Missing teeth can steal your confidence and make you self-conscious of your smile. As an adult, you wonder if it is too late to fix it. It isn’t uncommon that many people shy away from wearing braces. But it may surprise you that braces can be the perfect solution for people with missing teeth.
What is the best way to restore your smile after losing a tooth (or teeth) to injury, decay, gum disease, or genetics? Can you get braces with missing teeth? Is Invisalign right for you? You may have a lot of questions. Our article here has the answers!
Causes of Missing Teeth
Congenitally missing teeth are relatively common, with the 3rd molars (25-35%) being the most common, the 2nd premolars (3%) the next, and the permanent upper lateral incisors (2%) being the next.
There can be other reasons for missing teeth. From facial trauma and congenital disabilities to poor lifestyle habits like smoking, missing teeth can lower your self-esteem.
Why Should Missing Teeth be Fixed?
Before we talk about fixing the problem with missing teeth, let us go over what issues missing teeth can cause and why it is vital to fix them:
Risk of tooth and gum diseases: When you lose a tooth, there is a tendency for the surrounding teeth to fill the gap. At first glance, it seems ideal but can lead to misalignment. And misaligned teeth are notorious for causing plaque build-up and other dental issues like decay and gum problems since they are harder to brush and floss.
Teeth Grinding and TMD: Your teeth are designed to work harmoniously. When one or more goes missing, chewing may become uncomfortable as you use one side of your mouth more than the other. It can cause undue pressure on some of your facial or jaw muscles and nerves, leading to more severe problems like TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders), erosion of your tooth enamel, chronic facial pain, and additional tooth loss.
Change in facial structure: Teeth help the jawbones maintain their density. When a tooth goes missing, the bone isn’t stimulated by the chewing and hence loses its density. It can lead to more serious issues like bone loss. Missing teeth can even change your bite. This shift can affect the shape of your face too. Your cheeks may sink in, making you look older.
Impact on speech: Missing certain teeth can result in changes in speech. Some of your sounds may seem difficult to pronounce, or you may hear a whistle echoing in your speech.
Inadequate nutrition: Due to difficulty in chewing and biting, people with more than one missing tooth will choose to avoid eating certain food. They would prefer to eat softer food and drink liquids. It doesn’t necessarily provide sufficient nourishment and can impact an individual’s health and well-being.
These problems can be especially vexing cosmetically and physically. Whatever the reason, issues arising from missing teeth can be handled by a combination of orthodontic treatment and, if needed, some non-invasive cosmetic dentistry.
How Do Tooth Braces Work?
Treatment with braces is a way of aligning the teeth in the jaw to improve the appearance of the teeth and get an attractive smile. Jawbones hold your teeth in place. When braces are applied, the tissues around your teeth soften, allowing your teeth to be pushed into the desired alignment. Braces can also help to look after the long-term health of the teeth, gums and jaw joints by spreading the biting pressure over all the teeth.
Is it Okay to Have Braces with Missing Teeth?
Yes. The possibility of braces with missing teeth is not a far-fetched idea. Whether you are a teenager or an adult with a missing tooth, the good news is braces can help restore your smile.
If you miss a tooth, you may be asked to use braces for a prescribed duration to close the gap. It can be an excellent option if you are already dealing with overcrowding teeth. The braces will align your teeth gradually to fill the void.
If you miss more than one tooth, some may need a dental replacement in the form of dental implants or bridges. But your orthodontist will likely recommend applying braces before the dental restoration.
Having the dental implant before the braces would be feasible in the following circumstances:
- If the teeth surrounding the implant are not a part of orthodontic treatment.
- If the implant itself functions as an anchor to help align the surrounding teeth
Dental implants are surgically mounted into your jaw, and since the base is fixed, it cannot move like natural teeth. A placeholder will be secured in the existing space to maintain the proper gap for a future restoration.
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Can You Wear Braces with Dental Implants?
Yes, if you already have a dental implant whose position is accurate, you can still align the other teeth with braces. Your orthodontist can work around the implant. Braces can be applied to avoid direct pressure on the implant.
The direct force will not move the implant, but all the teeth surrounding the implant will. It is often undesirable because the implant, in that case, will determine the other teeth’ position. If you desire a tooth position that isn’t determined by the implant, the implant should not be connected by the wire.
The decision to have braces before or after the implant will largely depend on 3 things:
The location of the teeth that need repositioning, their proximity to the implant and the position of the implant itself.
It is ideal to postpone an implant treatment until your orthodontic treatment is complete. If you have concerns, it is always best to consult your orthodontist before placing an implant.
Can I Get Invisalign with Missing Teeth?
If you have missing teeth, you can still get Invisalign. Invisalign provides the convenience of brushing and flossing your teeth as you typically would since they are removable. However, the same considerations apply to Invisalign as braces when dealing with missing teeth.
The reasons for missing teeth may be many. But the way toward a stunning smile and perfectly aligned teeth can begin with the proper orthodontic treatment. At Bill Redmond Orthodontics, we aim to provide each patient with the best orthodontic solution. So, please book an appointment with us to find out what works best for you.
Can You Get Braces With Missing Teeth?
Dr. Bill Redmond is a native of Southern California, the son of an orthodontist and the husband of a general dentist. That makes family gatherings pretty interesting…if you like teeth!