Patients with missing teeth who also want to align their smiles may need to get both braces and dental implants. In these cases, we would look at the patient’s specific needs to determine the order in which our team would provide the treatment.
However, for the majority of patients, we would put in braces and let them work before putting in dental implants. Why is that?
Why You Should Get Braces Before Dental Implants
Braces realign teeth and jaws using sustained force. This is why we add dental implants after the completion of orthodontic work because unlike real teeth, dental implants do not move once they’re placed in the jaw. Dental implants do not move because they undergo a process called “osseointegration,” which is the connection of the natural bone to the surface of an implant for structure and function. Braces will not move implants that have osseointegrated in the mouth, meaning if the teeth around them need to be corrected, the braces won’t work as intended.
This is why dental implants do not move in response to orthodontic treatment like braces. If a patient has an alignment issue and we need to move teeth, it’s much easier to have the dental implant placed after the surrounding teeth are in the correct position rather than move the teeth around the implant.
In some cases, we use braces to shift teeth around so that we have the room needed to put in the dental implant. Once we remove your braces, there will be plenty of room in which to place the implant, and you can enjoy a renewed smile as soon as possible!
When Would We Place Dental Implants Before Braces?
Like braces, dental implants aren’t only cosmetic: missing teeth make it difficult to speak, eat, and smile. Putting in a dental implant starts by embedding a metal post into the tissue to replace the root of your missing tooth. Next, we place the artificial tooth (crown) on an extension of the post (abutment) on the dental implant. When it’s done, the dental implant will look like a real tooth; however, it doesn’t move like a real tooth.
Despite this, there are certain situations where orthodontists and oral surgeons would put in dental implants before braces. This is true if the teeth that need realignment are in a different part of the mouth than where the dental implants will be. If you need braces for the front teeth but are missing a molar, we can replace the molar with an implant before beginning the orthodontic treatment.
Dental implants can even help braces in some cases, and depending on the situation, an orthodontist can use an implant to anchor the orthodontic work. Because the implant will not move, we can use it to secure the braces and improve the results!