August 29, 2012
Patient Stuck In Braces For 11 Years, Sues Orthodontist
Connie K. Ho for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Even with the pain that comes with wearing braces, patients generally don´t have to suffer too long. However, one patient recently sued his orthodontist for not removing his braces for over 11 years.
Devin Bost, a 22-year-old from Oregon, had his braces from seven years to 18 years of age. He is suing Brad Chvatal for permanent injuries related to his gums, mouth, and teeth. His complaint included $35,100 for corrective oral surgery and other dental expenses, along with $150,000 for pain and suffering.
According to Dr. John F. Buzzatto, president of the American Association of Orthodontics, braces are generally worn between one to three years. There are certain situations where treatment is extended past three years. However, 11 years would be “extremely unusual.”
"I could not think of an instance where that would be the case," Buzzatto told ABC News. "If you don't have the best hygiene, you run the risk of decalcification of the teeth."
CBS News reports that Bost first met with one orthodontist to have the braces installed. He later became a patient of Chvatal in 1997 when he lived in Eugene, Oregon. Bost attended visits “periodically” in the eleven-year period. In 2008, Bost received “an urgent phone call” from the dental office of Chvatal, urging him to visit to remove his braces immediately.
Due to the long duration of having the braces, Bost allegedly has serious tooth decay and periodontal disease. Hollander noted that Bost has had to have some rotten teeth removed and replaced by implants. However, some teeth cannot be replaced as they have “rotted to the jaw.”
"What I'm told by the experts is, 'You can't do this. You can't keep them on that long. It's just not done," David Hollander, Bost´s attorney, commented in an article by The Oregonian.
Chvatal also told the Oregonian that he couldn´t have seen Bost beginning in 1997 because the Oregon Board of Dentistry as an orthodontist hadn´t licensed him until 2002.
"We have the utmost respect for them and empathy, and treat them - everybody - with the best quality care as we possibly can," remarked Chvatal in The Oregonian article.
When contacted for comment by various media sources, Chvatal concluded that he could not offer details on the specific case due to privacy rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act as well as doctor-patient confidentiality.
"We had a great rapport," Chvatal commented on his relationship with Bost in the ABC News article.
Chvatal will be working through the investigation and has already submitted all medical documents related to the case to the American Association of Orthodontists Insurance Company.
For individuals who are concerned about their own dental health, the American Association of Orthodontists is a useful resource. The organization recommends that children have a check-up with an orthodontist no later than the age of seven. Orthodontists can help diagnose, limit, and treat irregularities related to teeth and face.