctly aligned teeth can also alleviate the issues that can be caused by an improper bite, speech or chewing difficulties, jaw problems, and increased wear on the tooth enamel. Invisalign effectively addresses all of these orthodontic issues, so you’ll have the confidence of a great smile and increase the likelihood of improved oral health.

Rather, the vast majority of orthodontic risks are associated with oral hygiene and pre-existing conditions, both of which can be assessed and monitored by your team at Fresh Smiles.

Talk to our friendly staff at Fresh Smiles Belmont or Fresh Smiles Newtown about Invisalign today. Our fully trained orthodontists will advise if this product is suitable for you.