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If you landed on this article after researching how to get rid of your braces early, then you must be in a tough spot, and I’m here to help. You’re probably sick and tired of this ordeal and want to take matters into your own hands. So if you’re wondering if you can ask your orthodontist to take your braces off early, then this article is for you.
Whatever you’re going through, I’m not here to judge. Braces are a choice, and every single day spent with them on your teeth is also a choice. If anything, I want to give you some perspective, because this isn’t a small decision and you must be feeling confused and anxious. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have a better sense of what’s best for your particular situation.
How to ask your orthodontist to take your braces off
The short answer to your question is YES, you can absolutely ask for your braces to be removed. You can do this at any point during orthodontic treatment, it is your right as a patient. You should never feel like you’re trapped by a treatment or particular practice.
However, just because you CAN do this, it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. You and your orthodontist probably had an understanding, an estimate of how long your treatment will take and what it will involve.
The most important thing to understand when thinking about removing braces early is that braces will completely alter your bite during orthodontic treatment. This means that your bite will be off (and feel off) until it’s time to fix it during the last part of the treatment.
This, in my opinion, is the number one reason why you should consider hanging on for a little longer, even if your teeth look straight and your bite looks fine.
So here’s how I would go about this when asking the orthodontist to take your braces off:
- Talk to your orthodontist candidly about why you want your braces off. Maybe you can find a solution together.
- Give them a timeline of how soon you want your braces off. I strongly suggest you allow your doctor some time, at least a month or two, to work on your bite and get you ready for debond.
- Be patient until the big day. Wear the retainers you’ll get so you don’t loose all your progress.
- Consider getting braces or aligners again in the future. It’s never too late to pick up where you left off.
Open and honest communication is the best fix for accumulated tension between you and your orthodontist. If you want your braces off early, you’re clearly unhappy about something, and whatever it is, your orthodontist should know about it.
Talk to your doctor, whether it’s face to face, or in a carefully crafted email. They will most likely try to change your mind, but they won’t be able to refuse your request. You’ll be signing some papers and tying loose ends such as any contractual fees that you may need to pay. Your orthodontist should guide you through the entire process of terminating treatment early.
Now that you know your rights, let’s explore why some patients want their braces off early – let me know in the comments which one is you.
Reasons why patients ask braces to be removed
I once had a patient ask her braces to be removed just two days after bonding them. She just couldn’t stand the feeling on her lips. Despite reassuring her that she’ll get used to her brackets, and pleading to give it at least a couple more days, she was adamant about it. My super-sensitive patient wanted her braces off then and there.
Luckily, such extreme cases are rare, but I bet many of you have developed the same aversion to your braces causing you to want them off ASAP. Here are the main reasons that push patients over the edge:
1. Long Treatment Time
And, I might add, lack of progress. Your orthodontist gave you an estimate of how long you’ll be in braces, but for some reason, you’ve far surpassed that timeline. If things aren’t moving in the right direction, or you don’t see any progress at all, I strongly urge you to seek a second opinion before requesting your braces to be removed.
Make sure you’re not in the finishing or detailing phase where it’s difficult to notice any changes. Ask your orthodontist if your bite is stable enough to allow you to come out of braces. Maybe you’ll both be willing to compromise on getting 80% to your destination, rather than 100%.
Also, check your notion of long treatment time. If your orthodontist told you you’ll be in braces for 18 months, and it’s been 24 months, maybe you should adjust your expectations a little bit. Things like bone density, patient compliance with rubber bands, and even age can be factors that slow treatment down.
However, if it’s been more like 3 or 4 years in braces, then yes, it probably is too long, and it won’t be too surprising if you call it quits.
2. Pain & Discomfort
Some patients have unrealistic expectations about what braces will feel like, and I can’t blame them. Tooth sensitivity is different for everyone. I have patient with sever misalignment that are doing just fine, while other struggle for the entire duration of the treatment.
