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Can You Get Aligners With Missing Teeth?

By Zawn Villines
Can you get aligners with missing teeth? In many cases, the answer is yes—but it depends on the specific dental issues you want to correct.

Only a quarter of Americans are extremely satisfied with their oral health, according to a 2018 American Dental Association survey. If you have missing and crooked teeth, you might be unhappy with your smile, and perhaps even feel shy about showing your teeth in photos. But a few missing teeth don’t have to prevent you from improving your smile. In many circumstances, you can get dental aligners with missing teeth. 

Invisible Aligners and Missing Teeth

Missing teeth are not an absolute deal-breaker if you want to get invisible dental aligners. In some cases, they might even leave more space for the aligners to work.

“The missing tooth space can often give us flexibility to realign teeth to relieve crowding,” Hugh Flax, DDS, an Atlanta-based cosmetic and implant dentist at Flax Dental, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “[When a gap remains], we can then make the ideal replacement with a dental implant,” Flax says. 

You may also be wondering if crowns disqualify you from using invisible teeth aligners. However, if you have a crown, there are still options for you. "With a crown, the tooth can still be moved with an aligner," Flax says. So, even if you've had dental work on broken or damaged teeth, you could still be a good candidate for dental aligners.

According to a 2019 study published in BMC Oral Health, aligners also offer some advantages in comparison to braces, including shorter treatment times and the ability to move segments of teeth.

Dental Problems Aligners Can’t Fix

Clear dental aligners are a great option if you don’t want adult braces, but they can’t correct every dental problem. According to the 2019 BMC Oral Health study, dental aligners may be less effective at:

  • Retention of treatment
  • Correcting twisted teeth
  • Bringing teeth together when there is a bite issue

Dental aligners only move teeth. They cannot change the shape of the jaw, or create more room for teeth to move without additional orthodontic work.

If you want to definitively know whether aligners are right for you, your orthodontist will be able to offer supervision and guidance tailored to the specifics of your case. 

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