Dental Care

What are the Risks and Complications with Orthodontic Treatment?

Written by Ella Stephen

An increasing number of people with orthodontic conditions all over the world are choosing to receive orthodontic treatment. With discreet and more comfortable treatment options such as Invisalign coupled with reduced treatment times, it should come as no surprise that more people are choosing to enhance their smile and improve their oral health. While the aim of orthodontic treatment is to improve the overall health of patients, there are some minor risks involved that patients should be aware of so they can make an informed decision before starting treatment.

Your orthodontist is undoubtedly in the best position to discuss these minor risks with you, as they’ll also be able to weigh up your personal circumstances, past history, and the choice of treatment. Obviously, some minor risks are more applicable to you so it’s best to have an understanding of them before you see your orthodontist. To give you some insight, the following discusses some of the most common minor risks and complications that may arise from orthodontic treatment.

Pain and discomfort

During any teeth straightening treatment, patients will experience some pain and discomfort as the teeth begin to move. With Insignia braces and Invisalign, this typically occurs over the first five days of treatment and after any adjustments or new set of aligners. Keep in mind that it’s impossible to move teeth without some sort of pain, and this will vary from patient to patient depending on their pain threshold. It’s generally recommended to take some over-the-counter pain medication to ease any discomfort at the start of treatment.

Mouth sores and ulcers

Particularly with Insignia braces, patients may develop some sores or ulcers on the inside of their mouth during the first few days of treatment. It will take your mouth a few days to adjust to having metal brackets on your teeth, but in the meantime you can simply apply some orthodontic wax which will protect your mouth and ease any discomfort. Also, rinsing your mouth some warm, salty water will also help your mouth adjust faster.

Gum infection

It’s vital that patients undergoing orthodontic treatment maintain good oral hygiene. Patients that have poor oral hygiene may experience gingivitis and gum infection which will slow down the tooth movement process, meaning you’ll be wearing Invisalign or Insignia braces for longer than expected. In some situations, gum infections can cause irreversible damage to the tissues surrounding the teeth.

Enamel demineralisation

For patients that have Insignia braces, poor oral hygiene can also lead to enamel demineralisation which occurs when the minerals are removed from the hard tissues of the teeth. The cause of this is typically from consuming sugary foods and drinks without proper teeth cleaning, which can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Most patients that experience enamel demineralisation will notice white stains on their teeth when their braces are finally removed. Your orthodontist will regularly check for any signs of cavities and tooth decay so this issue can be addressed as soon as possible.

Root resorption

Root resorption happens when the length of the roots of your teeth become shorter during your treatment cycle. It’s difficult to predict which patients might be affected, but mild root resorption can occur during the teeth straightening process. In most cases, patients won’t even realise it’s happened as it’s nothing more than a slight blunting of the root tips. Severe cases can cause problems with the stability of the teeth, however these are extremely rare.


One risk where all orthodontic patients are vulnerable is their teeth relapsing into their old position. All patients are given a retainer to wear post-treatment with instructions on how often they need to wear it, and if the patient doesn’t comply with their orthodontists’ instructions, they risk their teeth shifting back into their old position. It really boils down to the individual patient and how often they wear their retainer post-treatment.

As you can see, most of the risks and complications associated with orthodontic treatment are caused by poor oral health. For patients who are concerned about maintaining good oral health with braces, it’s recommended to have Invisalign instead. These clear aligners can be removed whenever eating and cleaning your mouth, making it easier to maintain good oral health during treatment.

For more information on the risks and complications associated with orthodontic treatment, reach out to the professionals at Clear Smiles Orthodontics by phoning their friendly staff on 07 5593 3733.

About the author

Ella Stephen