Straightening Teeth with a Missing Teeth

I never had braces as a child. It’s always bothered me. I want to do something about it now that I’m an adult. I keep hearing about invisible braces, which sounds much better to me than those silver ones all my friends in middle-school wore. The one thing that worries me is I have two congenitally missing mandibular bicuspids. Do I need to get dental implants for those spots?

Katherine

Dear Katherine,

A woman putting in her Invisalign aligners in two stacked images

Invisible braces could refer to one of three things. First, they could be referring to the clear braces you can get these days. They still go on your teeth like the traditional metal wire and bracket braces, but it uses a less visible material.

A second possibility is lingual braces. These are also the traditional type of braces bonded to your teeth, but they are placed behind your teeth where no one can see them. Many child stars have worn these when they’re in the middle of filming a series where they didn’t (or couldn’t in the case of a historical series) want the character to have braces. They’re useful for straightening in secret, but they have a couple of drawbacks.

They can be uncomfortable on your tongue which will bump up against them quite a bit. Braces make oral hygiene trickier because of all the materials you have to get around and the food that continually gets trapped in them. Lingual braces are even harder to keep clean because of their location. You could end up with a lot of unnecessary decay if you don’t stay on top of your tooth care.

Invisalign — Your Best Invisible Braces Option

While both of the above options could be considered “invisible braces”, there’s a much better option. Invisalign, though not technically braces, is an orthodontic system which straightens your teeth in significantly less time than traditional braces. These use clear aligners (think teeth whitening trays) instead of wires and brackets. Even at a conversational distance, people will not be able to tell you’re wearing them.

Because you’re talking about your lower bicuspids, it’s not necessary to get dental implants. Invisalign will close the spaces in your lower arch. Though, if you wanted to, you certainly could get implants placed where you’re missing teeth are. To do that, however, you’d need to work with an experienced implant dentist who also understands orthodontics. This way your work can be done in such a way as to preserve the needed space for the implant.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba. Check out his smile gallery.