Whether you lost a tooth because of periodontal disease (gum disease), severe decay or injury, or you had teeth that didn’t erupt properly and needed to be extracted, just know that tooth loss is a common problem. But you might be wondering, can you still get braces with missing teeth? Yes! In most cases, it doesn’t disqualify you from orthodontic treatment.
As long as oral health issues like gum disease and tooth decay are under control, you can get braces with missing front or back teeth. In fact, braces or Invisalign® could be the first step in your tooth replacement treatment plan.
At Aura Orthodontics, Dr. Vishal Sharma, Dr. Everett Lin and Dr. Julia Koo, certified specialists in orthodontics, are experienced in multidisciplinary cases, including treating patients with one or more missing teeth. In this post, we’ll talk about how treatment works to help you regain the health, appearance and function of your smile.
Missing Teeth and Your Bite
If you don’t replace a missing tooth soon after the tooth is lost or extracted, the teeth on either side of the gap shift into the space left behind. This impacts the alignment of your remaining teeth, causing new or worsening bite problems, including a deep bite (overbite) and crooked teeth.
Additionally, when a tooth is missing, the tooth-supporting bone is no longer stimulated by biting and chewing forces. This tells the body the bone isn’t needed anymore and it gets reabsorbed, causing bone loss. Over time, this leads to changes in your facial structure and other oral health concerns, such as a higher risk of losing more teeth.
Why You Should Consider Orthodontic Treatment if You’ve Experienced Tooth Loss
Getting braces with missing teeth will help to preserve the integrity of your jawbone and bite. This is because braces or Invisalign will prevent or fix any drifting of the other teeth and create ideal spacing so the jawbone gets the stimulation it needs to stay strong and healthy.
Depending on your diagnosis and which tooth was lost, our Langley and Surrey orthodontists may be able to use clear aligners or braces to close a missing tooth gap, making it look like you never had an empty space. This is especially true in cases of excessive crowding where teeth had to be extracted in advance of your treatment.
Even when that’s not possible, orthodontic treatment can create enough space for your dentist or oral surgeon to replace your tooth with a dental implant or bridge. This will help you fully restore your smile, as well as the alignment of your teeth and bite, to promote lifelong oral health.
Do Braces or Invisalign Work Better for Missing Teeth?
The only way to know for certain which treatment option will work best for your case is to visit an orthodontist for an exam.
If you have a missing front tooth, Invisalign and braces will likely both be a viable option. While you can get braces with missing back teeth, keep in mind, the molars usually help support the appliance. Clear aligners may have the advantage in this situation since we don’t have to bond brackets and wires to the teeth.
Regardless, with either treatment, if you don’t have enough teeth to provide leverage for the appliance to work properly, auxiliaries will be needed.
That said, in general, Invisalign is usually the better choice because:
- The aligners are removable, so you’ll be able to brush and floss as you normally do. This is particularly important if it takes a little extra effort to maintain your oral health after dealing with gum disease or cavities in the past.
- It can be possible to place a temporary false tooth made from a composite material in the aligners in the spot where your tooth is missing to disguise it.
- If you have a minor case and just need to make room for a dental implant, we can create a limited number of aligners instead of having you go through comprehensive treatment.
Should I Get a Dental Implant Before or After Braces or Aligners?
You should get a dental implant after braces or clear aligner treatment. An implant is a titanium screw that’s embedded into the jawbone. During a process called osseointegration, the implant fuses with the bone.
Once this happens, the implant won’t move in response to orthodontic forces like a natural tooth would. Therefore, it’s ideal to have the dental implant fitted and placed based on your final alignment.
Can you get braces or Invisalign if you have a dental implant already? Most likely, but, again, the implant won’t shift with the other teeth, so treatment will have to be planned to accommodate it. This will limit the tooth movements we’re able to achieve, while still creating a stable bite.
As for dental bridges, the same holds true. Aligners or braces can shift a bridge, but it will move as one unit. This makes treatment more complex, so we’ll usually recommend that you straighten your teeth with braces before getting a bridge.
Schedule a Consultation with an Orthodontist in Langley or Surrey, BC
To find out your options for getting Invisalign or braces with missing teeth, schedule a consultation at Aura Orthodontics in Guildford, Scottsdale or Langley. Our expert orthodontists will perform a comprehensive exam and offer personalized treatment recommendations to help you reclaim your smile.