You may have lost a tooth due to decay or an accident or you have one that needs to be extracted. You are thinking about getting a dental implant to replace it because you have heard it’s just like having the original tooth restored.
But you may not have considered whether you want to have your orthodontist first correct your overall bite and smile. Once an implant is in, it integrates with the jaw bone and cannot be moved like a natural tooth, since it has no ligaments. That could prevent you from achieving your ideal smile and could make it more difficult to maintain your oral health.
Replacing a missing tooth is very important because the nearby teeth naturally lean in to fill the gap and soon become misaligned. This makes those other teeth looser, so more might fall out or need extraction. They also become harder to clean, making infection of the gums and jawbone more likely, which also can lead to tooth loss. As WebMD explains, getting a dental implant helps your overall oral health, can make it easier to chew, improves speech and appearance, and boosts self-esteem: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-implants#1
Orthodontic braces can be used to close the gap where the missing tooth was when the teeth in that area are overcrowded and may eliminate the need to have an implant. They can also hold the space open until the dental implant is in place. Or if the space is not quite large enough, they can be applied to widen it and move the roots of the neighboring teeth.
If the area for the implant is not targeted for orthodontic treatment, it would be fine to go ahead and put the implant in, while any orthodontic technology, including Invisalign aligners, can be implemented to improve your bite and smile.
There are also cases when an implant might be helpful to your orthodontic goals if it is already in, such as attaching braces by a lightweight wire or strong elastic band to the implant as an anchor. Sometimes mini-implants called Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs) are shallowly inserted in the gums and jaw just below the teeth, providing leverage for moving teeth that are in challenging positions.
Implants tend to be needed more as one age, due to the cumulative impact of small mistakes in oral care and other factors. But orthodontic care is important at any age and 25% of our patients who ask for it are adults, who often have the most dramatic results. Call today to have Dr. Song discuss the future of your smile.