I feel nauseous....son's teeth have decalcified around braces!

reno_fanNovember 8, 2006

OMG, you guys I feel like someone punched me in the stomach. Son had an ortho appt today, and they stripped down all of his wires, only to reveal that has has those white decalcification marks around the brackets! These are permanent; they tell me there is nothing that can be done, as bleaching only makes them stand out more.

I'm both shocked and sad, and slightly unnerved to know that I'm paying almost 6k to straighten teeth that will not look "good" when the braces are off.

The thing that gets me is that over the 18mos he's had them on, they've only had to tell him once to brush better. The last time we came in, they told us he was doing a much better job, and that his teeth looked good.

I called our dentist, and he said that you really can't do anything about decalcification marks, other than veneers or crowns. Can I just *tell* you how I feel about the thought of spending an additional 3-5k to do that? Not to mention, they won't even consider doing veneers or crowns until he's about 17, as the teeth are still growing.

Please tell me if you've been through this before.... I need to know that DS's teeth won't look like those "Bubba" teeth you can buy around Halloween....

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Oh reno, so sorry!! I've no experience with the marks and am not really sure what they are, but I know how awful it must feel to do what you think is a great thing and then find out it has some unforeseen bad consequence. Did they say what causes this? I had braces long ago (early 70s) when you wore full bands around your teeth, and my teeth were a different color in the places the bands hadn't been. That never went away, but isn't too pronounced. I don't think most people notice, but I've always wished I could do something about it. I've tried bleaching etc to no avail. I wish I could tell you something you could do but I just don't know. I have heard of newer veneers that don't require you to etch the enamel, but they're still expensive and it seems a shame to have to go that route because of braces!

Hopefully others will know more about this than I and can offer suggestions.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 4:05PM
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It's basically pre-cavity erosion marks, due to improper care of the teeth. That's what gets me; we were just in last month, and they said his teeth looked good. I can't imagine that this happened in a month! It must've been building up, and they just didn't see it until they completely took everything apart.

This is what it looks like, though there's no telling how bad it'll be until we get DS's braces off in a few months. His may be this bad, it may be worse, or it may not be quite this severe:

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 6:03PM
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Reno, I'm sorry this has happened to your son, but I wanted to thank you for posting this. My oldest got braces a few months ago and this was never mentioned. I will be bringing it up at our next visit. Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 7:16PM
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I googled using the terms decalcified braces treat and came across a web page for Brite White. There is a blurb deep down on the page that says:

"Lighter decalcified areas should be noted because these areas may be intensified, making them lighter at the beginning. After continued treatments for bleaching, these areas will often blend. Proper rinsing after treatment with BriteWhiteÂs Mouth Rinse will neutralize the teeth."


I also came upon several websites talking about remineralizing the enamel of the teeth using flouride gels, applied the same way bleaching gel would work.

It may not be hopeless. Get other opinions.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 9:21PM
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All is not lost! My daughter's braces were removed last month and we had been told than she too had some decalcification, but the ortho did such a good job polishing them that it's hardly noticeable. Of course, I haven't looked at them with my glasses on, but no one else has said anything. I think that picture is probably way worse than your son's will look. My friend's daughter had the same problem and again, I personally never noticed anything; she has a beautiful smile. So it very well not be as bad as feared!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 11:35PM
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Thanks guys. That's just what I needed to hear. The Ortho has put him on a rigid flouride treatment, and has changed his course of treatment to get him out of the braces sooner. (Why couldn't he have just done that from the beginning???)

I'm feeling MUCH better about it today. Yesterday was just a generally horrid day, and it seemed at every turn there was some other disappointment. Hearing that DS's teeth may have irreversible damage was just more than I could stand.

Not to mention, my checkbook was about the catch on fire, as everywhere I went I was having to write some huge check, and I got nothing cute in return!! I can spend money with the rest of them, but this was not fun money spending. It was bills, ortho payments, etc. Harumph.

