Can You Get Invisalign With Missing Teeth?

Invisalign has changed the game of orthodontics in the past twenty years. No longer do we have to subject ourselves to the uncomfortable and unsightly metal wires and brackets of traditional braces. 

Clear aligners are transparent, removable, more hygienic, and more comfortable than their traditional counterparts. Unlike metal braces, the clear aligners make this treatment a lot more discreet, which is quite preferable for patients of all ages. However, not everyone is a good candidate for Invisalign, which may leave Raleigh patients suffering from tooth loss wondering where they stand. Will the Invisalign treatment still work for you? This short blog post from Smileplicity Dentistry has the answer!

Why You Should Get Invisalign Before Replacing Your Tooth

If you’re seeking orthodontic treatment and have a missing tooth, you might not know if you can be a good candidate for Invisalign. The good news is, you might be! However, you shouldn’t replace the tooth until you’ve corrected your tooth alignment with Invisalign first.

This is because tooth loss causes jawbone loss, which leads to the surrounding teeth shifting and leaning into this space where your tooth used to be. Shifting teeth cause overcrowding, bite problems, and can even block the space where your tooth replacement would need to go. In some cases, the missing teeth can cause or even worsen the alignment problems because the surrounding teeth are shifting positions to try and compensate for the gap in your teeth. If you’ve had missing teeth for a while, you’ve likely noticed that your teeth have shifted significantly as a result.

By undergoing Invisalign treatment first, you can correct crooked teeth and an improper bite to ensure that your teeth are in the proper position before replacing the tooth. This ensures that we’ll have space to replace the tooth and it won’t be in the wrong spot. By straightening the rest of your teeth and getting them into their most optimal position, the gaps caused by the missing teeth will likely shrink, sometimes by a considerable amount. This allows you to get the perfect size crown or dental implant to replace your missing teeth. 

Additionally, getting Invisalign after such restorative measures is not ideal. Attempting to shift a dental implant after it has been placed can cause damage to the surrounding bone tissue.

Not Everyone With Tooth Loss Is a Candidate for Invisalign

While patients suffering from tooth loss can be candidates for Invisalign, it depends on the cause of the tooth loss. If you’ve lost a tooth due to gum disease, it’s important that you don’t actively have gum disease and that your gums have rebuilt themselves. 

Unfortunately, gum disease causes bone loss and destruction of the soft tissue in the mouth, which makes them unhealthy. If your gums aren’t healthy this means the tooth roots can move around unpredictably. To qualify for Invisalign at our Raleigh practice, you may need to undergo treatments for gum disease or the aftermath of gum disease, such as gum or bone grafts.

What Does the Treatment Process Look like?

First, you need to book a consultation to assess the current state of your dental health. The dentist will assess what caused the tooth misalignment and the missing teeth to determine the proper course of action for your specific case.

Sometimes, you might need to go through additional procedures before you can bring your Invisalign treatment. Additionally, once you complete your Invisalign treatment, you may require additional procedures to prepare the gums or even jaw for getting your missing teeth replaced. For instance, if you want to get a dental implant, you will likely need a bone graft to increase jawbone tissue. Bone mass loss is a common consequence of having a missing tooth for a very long time.

Post-Invisalign Treatment

After you’ve completed your Invisalign treatment and corrected your tooth alignment, you will need to wear a retainer for 22 hours a day for about a year. After that, your jawbone should be stable enough to reduce the wear time of your retainers. 

However, you will need to wear a retainer at least a few times a week for the rest of your life to maintain your new tooth alignment. You are also free to replace your missing tooth at this point. At Smileplicity Dentistry, we offer several tooth restorations, such as dental implants, dentures, and dental bridges.

Get an Invisalign Consultation in Raleigh Today

The best way to determine if you’re a good candidate for Invisalign is to come into Smileplicity Dentistry for a consultation. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Daiana Atari. We can assess your eligibility for Invisalign and explore your tooth replacement options.