Braces are well known for straightening teeth, but they can help with much more. If you’ve lost a tooth, we can move your teeth to provide the perfect space for a dental implant or bridge.
In some cases, we can even align your teeth to disguise any gaps and avoid further treatment.
Causes of missing teeth
Missing teeth are common, and there are many reasons why you could be missing one or more teeth.
- Missing teeth can be hereditary, and in rare cases, they can be caused by a genetic disorder
- If dental problems like tooth decay or gum disease are left untreated, they can eventually lead to tooth loss
- The front teeth are especially vulnerable to trauma from collisions
Options for replacing missing teeth
There are several ways to replace missing teeth, so it’s important to explore all your options to find the best solution for you.
Implants are an excellent long-term solution to missing teeth. A titanium stem is inserted into your jawbone to support a fake tooth (crown) that’s indistinguishable from your own.
We can use braces to position the surrounding teeth and roots to accommodate your new implant.
If you have your implant before braces, we won’t be able to change its position, but we can use it as an anchor point to help us align the surrounding teeth.
A cost-effective alternative to an implant is a bridge, where a fake tooth is supported by crowns fitted to the neighbouring teeth.
Like an implant, a bridge can look very natural. The downside of a bridge is that enamel is removed from otherwise healthy teeth to fit the crowns.
A removable denture is a simple way to replace missing teeth with a fake tooth attached to a removable plate. It can be used to replace one or multiple missing teeth.
If you are unsure whether to proceed with an implant or bridge, a denture will maintain the space while you decide.
If your teeth are overcrowded, it may be possible to fill any gaps just by realigning your teeth. For example, we can move premolars forward to replace missing canines using Invisalign or fixed braces. We can even reshape your teeth to look more like the ones they’re replacing for a more natural result.
Missing teeth in younger patients
Sometimes, we recommend early orthodontic treatment to our patients who are still growing. Early treatment allows us to intercept problems that could require more extensive treatment later.
In these cases, it’s not uncommon for teeth to be missing where the adult teeth haven’t come through.
Occasionally, teeth can be impacted (stuck below the gumline) and need a helping hand. We can use a combination of surgery to uncover the teeth and orthodontic treatment to guide them into the correct position.
The ideal time to visit us for a no-obligation consultation is between the age of 8 and 10.
Why replace missing teeth?
If you have a gap from a missing tooth, here are some good reasons why you should think about a replacement.
- When a tooth is lost, the surrounding bone is under-stimulated, so it loses density and becomes weaker. Depending on how many teeth you’re missing, this could impact both the look and function of your smile.
- Spaces allow the surrounding teeth to drift – they could become loose and worst-case scenario, even fall out.
- If you are missing multiple teeth, it could alter the appearance of your face and jaws, causing sunken cheeks, for example.
- You may find you struggle to pronounce certain sounds, particularly ones where your tongue usually touches your teeth.
- The teeth on the jaw opposite your gaps could bite down onto your gums, causing pain and damage.
How to avoid losing a tooth
While we can’t avoid all the different causes of tooth loss, you can protect yourself against tooth decay and gum disease with a good routine.
- Brush your teeth twice a day using a toothpaste that contains fluoride
- Clean between your teeth once a day using floss or interdental brushes
- Limit your sugar intake and save sweet or acidic foods and drinks for mealtimes
- Visit your dentist for regular dental health checks
If you play contact sports, always wear a custom-made mouthguard to shield your teeth.
If you lose a tooth, it’s always a good idea to act quickly and seek advice straight away.
If you think you could benefit from braces, don’t hesitate to contact us to arrange a consultation with specialist orthodontist Dr. Jackie Bracken.