Whether it’s due to trauma, gum disease or genetics, a missing adult tooth often has a knock-on effect in terms of tooth alignment.
With free space created, other teeth tend to drift or tip into the gap, so effectively what started as a single missing tooth now extends to a gap and other teeth being misaligned as well.
The great thing is an orthodontist can assist! Here’s the course of action we would most likely take.
Ducks back in a row
The main aim of orthodontic intervention in the case of missing adult teeth is to analyse the space in the arch where the missing tooth is present and reduce the complications the missing tooth poses.
In many cases this involves creating the desired room to replace a tooth that’s missing. In this instance, we look at the space left by the missing tooth, then factor it in while aligning neighbouring teeth.
Ultimately, this allows your dentist to fit a prosthetic tooth and reinstate a perfect smile.
On the flipside, some cases benefit from closing the space where there is a missing adult tooth. This is dependent on many factors including the patient’s facial profile. This is in sync with Dr Shimanto’s holistic approach and focusing on the patient as a whole, rather than just the teeth.
Why accounting for a missing tooth matters
Some might ask why we don’t just realign the remaining teeth without worrying about a replacement?
Well, in most cases every tooth matters when it comes to the correct formation and function of the mouth. The right teeth in the right alignment allow you to chew, eat and speak effectively, while maintaining strong facial features.
With that said, in some cases where there was previously extensive overcrowding, the patient will benefit from space closure rather than replacing the missing tooth. This is a decision to be made by a specialist orthodontist and not the patient.
A little help from friends
In the rare instances where overcrowding was so extensive, a tooth is unlikely to be replaced. Orthodontic intervention, like braces, works to guide the remaining teeth into the right position.
Unfortunately, when a tooth is lost, neighbouring teeth rarely shift neatly into the space left behind. The greater likelihood is they lean or leave a gap.
If it’s determined the tooth should not be replaced, braces help correctly align the teeth and create the required room for replacement.
Basically, if you’re missing an adult tooth, an orthodontist should be among the dental professionals you consult. An orthodontist will assist in creating the necessary room for a prosthetic tooth, while protecting the alignment of other teeth.
Meanwhile, as a general rule of thumb, the sooner we start treating you after a tooth is lost, the better.
Early treatment can eliminate the requirement for extensive treatment in the future and set you on a path to more swiftly replace the tooth that has been lost.
About Norwest Orthodontics
Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping patients achieve a great smile, no matter their age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.