The archwire in my braces broke 4 times, do I dump my dentist?
September 20, 2013 10:33 AM   Subscribe

There is a spot in my lower teeth where there is a sharp(ish) bend between two molars. The arch wire in my braces keeps breaking at that point: 4 times in 4 months. It usually lasts about 4 days before breaking. I pointed this out to my dentist (he is not an orthodontist) and he said we just have to keep replacing it each time because I'm not ready for a thicker wire. I've completed 4 months of having braces so far. During one visit, he said not to worry about the disconnected part because another area in my mouth was more important, and left it disconnected for about a month (it's my very edge tooth, so the remainder wire was thrown out). Now it's back to breaking-time. I know little about having braces, but this seems way shady to me. I've already spent a lot of money, but should I switch to someone else? Or is this sort of thing normal? Thanks for your insight!
posted by film to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
To clarify your situation, you are an adult having orthodontic work done by a dentist who is not an orthodontist?

If this is the case, yes. You should run, not walk, to an orthodontist. If possible, one who specializes in dealing with adults.
posted by bilabial at 10:55 AM on September 20, 2013 [8 favorites]

Uh, maybe I'm misunderstanding, but why is your dentist practicing orthodontistry?

On preview, what bilabial said.
posted by SpecialSpaghettiBowl at 10:56 AM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Go to an orthodondist and get a second opinion. If your dentist is practicing orthodontia and he doesn't know what he's doing, you can sue him for malpractice and get your money back.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:58 AM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

When I was a kid I had this really old orthodontist who retired months after I got my braces off. He was old enough enough that he didn't even wear gloves. My teeth are straight but he used old techniques and tools that ended up doing cosmetic damage that I am still paying to have corrected decades later. Orthodontia is permanent and the stakes are high enough that I would absolutely get a second opinion if I felt uncomfortable with what was going on.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:09 AM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

you should ABSOLUTELY be seeing an ORTHODONTIST and not a dentist to have braces work done. seriously. go look one up right now. visit a couple. i went to the not best orthodontist in my town as a kid for stupid reasons and am pissed about it today as a 33 year old. and i'm in a similar situation to feloniousmonk. do it right the first time so you don't pay 3x the money to fix mistakes later. for real. i skimp on a lot of things and if you have the money do not skimp on orthodontia. get thee to an actual orthodontist!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:39 AM on September 20, 2013

Just to chime back in, I had the most heinous of overbites as a kid. I wore the head gear, the full Lisa Simpson treatment. I had 7 years of orthodontia, I wore a permanant retainer for nearly 10 years. I'm 50 and I wear a nightguard/retainer.

I had great orthodontia and my dentist just gazes upon my teeth in wonder, that's how pretty they are.

Do NOT cheap out on your teeth. Seriously, just don't.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:49 AM on September 20, 2013

If your teeth are not jet aligned enough so that you can get a stiffer archwire, it would be typical to use flexible wire that doesn't break, or one could at least expect that the dentist would change the wire before it breaks, or immediately after.

That said, not knowing this particular dentist (nor your mouth) it seems a bit harsh to blanket-assume that he doesn't know what he's doing. On the other hand, it is totally reasonable for you to get another opinion (rather: two, actually). I mean, you're the one who will wear that smile, not your dento-ortho-whatevero.
posted by Namlit at 11:55 AM on September 20, 2013

You're paying for these fix-it appointments?
posted by amanda at 9:11 AM on September 21, 2013

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