Yes, You Can Wear Braces with Missing Teeth | Miami Orthodontist

Yes, you can wear braces with missing teeth

You may have wondered can you still get braces with missing teeth? The answer is yes! Even if you have missing teeth, you can still have braces. And getting braces for missing teeth is a great solution for people who have crowded teeth. Depending on the amount of missing teeth, your orthodontist may recommend that you have additional dental appliances installed that can help fill the gaps. These can be things like bridges or implants. It’s important to have your teeth alignment corrected, as missing teeth can actually lead to the rest of the teeth drifting out of place so your bite no longer lines up correctly. And that misaligned bite can actually wear your teeth down unevenly so they either need to be pulled or you will need to have some significant rebuilding done later on.

Overbites, underbites, and other alignment problems are important to get fixed, so don’t let missing teeth keep you from getting your bite adjusted. You can still get braces with missing teeth.

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Why people might have missing teeth

You might have missing teeth for a number of reasons. Perhaps the adult teeth never grew in, a common condition that happens with the lower rear teeth like your wisdom teeth, or the upper front ones. Or maybe you have suffered a jaw/tooth trauma like having a tooth knocked out. Significant tooth decay or infections like periodontal disease can also lead to tooth loss because the only thing left is to extract the tooth. Habits like smoking or chewing tobacco can also lead to tooth loss and gum issues.

There are times that the missing teeth will actually lead to bite issues because the surrounding teeth are drifting out of place. Bite issues are called malocclusions and they can be corrected through braces or clear aligners. Sometimes you have a small jaw and your adult teeth won’t be able to grow in, so your dentist will actually pull a tooth or two out to make enough room, which is creating missing teeth.

Learn More about canine substitution if you have missing lateral incisors at

 Can teens get braces with missing teeth? 

Teens might wonder can you get braces with missing baby teeth? Kids who are still in the process of losing their milk teeth but have jaw issues or misaligned teeth that may prevent their adult teeth from growing in properly are good candidates for braces with missing teeth. Kids might also lose some teeth while they are in the process of wearing braces if they are young enough. Orthodontists will keep this in mind and remove the bracket or band from that tooth so it can fall out and then they will replace the bracket once the adult tooth comes in.

Braces make it easy to keep your natural teeth and have the empty space where the missing teeth are located get filled in. They also mean other issues that might result from missing teeth down the road are corrected before they become a bigger problem. It could mean braces with missing teeth before and after but your dental care team will have a full solution for you. Later on we’ll look at what some of the other pieces to the puzzle are.


Braces work by gently moving teeth through the jaw to their new location. You might think that your jaw is a solid, hard piece of bone. It is actually a set of collagen filaments that hold the teeth in place, and allow for your teeth to move as needed. This set of fibers is called the periodontal ligament, but it is not a ligament like the strong cable of tissue that keeps your bones anchored to each other. The filaments mean that the braces on your teeth will gently move your teeth through this structure and as it goes, new bone and periodontal ligament is formed. You also will slightly lose some bone and ligament ahead of the movement, but it all fills in in the end.

Braces can also help stabilize teeth in the mouth to protect the space where the missing teeth are. This sounds odd but it can mean that an implant can be put in when the braces with missing teeth come off. There’s a possibility that after a tooth was lost, the surrounding teeth have shifted into the space and they need to go back since they are taking up the space that the replacement tooth needs.

Your dentist and/or orthodontist can take x-rays and see if you are missing teeth that have not descended yet. This can help them determine if a tooth or teeth is/are actually missing or if they just haven’t dropped yet. Adult teeth that are stuck up in the periodontal ligament space and don’t seem to be descending on their own may need a little surgical encouragement before the braces go on. After that, the braces will slowly help pull that tooth down into proper alignment with the rest of the teeth.

You can even get braces for adults with missing teeth again even if you had braces as a child or teen. Alignment issues sometimes don’t present themselves until you get older. Plus, your jaw will be in its final shape as an adult so getting braces as an adult can actually be a great idea.

Fixing missing teeth with clear aligners

Another option to help with missing teeth is using clear aligners. These are clear trays you put on your teeth and then switch to a new design every few weeks to help straighten and align your teeth.

One thing clear aligners can do that braces with missing teeth can’t is have a temporary tooth built in to the tray so that while the teeth are adjusting you can have a fill in. You may have also wondered can you get braces with missing back teeth? And the answer is yes – clear aligners are great for helping bring your other teeth together so you have a filled in set in the front.

Clear aligners are easy to remove and that makes it easy to keep your teeth clean. If you have lost teeth due to periodontal disease or bone loss, this might be a really important factor to consider so that you can get regular cleanings and not have any further gum or jaw issues.

There is a lesser chance that you will have any bone loss during treatment for missing teeth with a clear aligner as compared to braces. You just have to remember to keep them in for most of the day (20 of the 24 hours) so that they can do their work.

Invisalign braces with missing teeth are not meant to help with large gaps, but rather they can work to straighten teeth that have fallen due to a missing tooth next to them or a small gap. If you are covering a larger gap, or you have teeth that never grew down, traditional braces are more likely to be successful for you.

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Other appliances you might need

While you have braces with missing teeth, or even a little before, you may have some spacers inserted in between your teeth to help all of your teeth be properly aligned. For kids who have crowded teeth, they may have spacers installed to create enough room for the adult teeth to come in.

There are also implants that can be used to fill in missing teeth, which are helpful for people who have recently lost a tooth or for people who are missing several. Implants are set on an artificial tooth root drilled into the jaw so they are strong like natural teeth and they can handle what life throws at them. But, if you have been without a tooth or teeth for a while, the surrounding teeth have probably already drifted and so braces are your best option at the start. They can either close the gap or be used to move the teeth back to closer to original positions so that a dental implant can then be used.

Generally speaking, if you are only missing one tooth, implants might not be necessary since the braces can probably close the gap. If there is damage to the jaw that includes missing bone, there are bone grafts that may be needed to stabilize the bone before the permanent replacement implants can be set.

When you get your braces off, wearing your retainer is really important while you are getting the implants done so you maintain the spacing you need that was created while you had your braces on. It might seem odd to have braces with missing teeth before and after treatment, but your orthodontist is doing that on purpose.

Bridges and partial dentures, sometimes called partials, are also ways to fill in missing teeth. A dental bridge is literally just that – your dentist builds a crown on either side of the missing tooth and then a replacement tooth is suspended in the middle. They are not permanent in the mouth like implants are, but they do last for several years before they need to be replaced.

Partial dentures are removable dentures that fill in the missing teeth. Like regular dentures, they need to be removed and cleaned daily, and you can’t bite down hard on them like you can teeth or implants. A teen with missing teeth might have a partial for a while until the bones in the jaw are done growing and then they can qualify for an implant.

If the bite has been misaligned for a while, it might be necessary to get a crown to correct the bite surface on a tooth after the braces come off. Crowns can be used to help strengthen a tooth and give it the right shape again instead of a full tooth replacement, so long as the rest of the tooth is strong and stable. Many dentists prefer to rebuild a tooth versus replace it since it involves less trauma to the jaw.

Sometimes orthodontists will need to put in a small anchor tooth to help the other teeth move as they should if the place they would otherwise put the brace is the missing tooth. This is not to be used permanently, but just to help while the braces are on.

A small space maintainer device can sometimes be used in teens to help keep the spaces open so all of the adult teeth can drop in as they should. These space maintainers may actually solve the problems due to missing teeth completely once the adult teeth come in, meaning no further treatment is needed.

Get braces with missing teeth

Getting braces with missing teeth is sometimes the perfect solution to dental issues, adjusting the remaining teeth into the right positions for restorative work like implants or partial dentures. Or they can be the final solution, closing the gap caused by a missing tooth.

Learn More about preparing ideal spaces with braces for cosmetic implants placement at Missing Lateral Implant Replacement

Be sure to care for your teeth while you have your braces on. You should brush regularly and consider a water rinsing device to keep food particles from getting stuck. Or if things are difficult for you to clean your teeth around the braces, you may want to consider using clear aligners since they can be completely removed and then your teeth can be fully cleaned. Plaque is that fuzzy film you feel on your teeth after eating, and if it is not correctly removed, it can actually cause more tooth and gum damage.

Orthodontic treatment can help people with missing teeth improve their total mouth health thanks to properly aligned teeth. Your teeth and gums will be healthier in the long run because they don’t have gaps that lead to trapped food causing gum disease or bone loss from biting incorrectly. Check with your orthodontist and see what he or she recommends for dental restoration. And, your self-confidence will no doubt be boosted when you are all done thanks to a great smile. So the answer to the question can adults get braces with missing teeth is yes! You are never too old to have your teeth look great.


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IVANOV Orthodontic Experts
12866 Biscayne Blvd, North Miami, FL 33181

Call us at (786) 540-1919 to schedule a free orthodontic exam.


Amazing experience! I’ve had my braces for 6 month now and I’m impressed of how much my teeth have changed. No pain at all. Dr. Ivanov is such a sweet person and very professional, he knows what he’s doing and always cares for patients personal concerns. Highly recommended!

Tula Garcia

Dr. Ivanov was amazing. When I first got my braces I was scared it was going to last 4yrs for my teeth to look better but it only lasted 2yrs and the results are beyond amazing. I’m really happy with everything and would absolutely recommend him to anyone. Thank you so much.

Kimberly Martinez

Very good experience. The attention was great. The doctor is very punctual and they don’t make you wait, which for my busy schedule is super important. Also, the time the doctor told me I had to wear the braces was the exact time I needed and I was very happy with the results. Definitely recommend him.

Laura Jimenez

Dr. Ivanov was amazing. He was very understanding and took the time to explain, every step of the process for my daughters braces. I am proud to say with great care her braces were finally removed and the end result is the beautiful smile she now has. Thank you

Christina Jenkins

Ivan and his staff made my experience a smooth and convenient process. I am absolutely delighted and satisfied with the progress and how far my teeth has come. Ivan and his staff works effortlessly to ensure that my teeth are perfected beyond my expectations. If I had any other choice I would still choose Ivanov Orthodontic experts.

Joshua Xavier

My family and I are so happy with the results of Dr. Ivanov!!! So knowledgeable, kind and always available to answer questions. I am so happy we found him and his staff. I am looking forward to addressing my dental needs now that the family is on track!!! How many can say that about their dental experts. Way to go Dr. Ivanov!!!

James C. Murphy

He is awesome. You will start seeing changes quick in your smile. He shows passion in his work, he cares about you and your smiles. The office is very nice and great customer service. You will be in good hands if you choose to go with him.

Ketty Platon

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