Don't Let a Missing Tooth Hold You Back in Life

Straight Talk: Tooth Straightening And Dental Implants

by Wyatt Morgan

If you have missing teeth and are thinking about getting dental implants, get your tooth alignment checked first -- and take care of that first before you get implants. Once implants are in, they aren't going anywhere in terms of root movement. That means that if you're also dealing with crooked teeth, you would not be able to move the implants like you would natural teeth. This could lead to a not-so-straight smile.

But if you get the rest of your teeth into place first, then you can go ahead and get implants in the remaining spaces without worrying that they won't be in line with how you want your smile to look:

Periodontal Anchoring

Teeth seem like they're permanently stuck in the bone of your jaw, but that's not quite true. Natural teeth sit in pockets in the bone of the jaw that are lined with something called the periodontal ligament or membrane. The ligament holds the tooth in place -- but it also allows it to move gradually when pulled or pushed by braces. This is also why you can have a tooth pulled -- even though it hurts, it is possible to separate the tooth from the membrane and jaw bone by pulling.

But with implants, the situation isn't nearly as malleable. The implant is literally screwed onto a screw that is implanted directly into the bone of the jaw. That implant is not going anywhere. So if you think your teeth are crooked, you wouldn't want to get an implant while the rest of your teeth were still out of position because you wouldn't be able to adjust the position of the implant if your orthodontic plan called for it.

Of course, if you're straightening teeth that aren't near the implants, then there's less of a problem -- you aren't planning to move the implants anyway. In fact, a nice, stable implant can actually assist with tooth straightening because it's like a signpost or anchor. But because the chance does exist that moving the other teeth might eventually affect the side with the implants, you should still take care of the tooth alignment first.

Proper Position

However, once the tooth alignment is done, then you can start having the implants created and installed as you wish. With the rest of your teeth in the positions you want them to be in, the implants will blend in, rather than potentially stick out. If you want more information on coordinating tooth straightening with getting implants, talk to your dentist. Implants are very convenient, but they are permanent, and you want to be sure that the smile you eventually end up with is something you love.