What to Do About This Orthodontist?

Updated on February 06, 2019
J.H. asks from Saint Louis, MO
19 answers

So my daughter has completed her “phase one” of orthodontic work to fix an overbite. During that course of treatment, starting around the age of 10, she had 6 teeth pulled. The first two by a dentist and the other 4 by a oral surgeon with laughing gas. After the first teeth pulling my daughter was beyond traumatized so that is why we spent the extra dough to have an oral surgeon do the next recommended teeth to extraction.

Now 2 years later, we are in the limbo phase before the 2nd phase where the orthodontist wants to put braces on (top & bottom). So we just go in every 3 months or so for a checkup. 2 visits ago the orthodontist was concerned because 2 of her adult teeth had not erupted yet. He recommended an X-ray to see what was going on at the next appointment. At the next appointment the X-ray was completed and he recommended to us that we should pull another 2 teeth so that they would come
in without “forceful eruption”.

I put my foot down. Said we pulled these primary teeth 2 years ago at your request (daughter is now 12.5yrs old) and the teeth still have not erupted, could it be that she is a late developer when it comes to this? I also asked what the benefit was of another emotional trauma of teeth extraction? He ignored me and just kept saying this is what we have to do. His assistant apologized said let’s just see her again in another 3 months and revisit this. As I made the 3 month appointment he came out to somewhat apologize for being short with me but said he was willing to see what happens in three months. Husband and I looked at developmental teeth chart and eruption time of those teeth are 11-12 years so she isn’t late by any means.

My daughter is done says she will not go back and wants a second opinion at another orthodontist. So do we stop seeing this orthodontist altogether, do We attempt another visit or do we just get a second opinion? Will another orthodontist take her on? Currently she is just wearing a retainer to keep everything in place. TIA!

Edit: all the teeth extracted were healthy teeth. After going to this orthodontist’s office for the past 2 years, it sounds like teeth extraction is one of his typical methods of treatment. We went to this orthodontist on the recommendation of our dentist.

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So What Happened?

Thanks all for the confirmation on getting a 2nd opinion. I truly appreciated the advice about supporting her in the beginning stages of making her own medical decisions, so right on.

When we selected this orthodontist after we had already visited 2 others. One wanted to cement an appliance in her mouth for 18 months, the other said do nothing. Our dentist whom we trusted, felt something needed to be done with the overbite and over crowding. So we went with the guy who seemed middle of the road until the teeth extractions started happening which didn’t happen until 3 or 4 months in. Lesson learned the hard way for all of us.

Featured Answers

W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

J.

Welcome to mamapedia.

Get a second opinion. Really. Even a third.

She's had a LOT of teeth pulled. Mine never had theirs pulled and one needs to get his wisdom teeth out and he's 18.

When I had braces - I had 4 taken out.

I'd search for another orthodontist.

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D.S.

answers from Miami on

I went to 3 different orthodontist's and hear 3 different opinions, one wanted to take several teeth out now and wait until he was about 12 to start braces, the other wanted only expandors but was charging double what the other 2 did and the one we chose requested two teeth out and the rest will be done with braces. I did request the Xrays from the 1st one as well as what the dentist took so he didn't have to keep taking them and exposing him to radiation.
Ask you family and friends for recommendations and go for other opinions, I don't think it's too late. Good luck to you!

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

You don't trust the orthodontist. You don't like the orthodontist. He ignored you. Although he apologized, that doesn't take away the feeling you had or the fact that his assistant had to smooth things over.

Your daughter can't stand him. That's a deal breaker.

Get a second opinion anyway, and ask around for someone with a much better bedside manner. I just had to do that for my husband, and he's far from a kid! The first guy was incredibly dismissive to both of us. While I don't think we have to love every professional we visit, if someone is unconcerned with a patient's emotional state, that's a red flag.

Why wouldn't another orthodontist see her? When you find someone, sign a release with the front desk to have her records and x-rays sent for a 2nd opinion. If you like the new person, just cancel that 3 month appointment with the current person and move on.

