Invisalign With Missing Tooth

invisalign with missing tooth
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Invisalign has become a popular alternative to traditional metal braces for adults seeking straighter teeth. The clear plastic aligners are virtually invisible when worn and can gradually shift teeth into place over the course of treatment. However, when a patient is missing one or more teeth, it raises the question of whether Invisalign is still an appropriate option.

In this article, we will explore the use of Invisalign with missing teeth, including the benefits, limitations, and considerations to keep in mind. If you are considering Invisalign to address your orthodontic needs but have a missing tooth, read on to find out more about this treatment option. By understanding the limitations as well as solutions, you can determine if Invisalign is right for your unique situation.

Can I Get Invisalign or Clear Aligners if I Have a Missing Tooth?

Receiving Invisalign or clear aligners when you have a missing tooth is not only possible but can be an effective part of a comprehensive dental treatment plan. Orthodontic treatments like Invisalign are adept at addressing a variety of dental issues, including the challenge of aligning teeth when there is one or more missing. The process involves a detailed assessment by an orthodontist who will take into account the specific needs and goals of the individual. For those with a missing tooth, the treatment plan can be tailored to either close the gap created by the missing tooth, if that’s deemed to be the best aesthetic and functional solution or to maintain the space for future dental restorations such as implants or bridges.

The customization capabilities of Invisalign and similar clear aligners allow for precise control over the movement of each tooth, ensuring that the final alignment is harmonious and functional, even in the absence of a tooth. The aligners are designed based on 3D models of the patient’s mouth, which can simulate the desired movements and outcomes, taking into account the gap from the missing tooth.

It’s important for patients to discuss their full dental history and future restoration plans with their orthodontist during the consultation phase. This ensures that the aligner treatment is not only focused on correcting current misalignments but is also aligned with any future dental work to ensure a cohesive approach to achieving a functional and aesthetically pleasing smile. The interdisciplinary nature of treating cases with missing teeth often involves collaboration between the orthodontist, general dentist, and possibly a prosthodontist or oral surgeon, to ensure that the final outcome meets the patient’s expectations and dental health needs.

See our review of the best clear aligners.

Worth Knowing

According to research published in Angle Orthodontist, conventional braces typically require more visits and longer treatment time, averaging 5.5 months longer than clear aligner therapy.

Complications of Having Invisalign or Aligners With Missing Teeth

Having Invisalign or clear aligners when you have missing teeth can introduce certain complications that require careful management by an orthodontist. The absence of one or more teeth affects the overall dynamics of the mouth, altering how teeth can be moved and stabilized. For instance, the gap from a missing tooth can lead to the shifting of the adjacent teeth, potentially complicating the alignment process.

Additionally, the distribution of pressure applied by the aligners might need to be adjusted to ensure effective and safe movement of the teeth surrounding the gap. There’s also the consideration of the final aesthetic and functional outcome; the treatment plan must address whether the space from the missing tooth will be closed, maintained for a future restoration like an implant, or adjusted for a dental prosthesis.

These factors can make the treatment more complex and may extend the duration or alter the course of orthodontic care. Therefore, a comprehensive evaluation and a customized treatment plan are crucial for achieving optimal results with Invisalign or clear aligners in patients with missing teeth.

See our article: What Should I Do if I Don’t Like My Teeth.

Can Aligners Help with Filling in Missing Teeth?

While aligners themselves cannot create new teeth to fill in gaps, they can be instrumental in the overall treatment strategy for addressing missing teeth, particularly in conjunction with dental implants which are recommended for larger gaps. Aligners can prepare the dental arch by creating or maintaining the ideal space for an implant, ensuring it fits perfectly with the natural alignment of the teeth for optimal function and aesthetics.

In some cases, particularly when dealing with minor gaps, aligners alone might be used to close the spaces by gradually moving the adjacent teeth closer together. This approach, however, depends on the specific dental situation, the size of the gap, and the health of the surrounding teeth and gums.

See our article: How to Treat Diastema? Causes, treatment, and FAQ.

Can I Fill in the Missing Tooth After the Treatment?

After completing orthodontic treatment with aligners, if there’s a missing tooth, one of the most effective and permanent solutions to consider is a dental implant. Implants are designed to look, feel, and function like natural teeth. They consist of a titanium post that serves as a tooth root substitute, which is surgically placed into the jawbone, and a crown that is attached to the post to mimic the appearance of a natural tooth.

Dental implants are renowned for their durability and the stability they provide, not only filling the gap but also preventing bone loss and supporting facial structure. The process of getting an implant involves a few steps, including the healing and integration of the implant with the jawbone, known as osseointegration, followed by the placement of the crown. This solution is often recommended because of its long-term benefits and its ability to blend seamlessly with the surrounding teeth.

Invisalign with Missing Tooth – Conclusion

In conclusion, orthodontic treatment like Invisalign with a missing tooth is entirely feasible and can lead to successful outcomes with careful planning. Aligners can effectively prepare the dental arch, optimizing the alignment and spacing of teeth to accommodate future restorative solutions such as dental implants.

The strategic sequence of first using aligners to correct alignment and then introducing an implant ensures that the final result is both functional and aesthetic. With the guidance of dental professionals, patients can achieve a harmonious smile, even in the presence of missing teeth, combining the corrective power of aligners with the restorative benefits of implants for a comprehensive dental solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Aligner Option for a Missing Tooth?

Several aligner brands are not only effective in aligning teeth in preparation for tooth replacement but are also a cheaper option than Invisalign whilst providing the same results. Byte, NewSmile, Candid, and Alignerco are some of these.

What is the Cheapest Way to Fix a Missing Tooth?

The most affordable option for tooth replacement is dentures. This type of dental product takes the least amount of time to create, which saves on overall costs, and also involves no surgery or dental crowns to place.

What comes first – aligners or an implant?

Typically, aligners come first in the treatment sequence before proceeding with a dental implant. This is because aligners are used to correct the alignment of existing teeth, ensuring they are in the optimal position. Once the teeth are properly aligned and the desired spacing is achieved, an implant can be placed to fill any gaps left by missing teeth. This sequence allows for a more seamless integration of the implant with the surrounding teeth, ensuring a functional bite and an aesthetic result.


Elani, H. W., Starr, J. R., Da Silva, J. D., Gallucci, G. O., Trends in Dental Implant Use in the U.S., 1999–2016, and Projections to 2026; J Dent Res. 2018 Dec; 97(13): 1424–1430. 2018 Aug 3. doi: 10.1177/0022034518792567. Available online at:

Ke, Y. et al. A comparison of treatment effectiveness between clear aligner and fixed appliance therapies. BMC Oral Health. 2019. doi: 10.1186/s12903-018-0695-z Available online at:

Buschang, P. B., Shaw, S. G., Ross, M., Crosby, D., Campbell, P. M., Comparative time efficiency of aligner therapy and conventional edgewise braces; Angle Orthod (2014) 84 (3): 391–396. DOI: 10.2319/062113-466. Available online at:

Iza Wojnarowski

Content contributor

Iza is a dedicated content contributor for Toothific. Having worn braces twice and currently using Invisalign to correct a mild overbite, Iza brings a unique perspective to her writing. She spends her time staying updated on the latest dental trends and treatments, ensuring her readers have the most current information for their dental care needs.

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