Man Who Wore Braces for 11 Years Sues Orthodontist for Oral Damage

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Many of us in Missouri can recall being fitted for braces to straighten our teeth. Children who get braces generally keep them on for one to three years. Braces can be annoying and uncomfortable, so those of us who got them were usually very glad when our orthodontist took them off. But what if your orthodontist kept your braces on for 11 years?

A man says his former orthodontist caused damage to his teeth and mouth by making him wear his braces for that long. He had to undergo expensive oral surgery to correct the injuries, according to a lawsuit he filed against the orthodontist on Aug. 24. The dental malpractice suit seeks $150,000 in compensation.

The case is unusual enough to draw the attention of the president of the American Association of Orthodontists. He noted that in extreme cases, a patient’s impacted teeth or jaw problems could lead to an orthodontist keeping braces on for a long time, but 11 years of treatment is “extremely unusual.” He said that keeping braces on for an extended period of time could lead to decalcified teeth due to the difficulty of keeping teeth clean while wearing braces.

The defendant declined to discuss details of his treatment of the plaintiff, but claimed there were extenuating circumstances. He also said the former patient moved frequently, somehow complicating his ability to properly care for the teenager.

But the plaintiff’s attorney said that the patient never left the area near the orthodontist’s two offices. He said his client went to the defendant for exams “periodically” over the next 11 years, until the defendant’s office called him in 2008 saying they needed to remove the braces immediately.

Source: Good Morning America, “Boy Wears Braces for 11 Years, Sues Orthodontist,” Alan Farnham, Aug. 27, 2012

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