Your Guide To Using Dental Implants In Conjunction With Braces

If you have a few things you want to improve about your smile or overall dental health, you may need to use multiple treatments to achieve your goals. If you're missing a tooth or have a tooth with an irregular appearance, dental implants are a top alternative. A dental implant consists of an artificial tooth that's attached to the jaw via a screw. 

However, if you have crooked teeth or if your jaws aren't aligned properly, braces can remedy these issues. Here's what you need to know about using braces in conjunction with dental implants. 

The Order of Your Treatments Depends on the Specifics of Your Case

One question that patients commonly have is whether they should wear braces or have their dental implants installed first. Generally, if you know you need dental implants and braces, you'll use braces first. Your orthodontist will use a spacer to preserve the spot for your implant. 

Once an implant is placed, it doesn't move and shift like a regular tooth. Remember, the implant is affixed into the jaw so that it fuses with your jawbone. It also lacks the ligaments that help natural teeth shift their positions. 

If you already have an implant in place, there are a couple of options. Your orthodontist can easily proceed with braces if the teeth around the implant don't require straightening or shifting. However, if these teeth do need to be adjusted, your orthodontist may be able to use the implant as an anchor point. Basically, your implant is used to help move your surrounding teeth. 

A third alternative is to remove the implant, undergo your treatment with braces, and then have an implant reinserted. If your orthodontist is concerned your implant will be out of place once your other teeth shift, they may recommend this option. 

Braces Can Occasionally Eliminate the Need for an Implant

For some patients with a missing tooth, braces are used to shift the other teeth so that the spot from the missing tooth is eliminated. This option usually works best when the patient is only missing one tooth or if they have too many teeth for the amount of space in their mouth. 

Braces May Be Used to Make It Easier to Place an Implant

If there isn't enough space for an implant or if the implant would contribute to overcrowding, braces can enlarge the space so that the implant will comfortably fit. This is helpful if the implant will go in a prominent place; with ideal spacing, the implant will look more natural. To learn more about dental implants, contact a dentist.