Tales of Woe

braces gone bad

Extraction Woes and MPD
by Christian in Phoenix, Arizona

For many people who decide to get braces feel it is a positive change and for many it is but as for me it has been a living nightmare. Most of my life I was pretty happy with my smile, I knew as a child I needed braces but my parents couldn't not afford them. I didnít have problems with my teeth until I turned 21 where I noticed wear on certain parts of my teeth. I decided to seek orthodontic help at 24 years of age. Even though I went to school for dental assisting and felt I has a good knowledge of general dentistry, orthodontics was not a field I knew much about.

A school mate was working for an orthodontist as the time so I decided to go in for a consultation. A the consultation I addressed my concerns and what I wanted to change about my smile. He informed me that I had a cross bite with a slight overjet which was causing the wear on my teeth He stated that in order to fix my cross-bite and overjet he would have to remove a total or four teeth to make room. I let him know I didnít want to get my teeth removed and asked him if there was anything else he could do to help me. He stated if I would have came to him as a child then he could have used an expander but because I was an adult the sutures in my skull fused and bone could no longer be moved. Leading me to believe that there where no other options for my problem other than to have extractions I agreed to his recommended treatment. I was never explained the risk of having braces like gum recession, swollenness of the gums or even that I would have to wear a retainer for the rest of my life.

After placement of the braces and the removal of my teeth I began experiencing many problems. In the course of my treatment I brought these symptoms to the doctors attention. He was always really insensitive to my complaints and made me feel like the symptoms I was experiencing where normal and that they would go away as soon as the braces came off. Further into my treatment I began to develop more serious symptoms like headaches, dizziness, vertigo, limited movement and locking of the jaw, neck shoulder and back pain, loss of hearing, earaches, ringing and stuffiness in the ears, numbness in fingers and arms and even pain and soreness in and around my jaw. I went to doctors for some of these problems but they could not find anything wrong with me.

I once went to urgent care because of severe vertigo and suspected ear infection. After examination the doctor did not find anything wrong with my ear but mentioned these symptoms where common in people with braces. Almost two years in braces and I could no longer take the pain so I requested that the braces be removed and I be removed from his care.

Since the treatment was not finished I had to find a new orthodontist to finish the rest of the treatment. I met a very reputable doctor who after seeing my before pictures and x-rays confirmed that I did not have to have teeth removed. He explained that the symptoms I was experiencing was from a condition called MPD (Myofascial Pain Dysfunction Syndrome) caused by a bad bite. I have always been a very healthy person and never suffered from any of these symptoms before I got braces.

In my opinion my face is now disfigured my quality of life has been changed not to mention the impact it has had on my emotional and mental being. Now I have to go through more pain and expense to reverse and get my face close to what is used to be. I have discovered that this happens to a lot of people and many donít speak up about it. I feel I have been lied to and taken advantage of and I wouldn't want this to happen to anyone else. It has been one of the hardest things to go through as a young woman. I have also discovered in my research that there are now braces that fix many types of bites without extractions and I believe this new technology should be mandated to an orthodontist as an option for patients.

Editor's comments: I feel so bad for Christian. I hope that she finds relief and that her condition improves soon. MPD is a condition that is often related to TMJ and can often be mistaken for (or accompanied by) Fibromyalgia. It is sometimes also associated with Hypothyroidism.

Any time that extractions or surgery may be involved in your treatment, you should get multiple opinions before proceeding. If Christian had consulted with 2 or 3 additional orthodontists, she may have been informed that extraction was not her only option. And as many of us know, adults can get their palates expanded, although it usually involves surgery. Some of the newer bracket and arch wire technology can often eliminate the need for extraction,  but not every orthodontist is trained in these techniques.

Your orthodontist should always inform you of the risks involved in your treatment, and if he does not, you should always ask what risks may be involved. No treatment of any kind is without risk. In most cases everything turns out fine, but when we make changes to any part of our bodies, there is always an element of risk. The important thing is to feel comfortable with the expertise of the doctor doing the work, and to understand what changes may result.

For more information about Myofascial Pain Dysfunction Syndrome, visit these websites:









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