Braces and Invisalign treatment do an amazing job of treating all kinds of orthodontic issues. Most patients assume that treatment stops as soon as those come off. The reality is, it’s just as important to keep your teeth straight as it is to make them straight in the first place. If your retainer isn’t worn or you return to bad habits, you can end up with flared teeth. That’s when your teeth start angling outward instead of straight down. At Ohana Orthodontics, we want to help you prevent flared teeth, but we can repair flared teeth before and after braces if problems arise.
Ohana Orthodontics provides retainers after braces, but if those retainers aren’t worn properly, flared teeth can result. There are other causes for flared teeth even before braces. Let’s find out what flared teeth are, how they happen, how they can be prevented, or how they can be fixed.
Flared teeth or protruding teeth after braces, or even before them, are when the front teeth angle outward instead of down. Teeth flare out before braces often because of bad habits, smaller-than-average jaws, or simple overcrowding. Flared teeth after braces usually occur because the patient doesn’t wear their retainer properly.
Essentially, flared teeth happen because the teeth don’t have enough room to shift from side to side, so they shift upward and outward instead. Before braces, flared teeth occur usually because of bad habits such as thumb-sucking. If you have a narrow arch to your upper jaw, that can also cause flared teeth because your teeth don’t have room to move. Bone loss from various illnesses can also cause the teeth to move.
It’s not uncommon for teeth to flare or protrude after braces. Once the teeth are straight and the gaps removed, they can still shift, and the easiest way to shift is upward and outward. Not all patients will experience flared teeth, but if you do, you don’t have to live with them. It’s actually relatively easy to fix them.
It’s also easy to prevent flared teeth after braces by wearing a retainer. Ohana Orthodontics provides custom-made retainers as part of our orthodontic treatment. That means as soon as the braces or Invisalign come off, your retainers can go on and keep your teeth from flaring out.
Ohana Orthodontics offers several types of retainers to prevent flared teeth and other movements of your newly straightened teeth. The retainers keep your teeth in place while your jaw sets, or hardens, so it can hold your teeth in place better.
It’s important to know that you need to return to your orthodontist regularly to have your retainer adjusted. Those minor adjustments are necessary as your teeth try to move. It is also vital to wear your retainer as prescribed — 22 hours a day for the first several months, then at least overnight after that. Otherwise, your teeth will have a chance to move, and your retainer may no longer fit properly. Hence the need for adjustments.
So what are your options when it comes to retainers? Here are some of the options we offer:
Acrylic retainers are some of the most common types of retainers and ones you probably think of when you hear the word “retainer.” They are custom-designed to match the roof of your mouth, and wires snap over the teeth to hold them in place.
Clear retainers are often the choice for patients who use clear aligners such as Invisalign. Like acrylic retainers, clear retainers are custom-designed for each patient, so they will fit your teeth perfectly and keep them in their proper place.
Fixed retainers, sometimes called permanent retainers, are non-removable retainers that are attached to the back of the teeth, so they’re invisible. They are bonded there, so you never have to worry about whether you’re wearing them long enough to be effective. The downside is they can make it harder to floss, and tarter buildup could be more difficult to control.
There are three main ways to treat flared teeth. The first is to go back to braces or Invisalign to move the teeth back into place. The problem with this is, if you don’t wear your retainer afterward, the flare could happen yet again, especially if there just isn’t any room to spare on your upper jaw for tooth movement.
The second option is what’s called a dual bicuspid extraction. This is where we pull both first maxillary premolars — in English, the two teeth just behind the canines are pulled to provide more space for the teeth to spread out enough to prevent flared teeth.
The third option is a four-bicuspid extraction. It’s pretty much what it sounds like — all four first premolars are pulled. That’s the two on top and the two on the bottom. This provides room for all of your teeth, not just the upper ones.
The choice depends on the severity of the flared teeth. We will work with you to determine your best option!
The best way to handle your flared teeth is to speak to a professional orthodontist. Some people have turned to mail-order aligners for problems like flared teeth, but using these products without help from a professional orthodontist can lead to a host of other problems in both the short and long term. Instead, your best option is to talk to an orthodontist and find out what options are available to you.
If you’re in the Canby, Oregon area, contact Ohana Orthodontics. We have options including traditional or clear braces or Invisalign clear aligners, as well as several choices of retainers to prevent flared teeth after braces.