Missing teeth might leave someone feeling less confident, the same can be true for crooked teeth. If you are missing teeth but you want to straighten your smile, Dr. Aly Kanani is here to tell you what's possible.
Fixing Missing Teeth Important For Your Oral Health
Before we talk about getting Invisalign or braces with missing teeth, let's discuss why having missing teeth treated is important:
- When a teenager or adult loses a permanent tooth, the teeth surrounding the gap have a tendency to shift to fill in the space. This can lead to crowding and misalignment. Since misaligned teeth are harder to brush and floss, it increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- When you chew, you stimulate the jawbone that supports the teeth, helping it to maintain the necessary density. When a tooth is no longer there, the bone isn’t stimulated and the body reabsorbs it. This bone loss compromises your oral health and changes your facial structure, causing the face to sink in or collapse, which makes you look older.
- Missing teeth also cause difficulty chewing, which impacts your nutrition and, ultimately, your overall health. The remaining teeth bear more of the brunt from biting and chewing, which results in excessive, uneven wear of the enamel. The imbalance puts undue pressure on the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), leading to jaw pain and TMJ dysfunction too.
Children With Gapped Teeth
Children with crooked teeth or severe misalignments may notice that the growth of their jaw and how successfully their teeth eruption can be affected. This is unless orthodontic treatment is provided. This is where gaps are made on purpose. Gaps are done with devices such as spacers and braces. These gaps will ensure room for teeth to grow in and true to the form of the jaw shape.
Treatment can start as early as 7 years of age. A good orthodontist will know where and what gaps are necessary. Or how to work with existing gaps to aid orthodontic treatment. Severe malocclusions in children will affect the growth of adult or permanent teeth later in the growth timeline.
Adults Who Are Missing Teeth
It is important for adults with missing teeth to get orthodontic treatment. Gaps in the teeth cause issues like shifting, bite irregularities, and even bone loss. The strain on the jaw can cause headaches and health issues late in life.
Adults have options unavailable to children. An implant may well fix the problem. If you have teeth that shifted earlier in life or untreated malocclusions a gap may be needed to make room for the implant. Whatever the issue or history of your teeth, orthodontic treatment will correct the spacing of your remaining teeth.
Can I Get Braces With Missing Teeth?
If you are missing teeth, the orthodontic treatment process might require a few additional steps, but it is often possible to achieve a straighter smile even if you are missing one or more teeth.
If your existing teeth are crowded, it may be possible to shift those teeth to fill the gap left by one missing tooth. If you have more than one missing tooth, however, you may need to have a dental bridge or crown in order to fill in the extra space. Once this procedure is done, you may still be able to have the remaining teeth straightened with braces.
Can I Get Invisalign With Missing Teeth?
If you are struggling to get past the look of traditional braces, don't worry, Invisalign may still be an option even if you are missing teeth. If you lost your teeth due to advanced gum disease or tooth decay, Invisalign may even be a better option for you as they are removable and offer a better chance to keep your teeth and gums clean with daily brushing and flossing.
Getting Invisalign with missing teeth will involve the same considerations as getting braces. If you have moderate to severe crowding, Invisalign might be able to close the gap with clear aligners alone. This will make it appear as if you never had a missing tooth. Or, Invisalign could be used as a way to maintain or make space where the tooth is missing so that it can be replaced in the future.