If you’re sick of dealing with stabbing wires, pain after every wire change, and food that gets impossibly stuck after every single meal, you have my sympathies. These small details can add up, and, like the woman I mentioned before, some people might want to quit because they “can’t stand” their braces.
If this is you, I have a couple of suggestions that might convince you to give braces one more chance:
- Visit your dental hygienist regularly. There’s nothing like squeaky clean teeth to lift spirits.
- Invest in a good water flosser. Water flossers are a great tool for soothing your gums, and they will help with stuck food, too.
- Don’t ignore emergencies. Loose brackets, pokey wires, shifting wires – don’t let them get too serious. Ask for an emergency appointment before your cheek starts to hurt.
- Get your ice-cold food ready whenever it’s time for a wire change. Eating cold foods will significantly reduce your pain. And give it a week. Your teeth will adjust, I promise.
- Have fun with some new colors. It might sound silly, but turning your braces into a fashion accessory might just be the motivation you need when you feel it’s all getting too much.
3. Financial Troubles
This is a delicate issue, as most patients with this problem will be very embarrassed to bring this up to their orthodontists. Some just never show up and fall completely under the radar for months. Hopefully, this won’t be you.
If you no longer afford to make your payments, have an honest conversation with your orthodontist. I am 100% sure your doctor will come up with a revised payment plan. I don’t think there’s any orthodontist out there who will suddenly stop treating their patients just because they no longer can afford it.
I’ve had my fair share of pro-bono patients, and I wouldn’t mind helping a patient in need. I’m pretty sure most orthodontists feel this way. And if you’ve been with your doctor for a while, they already know you and are invested in your treatment success.
When Your Orthodontist Wants to Fire You
It’s not just patients who may want to fire their orthodontist. In some cases, it’s the other way around. If you’re not following your orthodontist’s instructions or taking care of your teeth, your orthodontist may decide that it’s time to part ways. Here are the main reasons why:
1. Poor Oral Hygiene
Your orthodontist wants to help you achieve a beautiful smile, but they can’t do it alone. If you’re not brushing and flossing regularly or not cleaning your braces properly, you’re putting your oral health at risk.
Poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and other serious dental problems. Your orthodontist may recommend that you have your braces removed if you’re not taking care of your teeth. It may seem like an extreme measure, but it’s actually the best thing for the health of your teeth.
2. Lack of Compliance
Orthodontic treatment requires a lot of patience and dedication. Your orthodontist will give you specific instructions on how to care for your braces, what foods to avoid, how to wear your rubber bands and how often to come in for appointments.
If you’re not following these instructions, your treatment may not progress as planned. Most orthodontists can take matters into their own hands and fire their patients if they’ve been missing many appointments, refusing to wear rubber bands and breaking numerous brackets every month.
3. Health Reasons
In some cases, your orthodontist may recommend that you have your braces removed for health reasons. If you develop a dental or medical condition that makes it difficult to wear braces, your orthodontist may suggest that you take them off.
Examples include the gum overgrowth seen in leukemia, pregnancy or caused by certain medications. When the gums end up covering teeth and braces, it becomes impossible to continue treatment. Health comes first and braces can wait.
Another reason why orthodontists are sometimes forced to remove braces is the need for a brain MRI. Some technicians may not allow patients with metal braces to have brain scans. However, this is not definitive, and your orthodontist will put the braces back on.
It’s impossible to assume what’s driving you to want your braces off, but whatever it is, it’s not new for us. Most orthodontists have dealt with early braces removal every once in a while. If no one can persuade you to give treatment another go, I hope your debond process will go smoothly and that your doctor will be empathetic. In the end, it’s your health and your happiness. Good luck!
Whether you’re new to braces or a braces veteran, taking care of your teeth (and your health) during orthodontic treatment is crucial. That’s why I’ve put together a list of orthodontist-recommended tools that will make caring for your braces a breeze: