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Oregon Boy Wears Braces for 11 Years, Sues Orthodontist

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Why would an orthodontist leave braces on a kid's teeth for 11 years?  That's what Devin Bost of Oregon says his orthodontist did to him, from the time he was 7 until he was 18 years old.

Bost is suing Brad Chvatal, D.M.D., for what Bost's complaint says were permanent injuries to his teeth, mouth and gums.  The complaint, filed Friday in Multnomah County circuit court, seeks $150,000 for pain and suffering, plus $35,100, which Bost's attorney, David Hollander, said is what his client has had to pay for corrective oral surgery and related expenses.

Kids typically wear braces for only one to three years, says Dr. John F. Buzzatto, president of the American Association of Othodontists, which, according to him, is the oldest and largest dental specialty organization in the world.

Buzzatto said there can be situations where a patient might need extended treatment: A patient might have impacted teeth, say, or an over-developed lower jaw, or might move away from his orthodontist and "disappear for five or six years."

Still, for somebody to wear braces 11 years would be "extremely unusual," Buzzatto said.

"I could not think of an instance where that would be the case," he said.

Chvatal, contacted by ABC News, said that privacy rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and doctor-patient confidentiality prevent his discussing the details of the case, but that it was "very complicated."

He and Bost's previous orthodontist tried to give Bost "the best result we possibly could," he said.

"We had a great rapport," Chvatal said of his former patient.  He said there are extenuating circumstances, and that Bost did "a lot of moving."

Hollander said Bost did move, but stayed in the area around Eugene and Cottage Grove, where Chvatal has his offices, during the entire period.

Chvatal said he has submitted all relevant medical documents to his insurer, the American Association of Orthodontists Insurance Company, whose experts found nothing outside the scope of standard care.  A claims manager for the carrier said its investigation is not yet complete.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio