If your smile is plagued by both crooked and decaying teeth, and you wish to implement dental implants with braces to fix the problem, your best course of action is to first straighten your teeth with braces before having any dental implants placed. This is because once placed, dental implants cannot be moved, and so they may interfere with the teeth straightening process should you have more than one implant.
There are also several other factors to consider, all of which will be explained here. If you follow this 6 step plan to correct your smile, you could be blessed with a beautiful and healthy smile within 18-30 months (12-24 months to straighten your teeth and 4-6 months for implants to heal).
Step One: Evaluate Teeth and Extract Any that Cannot be Saved
To begin with, your dentist will evaluate your teeth and make recommendations based on the level of decay present. If the decay has progressed to such an extent that much of the tooth is lost, or the pulp has become infected, then they may recommend extraction in preparation for implants at a later date.
Step Two: Ensure Gums are Healthy
It is important to ensure that your gingival (gum) health is in good condition before any orthodontic treatment commences. If you suffer from gingivitis (mild gum disease), or periodontal (the most serious form of gum disease) disease, braces will worsen the condition, and you could end up with bone loss around the affected teeth.
Step Three: Repair and Restore Damaged Teeth
Next, your dentist will repair or restore any decayed or damaged teeth with fillings or bonding to ensure your remaining teeth stay healthy during your orthodontic treatment.
Step Four: Straighten Teeth with Braces
An orthodontist will place braces to begin the straightening of your overcrowded teeth and make room for dental implants. In most cases, braces should be worn before implants are placed to ensure that your implants can be matched with the position of your natural teeth when being placed.
The only time implants are placed before braces is when your orthodontist wishes to use an implant as an anchor to pull or push teeth in a desired direction.
No case is the same when it comes to braces. It may take 8 months for one person to straighten their teeth and 24 months for another. Within the first few months you should be able to see some change, however.
Step Five: Place Dental Implants
This can be done toward the end of your orthodontic treatment (braces) or after.
Step Six: Allow Implants to Heal, then Add Permanent Crowns
Once your dentist has placed your implants, you will then need to wait 4-6 months for the implants to fuse to the bone and for the area to fully heal. Once healing is complete, your dentist can add permanent crowns to the implants, finishing the process and giving you the smile you desire.
If your case progresses quickly, you could have a healthy and beautiful smile within 18 months.
During this process, your dentist should ideally work in conjunction with your orthodontist to ensure that when the time comes, your implants can be placed in a way that benefits your smile aesthetically.