Braces, used to move teeth, are usually associated with nerdy junior high kids in movies. Orthodontics - the practice of moving teeth to their "correct" or "ideal" position - has come a long way since the practice first started. These days we can use braces that are clear, attach to the inside of your teeth, or even are removable (think Invisalign).
Orthodontics can have a role in implant dentistry in a few different situations:
The roots of adjacent teeth are curved or angled, and block where we want to place the implant.
A tooth has been missing for a while and the other teeth have migrated into the spacing, leaving too little room for an implant or the subsequent crown.
Braces and implants are both part of a larger cosmetic treatment plan.
Orthodontic eruption of a tooth can even be used in some cases to gain bone in situations where a bone graft wouldn't work.
Because orthodontic treatment usually adds time and cost to implant treatment, sometimes we try to find ways to avoid using that particular tool with out compromising the result. This might entail using a narrower implant or angling the implant slightly. Still, I believe in providing treatments that will last a lifetime, and often using orthodontics to adjust the position of teeth prior to placing or restoring dental implants can help achieve an ideal outcome.
Orthodontics are another tool in the tool box that can be used to achieve the results you are looking for.
Do you have any questions? Any other topics you'd like me to address on this blog? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll either respond with an email or with another blog post.
Jonathan Geleris, DDS, FICOI
Disclaimer and disclosures: I'm a dentist who performs dental implant treatments, and general dentistry in Walnut Creek, California. I don't work for any dental companies (other than my practice). Nobody pays me to write this. As much as possible, I hope to present factual information supported by solid science, however, humans are complex, and the science in this field is constantly evolving. Some of what I present may be based on my opinion.