According to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in five patients who use braces or clear plastic aligners are over 18. However, if you have dental implants or are considering implants in the future, you might think your dreams of a straight, beautiful smile can't become a reality.
Before giving up, talk to your orthodontist to learn about having dental implants and enjoying the benefits of braces or clear plastic aligners. Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions about dental implants and braces.
What Factors Will Impact the Effectiveness of Braces?
Braces work by slowly shifting the teeth over a period of months or years. A dental implant has the look and feel of a real tooth. However, because it is anchored to the bones beneath the gums, it cannot be moved and will not be affected by braces. In a small number of candidates and depending on the placement or number of implants, an orthodontist might recommend braces or clear invisible aligners.
There are other factors that will also determine if you are a good candidate for braces or invisible aligners. For example, patients with gum disease will need to seek treatment before they are allowed to get braces, invisible aligners, and even implants. The underlying cause of gum disease and any damage caused to the teeth and gums must be addressed before braces or dental implants are an option.
Should I Get Dental Implants Before Braces?
If you already have dental implants or are considering dental implants before you get braces, talk to your orthodontist. In some cases, your orthodontist will recommend having dental implants placed before you are fitted for braces or clear plastic aligners.
For example, if you are missing a line of multiple teeth, dental implants can act as a strong foundation for the braces.
Speak with your orthodontist if any of your implants are not completely straight or were not placed properly. After you have braces fitted or wear aligners for several months, the teeth around your implant will begin to shift and straighten, which can make the implanted tooth look out of place.
In these cases, your orthodontist may recommend having the implant removed and leaving the anchor behind. Once your teeth are straight and the braces are removed, your orthodontist can attach a new implant to the anchor.
Should I Wait to Get Dental Implants?
Finally, if you were considering dental implants but your orthodontist is also recommending braces or clear invisible aligners, you might wonder if waiting for the implants is the better option. Each person's mouth is unique, and in some cases, your orthodontist may ask you to wait for implants until after your braces are off.
For example, if you are missing a tooth and the gap is very large and noticeable, wearing braces or a clear plastic aligner can help lessen that gap while straightening your teeth. Once the braces are off, the space left can then be fitted with a dental implant. The finished result is a portion of your teeth that is straight and strong.
In some cases, the stationary, immovable dental implant will hamper the effectiveness of braces or clear plastic aligners because it won't allow neighboring teeth and their roots to shift and move enough.
Luckily, if your orthodontist recommends waiting for the braces to come off before getting a dental implant and you are missing a tooth, a temporary tooth can be placed to help improve your smile in the interim.
If you have dental implants or are considering having implants placed in the future, talk to your orthodontist about how you can also enjoy the benefits of braces or clear plastic aligners.