Braces can have a great impact on our lives. From a functional standpoint, they shift the position of our teeth to eliminate any health issues that can arise from overbites, underbites, crooked teeth, and misaligned jaws. This can improve our ability to eat and speak more effectively and comfortably. As well, from an aesthetic perspective, braces can enhance our smile, allowing us to feel more confident in social situations. The individuals who choose to practice orthodontics, such as those at Impact Orthodontics, take pride in their work and in their ability to give their patients a smile they can feel good about.
Admittedly, braces can be uncomfortable, even painful, as your mouth adapts to the wires readjusting your teeth. The average person can wear braces for anywhere from 18 months to three years. This can seem unappealing if you allow the end goal to be blurred by your current discomfort. Therefore, some may consider having their braces removed before the predetermined end date. But can an orthodontist refuse to remove braces? Let’s take a look.
Can an orthodontist refuse to remove braces?
No, an orthodontist can not refuse to remove your braces if you so wish. As a medical professional, it is their ethical duty to help you, the patient, to the best of their ability. Therefore, if you remove your consent for an ongoing procedure (the braces), they will have to listen.
If you want to remove your braces early, then it’s important that you understand that you may not have an alternative option to help you reach your goal of top oral health. Your orthodontists will likely inform you of all the downsides of removing your braces early, and you may have to sign a form stating you were aware of all the risks associated with removing your braces before the scheduled completion date.
It’s your orthodontist’s goal to leave you dentally fit, so removing your braces early can jeopardize the progress your teeth have made in terms of their realignment. Additionally, simply relying on a retainer or spacers may not be enough, depending on how far along in the process you are.
Alternatively, some may worry that their orthodontist will leave their braces on for too long due to a lack of proper funds. Braces are fairly expensive, and insurance can’t always cover their entire cost. As well, some may begin the treatment with insurance and then lose coverage before the process is complete. Being unable to settle your balance can create the fear that your braces will not be removed until you have paid in full.
However, as noted above, orthodontists will only act in their patient’s best interests. Leaving braces on for longer than necessary can result in built-up dental plaque, thus negatively impacting your teeth, and can actually also cause nerve damage. Properly trained orthodontists know when your teeth are in the correct position, so they should never leave your braces on past the completion of your treatment.
How do you know when your braces should come off?
Reputable orthodontists will provide you with an approximate timeline for how long your braces treatment will take when you first consult with them. This schedule is generally pretty accurate, but no one can predict how your teeth will move and be affected by the braces until they are actually on.
As you attend your orthodontic appointments for checkups, bracket tightenings, and wire changes, your orthodontist will update you on your progress. Naturally, if you are continuously changing the strength of your wires, it’s a good sign that your treatment is coming along nicely. As you approach your projected end date, your orthodontist will let you know whether that date continues to be accurate, if the treatment will require an additional few months, or, if you’re lucky, if you’ll be getting your braces off sooner than expected.