Something to keep in mind - aside from the teeth, your daughter is entering puberty and will need to be comfortable with a medical doctor too so she can start discussing her own care and her own body. So this is a good time to let her know that her feelings matter, and while she can't decline medical treatment, she can start to have a say in the personality of the people who handle her care. Her feelings matter and she's wise to speak up. Encourage that.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

So 8 teeth altogether?

My understanding was 4 was the most that is 'typically' removed - and a lot of orthodontists avoid removing teeth whenever possible. There are other factors to consider when removing teeth (changes how tongue sits in the month, profile, etc.).

In our experience, my son has overcrowding but his orthodontist is not removing any teeth. Our son is older.

I think you're right to trust your gut. I would get a second opinion.

ETA:
Saw your SWH. These things happen. I think kids going in young for braces (often recommended these days by certain dentists, is becoming the norm. We have an old school, middle aged dentist, who we picked because he really felt that waiting until you absolutely had to do stuff was the way to go. With our family history (medically) .. that's our philosophy on things. You never know how things will go in the end naturally, and so we just liked his approach. So we did braces later, and very minimal work had to be done. We had one dentist who suggested pulling all our kids' baby teeth, and instead kept with our regular dentist (who was a commute), and none had to be pulled - period. The all came out and grew in fine - our one kid who needs braces, that's just because of some overcrowding but it's minimal and it's really purely cosmetic. He doesn't need any pulled - that's the ortho saying that. I'm so glad we didn't go with what that other dentist suggested. However, he pulls all the kids' teeth he sees. It's just their approach. They must develop it at dentistry school, and who knows .. maybe they charge for it and they pay off their student loans that way. Maybe they honestly feel it makes for a better bite .. Whatever. Anyhow, lots of moms/parents go through what you do - it comes up here all the time on this site. It's too bad this is such a pain for parents. I do think waiting for braces is the way to go through - from what I can tell from the kids we know and our experience. I know it's hard when kids go through their childhood and tween years with teeth issues, but then at least they don't need these 'phases'. One kid we know has had the braces, and then will require more in her teens! I can't imagine.

Good luck and keep us posted :) It would be nice to know that it all works out for your daughter.

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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

If I'm counting correctly, this guy wants to pull a total of 8 teeth? WOW!. No.

Stop going to this guy. He sounds like he has no bedside manner and loves to inflict pain by pulling teeth. no.

All 4 of my boys had braces. Only 2 had teeth pulled and those were wisdom teeth growing in at an angle.

We learned our lesson about Phase 1 and Phase 2 with the first child. We found an orthodontist who wanted to do it right the first time. Not this 18 months and partially fixed and then come back for more and pay twice as much?? No. No. No. Learned the hard way.

Get a second opinion.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

I'm kind of surprised about pulling so many baby teeth unless they were badly damaged/rotted.
Usually some time using expanders makes the jaws large enough that there is plenty of room for the teeth and then the baby teeth pretty much fall out when the emerging adult teeth dissolve their roots.

Make an appointment or two for a second opinion - keep the appointment with your current orthodontist until you've decided if you will go with another.

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T.D.

answers from New York on

Get another opinion. Period.
My son is missing 9 permanent teeth the first ortho (we were referred by our dentist to see him) started talking extractions at the consultation. We left there thinking nope!
We had a second consultation with a different one and her recommendation was to wait. Wait till all baby teeth had fallen out naturally then come back and she would take another look and start a plan then. My son is 8

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S.P.

answers from New York on

I would get a second opinion...
When I was 9 we moved, and when I went to a new dentist, he cleaned my teeth and told my mom everything looked fine, and I should come for my next cleaning in 6 months. After the next visit he still did not mention braces, so my mom asked. The dentist said "What makes you think she needs braces?" My mom explained that just before we moved the other dentist was preparing to put braces on my teeth. The new dentist told my mom, I did not need braces. (My parents thought back and realized every kid that saw the old dentist got braces... apparently whether they needed them or not.) I never did get braces and my teeth are straight.
That experience has always left me wary. You're at their mercy. They are the experts. Get a second opinion, it will put your mind at ease that this is truly the best course of action... or not.

