Posted on: 18 October 2017
If you have an implant but need orthodontic work, or if you're in need of both at the same time, you may be wondering if the two can co-exist. For the latter, your dentist will simply need to determine which should come first. Here's how to know if, and when, braces and dental implants can go hand in hand.
Dental Implants vs. Braces
Implants are used to replace missing teeth. They're composed of a titanium post that's surgically implanted in the jaw. A crown is then placed on top of the post, and that serves as the functional tooth.
Once healed, dental implants look and feel just like a regular tooth. In fact, you won't even be able to tell it's an implant.
Dental implants are not just a cosmetic device. They're highly beneficial because they improve your appearance, speech, comfort, and confidence, and they can make eating easier and more enjoyable. Plus, you never have to worry about a cavity with an implant. They can also prevent your jaw bone from deteriorating and keep your teeth from shifting over time.
Braces serve a similar function in achieving proper alignment of the teeth. But they can also be used for other orthodontic purposes, even those that ultimately prepare the mouth for implants. So braces and implants can, in fact, go hand in hand. But a lot of it depends on what you're having done and whether you're a candidate for implants to begin with.
Braces and Missing Teeth
If you need braces but you're missing teeth, your dentist will be presented with several different options, depending on your specific situation.
For instance, placing an implant may not be the best choice in your case. This might be due to financial reasons, or your mouth might already be overcrowded, and it's your dentist's professional opinion that closing the gap is the best route. In that situation, they may opt to put in braces without using an implant.
If a regular implant isn't doable, ask your dentist about mini-implants. They are typically less invasive, may require less visits to the dentist's office after being put in, and remain an option for some who aren't a candidate for regular implants. And in some cases, certain mini-implants can be used as an anchor for braces to help close a gap.
If a regular implant is a good option for you, it comes down to determining whether the implant should go in before or after the braces.
Getting Braces Before the Implant
If you need an implant as well as braces to correct orthodontic issues, it's generally recommended to have the braces put in first. This is because the implant is fixed to the jaw with a post and lacks the ligaments that your other teeth have. So, once it's in place, it won't be able to move with orthodontic treatment.
Additionally, braces are often used to create space for an implant, especially if the mouth is overcrowded and adequate space isn't available. Braces may also be used to "reserve" a spot for the implant, holding it open to prevent the adjacent teeth from moving in.
Rest assured, your dentist or orthodontist can put braces in and deliberately leave that space open for a future restoration.
Getting Braces After the Implant
Some patients are considered a good candidate for a dental implant before getting braces. If the teeth next to the missing tooth don't need orthodontic treatment, then your dentist will likely recommend getting the implant first.
In other situations, the implant may need to be used as an anchor. This means the braces will be attached to the implant to help adjust the other teeth and repair malocclusions. For more information, contact establishments like Pittsburgh Dental Spa.Share