Thanks again, all!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 10:10AM
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Glad to hear you're feeling better, reno! I did a small search, like lilathabit suggested, and saw an anecdotal piece of info about some sort of natural toothpaste made from salt and water. The person wrote that for whatever reason, her calcifications diminished and she hoped her teeth were remineralizing. She mentioned making the mouth more alkaline. This was some kind of health message board and I believe the product was called Sole (I thought she was brushing with fish, LOL). I was going to post the link but my dial-up crapped out on me and I lost it. Of course, who knows whether or not there is anything to it! Couldn't hurt, though.

BTW, my teeth didn't get those white marks, they just turned yellow(er) where I didn't have bands, and that never went away. Maybe someday I can get lumineers, though by the time I can afford it I doubt I'll care :)

Hey! I just found it again:

Here is a link that might be useful: Sole toothpaste

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 1:09PM
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I used to be a dental hygienist - long ago. I cleaned ALOT of kids teeth post ortho. I have to say I very, very rarely ever saw anything even close to the photo you posted. About the only time I ever saw something like that was when MY orthodontist showed me a similar photo and said this is what will happen to you if you don't brush and floss religiously. I would try not to agonize over it too much at this point.

Does DS drink alot of sugary beverages - or any other frequent sugary thing like gum, etc? If so I'd stop that.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 2:23PM
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You might also want to ask your dentist about MI Paste. It's supposed to remineralize teeth, in some cases reversing pre-cavity conditions. I don't know if it would help with decalcification, but it might be worth checking out.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 2:59PM
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I'll check into the MI Paste and the Sole toothpaste. You guys are the best!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 4:35PM
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Take a deep breath. This won't be near as bad as you think it will and we speak from experience.

DivaD1's teeth decalicified from phosphoric acid (in cokes, LOTS of carbonated/sports drinks- even the 'clear' ones they tell you are OK). With DD2, it was milk, water and that was it. That stuff's in everything.

Bleaching helped DivaD1's teeth a LOT- I think she's the only one who notices this at all. Since she got hers off (OMG- 9 years ago!) they've been able to 'remineralize' to some extent.

Be careful- be VERY careful because some dentists will not bring this up, as veneers are so much more profitable.

Wonder if we use the same ortho...

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 7:22PM
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"Be careful- be VERY careful because some dentists will not bring this up, as veneers are so much more profitable. "

I hate to say it, but I was wondering about that myself...

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 9:43PM
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LOL!! I catch your drift. I can guarantee you that I would exhaust *ALL* other options before doing veneers or crowns! Even if it meant "cheating" on our dentist that we've used for years!

We've already told DS that his first car in 2 years will be a "HoverRound" if we have to spend any more money on his teeth.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 7:36AM
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No crowns. That's the ultimate overkill and is never done unless the body of the tooth cannot be saved. Nothing wrong with the body of the tooth- just cosmetic issues. No crowns.

We had some notice that DivaD1 had some calicification issues (she cheated shamelessly and consumed soft drinks on the sly), but it sounds like you did not. I think I would ask the ortho if this happened within a month's time. If not (and it doesn't) I would point out that you hadn't been given notice that brushing/behaviors weren't up to par and his office was in the position to point this out.

Maintaining oral health while straightening is part of their mission, I'm sure, and I wouldn't hesitate to tell them you aren't happy with the situation. See what they put on the table (maybe bleaching at the end of the treatment or the remineralizing regimine) If not, tell them you think they should do this. Tell them you want to be happy with these straight teeth--that's part of the package.

One very unhappy orthodontic family will tell a lot of other potential patients. The offices know this.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 9:09AM
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You're right on Pecan. Actually the Ortho (Dr. Kierl, you may know him) has had a wonderful "Let's not get too excited...let's just see what we can do" attitude. Our dentist is the one who told us that the only option would be crowns or veneers. I'm right there with you on NO CROWNS. It simply makes no sense to even *discuss* carving down perfectly good teeth, just to fix a cosmetic blemish. No way. Not gonna happen. I normally love our dentist (Dr. Naifeh, you may also know him...), but I'll be hung before I jump headlong into a full set of crowns or veneers!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 9:55AM
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I feel your pain reno--I hope everything works out for the best!!