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S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

while i'm not a big fan of 12 years deciding who and what their treatments will be, why NOT get another opinion?

what was traumatic about the initial extraction?

he does sound awfully eager to take teeth out. there may well be a great reason for it, but since none of you are particularly confident in him, i'd certainly want some validation for his prognosis before proceeding further.

khairete
S.

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J.K.

answers from Chicago on

You have a lot of different issues going on here. One group of issues relates to dislike of the orthodontist. I completely agree with everyone else – get someone new. The second group of issues deal with understanding the treatment your daughter is receiving and what the ultimate goal of the treatment process is. It is fairly common for orthodonture to take place in two phases today.

My understanding was always that phase 1 involves capitalizing on the body’s naturally occurring growth spurt to help reshape the mouth and jaw if needed. Sometimes, depending on the child, that needs to take place earlier than the tooth straightening process of braces. For example, you mention “cementing an appliance into the mouth.“ This is actually fairly common for children with bite issues. All my children had something called an expander placed across the roof of their mouths. We were responsible for cranking the expander every night until the appropriate width was achieved. Once the spacing was correct, the appliance was locked into position to provide stability while the bone structure hardened. Typically these appliances need to stay in the mouth for 12 to 18 months to allow for the change they have accomplished to become permanent.

Depending on your child’s particular bite issues, she may also need something called a Mara or a Herbst appliance. These work in concert with the expander to push the lower jaw forward. Again, once the bite is correctly aligned, the appliance will need to stay in place for a while to allow the new bone growth to harden.

Because of the typical gap in time between phase 1 and phase 2 treatments, we have often experienced that each phase is priced and paid for separately. If this is the case for you, it should be fairly simple to leave orthodontist number one now that phase 1 is complete it. If you have already paid for phase 2, or if the payments are combined and spread over a payment plan, you will need to negotiate a release from this payment plan. You may wind up losing some money but it sounds like it will still be worth it to get away from the emotional trauma being caused by the first orthodontist. Not to mention the money you will save by not pulling any more teeth!

Once you have found the new orthodontist, please be sure to let your pediatrician know about your experiences with his recommended provider. We had a bad experience with the dentist recommended by our pediatrician once. When I told the pediatrician what happened they were surprised, did some investigation, concluded that my experience was far from unique, and stopped recommending that dentist.I would also suggest leaving some kind of online review with yelp or on the old orthodontist’s webpage if that is possible.

What did the oral surgeon say about the removal of the teeth that they performed? Sometimes people in situations like that will reveal that they get lots of tooth extraction referrals from a particular orthodontist. Sometimes they will hint at the idea that perhaps it is not necessary. Add a minimum, I would be wary about using that oral surgeon for anything in the future given his willing participation in previous questionable extractions.

Good luck to both you and your daughter!

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T.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

Wow!! I would be traumatized by all of this and I'm an adult. I know the expense is there but I think an 2nd opinion is warranted here. This is causing a lot of stress for your family, especially your daughter. Ask around for recommendations and take her to another ortho. Good luck!!

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

Get a second or even a third option. Then decide which orthodontist you want to use.

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S.L.

answers from Denver on

A second opinion is a really good idea no matter what. Most orthos will do it for free because it is a highly competitive business and they know it could turn into thousands for them. But, just a side note, sometimes, extractions are the way to go for overcrowding. Both my sisters had teeth pulled and their teeth have remained very straight and aligned. I did not have teeth extracted (went to a different ortho.) and all my teeth have moved back and it was a waste of time and money (the first ortho I saw recommended having teeth pulled).
I am of the opinion that I wouldn't put a kid through ortho treatment until all their teeth are finished growing in. But there are many new ways of doing things now.

