When you have a missing tooth or your dentist extracted your teeth for alignment, you may get worried and ask, “Can Braces Really Close Missing Tooth Gap?“
Braces can close gaps from missing teeth when the gap is small or the tooth is extracted to align the remaining teeth properly. However, if the cause of missing teeth is an injury or poor dental health, dental prosthesis may require to fix it.
The duration required to fix the gaps may vary depending on the treatment planning, type of case, and other factors.
Now, how’ll you know whether it’s going to work for you or you will still have gaps between teeth after braces? And, what to do if braces can’t close the gap?
In this article, you’ll know when Braces can fix gaps from missing teeth and how long it may take. Besides, you’ll get alternative ways to replace missing teeth.
When can braces fix gaps from missing teeth?
Braces can easily close the gap between your teeth such as spacing between front teeth or the upper two incisors teeth. But, it may differ in the case of missing teeth.
Let’s take a look at those conditions.
Tooth extraction for orthodontic treatment
When you have misaligned or crowded teeth, your orthodontist suggests teeth extraction for orthodontic treatment purposes.
Usually, the removal of teeth is necessary here because the length of your arch which holds your teeth are short.
That means, to align teeth normally, your arch should hold a lesser number of teeth in this case.
So, if you are worried, “extraction gaps not closing”, you should know that this space will be closed after the completion of orthodontic treatment. So, keep your patience.
Extra or supernumerary tooth
Another circumstance is when you have an extra tooth. Usually, you may have an additional tooth between your upper incisor teeth. It’s called a supernumerary tooth.
It may look bad esthetically, cause functional problems sometimes, or misalign your dentition.
So, you may need to get your supernumerary tooth removed. After that, you get braces to close the gap.
This gap can be closed by braces easily just like closing normal spacing between the front teeth.
Now you may be curious and ask, “How do braces close extraction holes?” Let’s know it.
How can braces close the missing teeth gap?
Braces put pressure on your teeth and supporting bones. This causes teeth to move and close the gap.
That’s why your orthodontist fixes brackets on your teeth and then attach wires, springs, or elastics into them.
The attachments like power chains or coil springs provide force through the bracket to your teeth. This helps move teeth in the desired position.
- The power chain is an elastic band that placed to the brackets where gaps are present. Because of the elastic property, it puts pressure on teeth which helps close the gaps.
- On the other hand, coil springs also help fix the gaps using their spring property. However, you should take care of the springs to prevent damage.
An orthodontist uses an optimal force to move a tooth, neither more nor less than that.
From a single visit, the dentist gives a little amount of force to your teeth.
Then, various types of reactions and changes occur to your tooth-supporting bone.
Alveolar bones support your teeth. So, these changes are necessary to move a tooth.
This creates favorable conditions to move the tooth along bones.
But, from one visit, you should expect a little movement of your tooth. After that, you won’t feel any extra pressure on your tooth.
On the next visit, which may be after 3 or 4 weeks, the orthodontist will apply force again.
That means every 3 to 4 weeks you have to visit the dentist for this to close the gap and complete orthodontic treatment.
After a few weeks to months, the tooth is moved to your desired position and the missing tooth gap is closed.
How long does it take to close a missing tooth gap with braces?
It may take 6 – 8 months to fix gaps from missing teeth with traditional braces. The duration depends on several factors such as the condition and position of your teeth, occlusion, size of gaps, muscle function of your face, and bones that support your teeth.
If the problem is not complicated such as small gaps, it may take less time. In more severe cases, the duration may be longer.
Suppose, you have only 2 mm gaps to close and another person has 4 mm gaps. Obviously, you will get faster results with braces.
However, it may take 1 or 2 years to complete the full treatment plan even after the closing of gaps.
The reason is the orthodontist also fixes your bite and corrects all related problems so that your teeth can function properly and you get a beautiful smile at the end of treatment.
Another factor that affects the duration is the treatment planning and the force that is applied to your teeth.
High force can cause serious damage, even you may lose your teeth.
So, an orthodontist uses gentle and ideal force to move teeth. After that, changes in bone occur to facilitate teeth to move. Our body responds to this process slowly. So, it takes time.
When aren’t braces helpful in closing the gaps from missing teeth?
Braces can move neighbor teeth to your missing tooth for closing a gap.
But, when you have normally aligned dentition, no extra tooth and you are missing a tooth, it may not be helpful.
If you move one tooth in that gap, you will create another gap behind it which is funny.
So, someone has to be clear about the purpose of moving a tooth.
Another important problem is missing a permanent tooth in the mouth. Sometimes, one or more permanent teeth may not erupt due to many reasons.
In these cases, your dentist will find out the cause and make a treatment plan. Braces can’t be helpful in these situations.
