Mind the Gap! Braces and Missing Teeth

Dentist Blog

The road to your perfect smile has the potential to be a long one. In terms of orthodontics, an adult can expect to be wearing those braces for anywhere between 18 months and three years. This timeframe can vary for younger patients whose bodies are still growing, and again, it can be different depending on the braces you end up choosing. But what about when straightening your smile is only one aspect of the road to your perfect smile? When you have a missing tooth (or teeth) and yet your remaining teeth still need to be aligned, can you even get braces?

Traditional Braces and Missing Teeth

In short, yes, you can still have braces installed in your mouth when you have missing teeth. With traditional braces, a bracket is affixed to each tooth, with an archwire threaded through each bracket to create the desired level of resistance. This archwire is periodically tightened to slowly but surely manipulate your teeth into the correct alignment. When a tooth is missing, obviously there is nowhere to attach the bracket, so this tooth is essentially skipped, with the archwire simply running between the remaining teeth on either side of the gap.

Transparent Aligners and Missing Teeth

With a transparent aligner that is regularly switched to achieve the straightening effect, the aligner just sits over the missing tooth, although the transparent plastic over the gap can be more noticeable than when the aligner is positioned over a tooth. In some instances, you might require your teeth to be straightened before you can replace that missing tooth. But why is this?

Drifting Teeth

The missing tooth may have caused your remaining teeth to drift. No longer confined to a strictly upward growth, the lack of a tooth next to them can result in them shifting position sideways, which is known as a drifting tooth. It can be the case that your teeth need to be correctly aligned before any replacement work can be undertaken, basically meaning that adequate space needs to be created before a dental implant or dental bridge can be fitted. When teeth have been absent for many years, it can be that this is what has caused your dental misalignment. Numerous teeth drifting into the space can cause your overall bite to be out of its original alignment.

Sometimes misaligned teeth can be directly related to missing teeth, and it's necessary to fix one problem before addressing the other.


27 December 2018

Dental Checkups: Preparing for Your Checkup

Hi! My name is Sarah, and as a busy professional, I understand the importance of making the most of my time. That includes everything from having productive working lunches to making the most of my dental checkups. I have created this blog to help you maximise your dental checkups. In these posts, you can learn how to prepare for your checkup, which questions to ask during your checkup and more. I am also going to have posts explaining why checkups are critical to your dental health as well as the health of your entire body. Happy reading, and thanks for visiting my blog!