Questions and Answers


Questions and Answers with Dr. Susan Podray

Why did my teeth space apart after my braces came off?

Well, teeth tend to space apart after braces, and other orthodontic treatments like Inbrace and clear aligner treatments for 3 main reasons: first, freshly moved teeth are loose and they can shift if you don’t wear your retainers properly. In general, my patients are asked to wear removable Essix retainers for 3 month’s full time then night time for a lifetime unless they also have fixed or permanent retainers. If they have fixed retainers, then they may wear them just at night for life.

The second reason you can get space again between your teeth after Braces is due to the swelling of gum tissues or gingivitis. This could be mitigated by brushing and flossing your teeth well and keeping the swelling down. If you have excessive swelling, then you can have gum tissues trimmed after treatment at the dentist, periodontist or oral surgeon. This procedure is called a gingivectomy, and it’s sometimes paired with a frenectomy. It is akin to tissues being trimmed; consider it just like a haircut for the gums.

Another reason that the teeth want to separate after braces come off is because there could be a cleft in the bone and the cleft holds collagen tissues tight to the bone and gums making the teeth spread apart. This is something that’s a little harder to manage but can be managed with fixed retainers, gingivitis, and frenectomies.

The best ways to keep this from happening is to be sure that you went to see an orthodontist.  Orthodontists can advise you on the proper retainers and to make sure that your bite is proper.

The third and most common and dangerous reason that causes spaces to open after treatment is that there is a bite discrepancy remaining. It could be that some teeth on the top or bottom aren’t connecting correctly causing traumatic occlusion, open bites or deep bites. This bad bite can cause damage to the teeth and gums. Traumatic occlusion can cause the teeth to space apart or move all the time which is called fremitus. Fremitus that is not addressed overtime can eventually cause the gum tissue used to strip, which weakens the teeth, and may cause early tooth loss.

So it’s very important that when you finish orthodontic treatment, you wear your retainers correctly and ensure that your retainers are fitted correctly to suit your needs. The best way to verify that this is being done correctly is to first and foremost visit a specialized orthodontist. Orthodontists are trained to make a smile beautiful with a correct bite. Some treatments that are offered online without direct supervision can cause traumatic occlusion. Some dentists offer fast or limited treatments that can also cause a bad bite. The results of subpar orthodontic treatment may require a patient to be re-corrected at the orthodontist to have a good bite and a lasting smile. If you feel like something with regards to your braces or clear aligner treatment may need to be addressed, visit your local friendly orthodontist for a complimentary exam or call your current treating orthodontist and express your concerns. You may need something as simple as simple as a fixed retainer or as complicated as needing retreatment. Trust treatment prescribed by an orthodontist and don’t forget that your lips are just the frame for your teeth, so smile your best smile and trust the best doctors with your health and an orthodontist with your braces and clear aligner treatments.

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