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L.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Find out which local university has a dental school. Make an appointment with their ortho department. They know what’s best.

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M.S.

answers from Washington DC on

I can't believe how many teeth he pulled and at such a young age!! Most of them probably would have come out naturally. Definitely get some new opinions and a new dr. What the heck is his rush?!

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C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

Ugh that's awful. I say get a 2nd opinion- it can't hurt. I ignored the dentist and orthopedist saying my son needed braces for a few years and finally took him at age 13 to get them on. It seems like they start so early now and I'm not sure there is a true reason to do that for most kids (except they can make more money). My son is almost 15 now and his teeth are beautifully straight. I believe there is no hurry and get a 2nd opinion! There is no need to make your daughter go through that. I would definitely try to switch to someone else who can be more patient and does not extract teeth!

E.J.

answers from Chicago on

I’m glad you decided to get a second opinion.

You did the right thing in the beginning by getting 3 opinions, just stinks it turned out this way.

When I was trying to find an orthodontist for my kids, I also ‘interviewed’ the mom’s of the patients. I asked about different scenarios (did you ever call with after hour emergencies and how was it handled, ever questioned a procedure, what do you wish was different, etc.) just trying to find out more info. I found out some pretty good info that helped me pick (or not pick) our orthodontist.

Hope things work out for you and your daughter.

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A.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J., My daughter is 11 years old and she is doing phase one treatment and has had 8 teeth removed she had three rows of teeth and very severe crowding, all healthy teeth too baby teeth that came out late my husband's side loses teeth very very late. So went to an orthodontist when she was 10 long story short this ortho was not good they were nice at first but then they did things like putting molar bands on baby teeth, take out her expander out after a few weeks, etc. One time they were trying to put in her expander when she first got it on they shoved it in her mouth and it was so bad that her mouth bled. Now my daughter is very shy and does not say anything when people are like this that is why I go in with her but no, this ortho refused to let parents in! They put it on so badly like the glue wasn't strong enough and it fell off 2 times so they used that as an excuse to take it out early my daughter did not say anything either and she was excited to have it out but they kept the molar bands on and she hated it they hurt so bad she wanted to cry I just heard all this info later on.

So I came to my senses and left that orthodontist they were very rude too all they wanted was money. So I took her to an ortho that I knew and trusted very much most of our family had gone to him and he is very friendly. So we went and got a consultation and we got her expander put in not the quad helix with molar bands but a hyrax it has acrylic blocks that go on her teeth nothing shoved in her mouth then each night we had to turn it with a key and it expanded she told me that now that we are done turning it she can even fell a hole in the roof of her mouth and that means it worked there was no different last time and then we are just leaving it in to keep everything in place, the next month she got braces and that was very easy it took about an hour and they were very nice and welcoming. She has to have her braces for 18 months if everything goes well. She looks forward to all her visits to this office and loves it they are so nice to us.

I am very sorry for sharing my life story but I am sharing our experience so anyway my daughter is going to be done probably next year. My advice for you is yes go to another office and see what they think if you have friends with kids who did ortho maybe ask them where they went and go from there your daughter saying that she does not want to go is a great indication that you need to leave she needs to be comfortable you are very wise with how you are handling this. If you have any questions or advice feel free to dm me.

, A.

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E.M.

answers from Louisville on

Why the heck did he pull 6 teeth?!?!?! Thats insane! My daughter had ONE pulled bc it was a baby tooth and the permeant one just would not come in (she was 14). After the baby tooth was pulled a little chain was put on to pull up the other tooth its working awesome and will gt a bracket on that tooth soon. The tooth was pulled in august so 6 months ago. I would absolutely find a new orthodontist this guy sounds like a wacko. Have you looked him up online to see what others have said. Good luck I know how awful it can be. I had a crazy first orthodontist that wanted to break my jaw and wire it shut to correct my over bite! Thank god my mother found another doctor. I hope you all get it figured out im so sorry your baby had to go through that.

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