I had braces for two years, and have just recently had them removed. Ever since they were taken off, I have noticed that my teeth are incredibly sensitive to temperature. If I try to eat or drink anything hot or cold, it is really painful. I can also feel rough patches and dips on the front of my teeth, almost as if the enamel is gone. Could my orthodontist have damaged my teeth when she removed the brackets? I am also noticing that my teeth seem to be getting darker every day. I don’t drink coffee or cola very often, but my teeth seem to soak up every stain like never before.
What should I do? I did not go through two years of ortho to have ugly teeth!
Thanks for your time,
Savannah from Council Bluffs
I don’t think your orthodontist caused this damage, though it is not unheard of that damage can happen during bracket removal. The patches you describe sound like areas of decalcification. These are areas where your teeth have lost some minerals, and those areas are porous, which is causing the staining you are seeing. Those spots may eventually turn brown, and even chip away, leaving pitted holes in your teeth. I am sure this is NOT what you envisioned as you went through orthodontic treatment, and that missing enamel is what is making your teeth so sensitive.
Teenagers are not always as diligent as they should be about brushing their teeth after eating, and when a teen has braces, the problem is magnified. The brackets allow food to sit against your tooth, and underneath the brackets, the acid in your saliva that helps digest food is busy working away at the surface of the tooth. The extent of the problem becomes really evident when the braces come off.
It is important to address the issue before it gets any worse. Bleaching will not help the stains. It will probably make them look worse, so I would not recommend going that route. If the damage is just to a few small spots, a treatment choice might be dental bonding. Freehand dental bonding is one of the most challenging cosmetic dentistry techniques from an artistic standpoint, and if it is not done well, you will not be happy. Make sure you chose a cosmetic dentist who is trained and experienced. Direct dental bonding requires a very high degree of artistry and technical skill that very few dentists possess.
If the damage is extensive and/or severe, you may be looking at porcelain veneers. That is a daunting prospect after two years of orthodontic work, but it is better to be prepared.
If you have friends that still have braces, you can be their cautionary tale. People with braces simply MUST brush after every single time they eat. At the very least, they must rinse thoroughly with water if brushing is impossible. It is very frustrating to go through all those years of ortho work, only to continue struggling with dental issues when you are done.