Expert Advice

Dr Angelo Lazaris: cosmetic dentist

Dr Angelo Lazaris is a leading expert in general and cosmetic dentistry. Using the latest state-of-the art technology and techniques, clients are assured of the most advanced treatment available.

Braces alternative

Tuesday, April 11, 2006
An implant is the best way to replace a single missing tooth, especially if there is nothing wrong with the adjacent teeth.

I am a 20-year-old guy who is missing one lateral incisor. I had braces when I was younger with the goal of making an 8mm gap in which to have a permanent implant put in. I failed to get the implant, resulting in my teeth moving to fill the gap, which is now half the size it needs to be to fit a replacement tooth. I was wondering if there's any method to move my teeth enough without having to wear braces? I would like to achieve a good smile without having to go through long and costly procedures. Not to mention the aesthetic factor of wearing braces for a year. Is there a surgical option that would decrease the time of the procedure? If not, any other advice and ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

An implant is the best way to replace a single missing tooth, especially if there is nothing wrong with the adjacent teeth. However, there are strict parameters for spacing requirements and you were correct in saying that 8mm is the average space required to replace a lateral incisor. This space will need to be regained.

There is an alternative method of aligning teeth, which is particularly relevant for adults like you who don't want to wear braces. The Invisalign system uses a series of clear plastic aligners to move teeth into desired positions and as, its name alludes, is virtually invisible.

My concern is that when teeth migrate, they tend to tip, so realigning these is a more difficult proposition because of the forces required. Conventional orthodontics (braces) may be needed to achieve the fine movement required, but often this can be done in conjunction with the Invisalign treatment to minimise the amount of time you will need to have braces on. Many orthodontists now use ceramic brackets for braces, which are less visible too.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to your problem. You will need to do it properly or be destined to functional and aesthetic failure.

For more information please visit Dr Angelo Lazaris's website.

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