My ds is on a 3 month cleaning schedule with our regular dentist because he wasn't doing a very good job cleaning around his braces...they always say he looks good now...so we are keeping our fingers crossed...only time will tell

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 8:53AM
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Oh Reno!.. I am sorry.. I am just now reading this. My dughter is getting her braces off in like 6 days and has been doing an A-1 job with cleaning the whole time but I worry so very much. Like you it makes me a bit woozy to think how much we have spent but since her's was a bite issue that was messing up her jaw I do feel a smidge better about it. I will keep you guys in our prayers.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 10:33AM
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I'm so sorry!!! I'm forwarding this thread to DD right now.

She's only had'm 3 months or so, and she went from fanatically following every thing she's supposed to do, to basically being forced to brush. And I've got the scary card with the pics of the holey teeth in with her teeth cleaning supplies!

Hope the paste and toothpaste work out,


    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 7:08PM
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We are about to put braces on my son who is HORRIBLE about brushing his teeth. If no one nagged him he'd go weeks without brushing. I have to remind him to change his underwear, to put shampoo on his hair, to wear deodorant. Ugh. I hope someday soon his desire to impress girls will kick in and he'll care about his personal hygiene.

I am printing out this thread for him to see. Whether it will have an effect, who knows, but it's worth a shot!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 10:00PM
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Reno - how are your son's teeth now? My son had his braces put on in May and he's already had one warning from the dentist that if he doesn't get it together, he's taking them off.

I've bought him a special electronic brush that is meant for braces as well - the Rota-dent. The problem is that he doesn't brush unless I FORCE him. I don't always remember, and if I don't, his teeth don't get brushed. I may take your picture you posted and put it on his mirror as a reminder/warning.

BOYS - why are they so gross?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 4:51PM
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When my son was all of two years old I noticed a HUGE cavity in one of his back teeth. He ended up in surgery because most of his teeth were bad. It's like a birth defect where he was born without the enamel on his teeth to protect them. I can't even keep track of how many crowns he's had over the years (baby crowns do not cost the same as adult teeth crowns).
He's had metal spacers in his mouth for about 6 years, and at the last visit the dentist started talking about braces!!!!!! This kid needs a break!
Here's what I've learned: Every or nearly every night I make him sit down in the living room with a toothbrush. I have him gently wiggle the bristles between his teeth. This has kept his gums healthy, warded off most cavities, and made a huge difference in how white his teeth are. After about 20 minutes, he goes and brushes his teeth with toothpaste.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 9:07PM
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Thanks to elenkao for alerting me to the resurrection of this thread!

Snookums, I can so relate. What is it with boys at that age? My little brother was the same way. I literally used to cringe when he talked or smiled. He *never* brushed his teeth.

My son is scheduled to get the braces off in a few months. I've had to make my peace with the fact that a.)my own teeth are prone to discolorations and alot of it is hereditary, and b.) if his teeth are damaged, we'll just have to do the best we can with them.

That said, at his last checkup they said he was doing a MUCH better job of brushing, and I know for a fact he's been using the fluoride gel as they recommended.

I still get a knot in my stomach thinking about it, but we just won't know until they're off. :(

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 7:08PM
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I need a little encouragement! I was just informed of this problem of decalcification with my son. Braces should come off in a few months. I'm upset that my ortho didn't bring it to my attention earlier. It's hard to tell right now how much damage is done. The Dentist seemed very upset about it which made me very concerned. Are there any updates? What was the outcome for DS?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 2:29PM
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I would try one of the whitening and remineralizing toothpastes. I use Sensodyne's ProNamel.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 10:27PM
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