Even if your dentist moves your teeth, your occlusion or bite between upper and lower teeth will not be normal.
This may lead to other problems, such as chewing or mastication problems, jaw pain, and recurrence of the problem.
So, the moved tooth should be placed in a favorable position. Moreover, if the gap is so small, braces can be useful.
This may be beneficial when you have crowded teeth.
Can you get braces with a missing front tooth?
Braces are a great choice to close a gap left by a supernumerary or an extra tooth between upper front teeth after its removal. But, when you have a gap from a missing permanent incisor due to an accident or injury, braces may not be helpful to close that space.
You may wonder why it is. But, the answer is simple. You are missing an incisor tooth and the canine should be moved to that place, how would you look like?
Of course, aesthetically it isn’t good. Also, you will bite or mastication problems.
In these circumstances, dental implant, denture, or bridge may be the treatment choice.
However, if you have midline spacing, braces treatment is a great choice.
The alternatives to braces to close the missing tooth gap
Some people don’t like braces because of the roughness and esthetic problem. So, question is, can a dentist close a gap without braces? Here are the alternatives to braces.
Invisalign or clear aligners
As Invisalign looks good esthetically and it’s comfortable and easy to use, you can get it for missing tooth gaps. It can be helpful in mild to moderate cases.
But, unfortunately, an Invisalign can’t help in all cases of orthodontic tooth extraction. In some cases, it works well and in other cases, traditional braces are better than Invisalign to close an extraction tooth gap.
Invisalign can close the gap between your teeth, called diastema. Again there are limitations. It can close small gaps up to 5-6 mm.
An active retainer can also close minor gaps between teeth. This is a removable appliance with a labial is just like a retainer that you get after braces treatment. The only difference is it can apply pressure on teeth to close the gaps.
It’s only helpful for growing children if the gap is small. But, it’s not good as braces or Invisalign.
What about deciduous teeth missing gaps?
If your baby loses a deciduous or milk tooth, he won’t need braces to close the gaps. Instead, an orthodontist will use a space maintainer to maintain the space for the permanent tooth that’s going to erupt in that space.
That means, when the permanent tooth will erupt, it will take the place left by the deciduous tooth. So, there is nothing to worry about.
However, when a permanent tooth doesn’t erupt in that place, we may consider other treatment procedures. So, keep in touch with your orthodontist.
Braces or implants: which one is needed for missing teeth?
Now you understand when braces can fix gaps from missing teeth and in which condition it can’t be useful.
But, you may need a dental prosthesis such as dental implants, dentures, or bridges when the gap between teeth is due to a reason other than orthodontic conditions.
Usually, these prostheses are recommended for a missing tooth due to a condition like a tooth decay, periodontal disease, or trauma, you need a prosthesis.
What should be used for your missing tooth depends on several conditions such as the amount of the space, tooth position, occlusion, esthetic and functional criteria.
So, can braces close big gaps?
Yes, braces can fix the big gaps between teeth if the condition is due to an orthodontic purpose or condition. In other situations, other prostheses may be necessary.
Dental Prostheses Required To Close Missing Tooth Gap
Let’s take a look at the prostheses that help you when braces can’t fix the gap:
It’s the best choice when you are missing a tooth due to a condition such as caries, trauma, periodontitis, etc.
The reason for that a dental implant resembles a natural tooth elastically as well as functionally.
Other prostheses may only have an artificial crown portion, but the implant has an artificial root which gives more stability.
It doesn’t strain or get damaged easily and lasts long. But, it’s costly and requires a surgical procedure. So, all may not be able to get this.
If you can’t afford to have an implant, a bridge is the second choice for you. In a bridge, an artificial tooth takes the missing place that gets support from a neighbor’s teeth.
Crowns of neighbor teeth are also processed to do so, but you may not like it.
Besides, you may not get proper function or it may not last more than 6 to 7 years like a dental implant. Though it’s not the best option, you may also have it.
You can also use a prosthesis that can be removable or fixed. A removable denture is very helpful if you want a temporary solution for your missing tooth.
Here, an artificial tooth takes support from a plate and other teeth. But, these dentures may cause many problems.
It strains or breaks easily. Moreover, carrying this prosthesis may not be comfortable for you and functional support is very poor.
Braces can fix your missing tooth gaps, when an extra or supernumerary tooth is removed or when premolars or other teeth are extracted to align teeth properly. If you need an alternative to braces to close the gaps, Invisalign can a good option.
However, when you lose a tooth as a result of caries, trauma, periodontal disease, or other conditions, and space is large, you may need a dental implant, bridge, or dentures.
Always consult your dentist or orthodontist and follow the advice.