While tooth extractions are sometimes necessary, having a tooth removed often has a negative effect on your smile, and a visibly missing tooth can affect your self-confidence. There are a few cosmetic dentistry options available for replacing a missing tooth, like dental implants and bridges, but orthodontists can sometimes help make a missing tooth less noticeable as well. If you're not yet ready for a cosmetic replacement for your tooth, it may be a good idea to look into getting braces. To learn more about whether or not braces can help you close the gap in your teeth after a tooth extraction, read on.

Can You Use Braces to Close a Gap in Your Teeth?

Braces work by putting pressure on your teeth in order to shift their positions, which means that they can be used to make gaps between your teeth narrower. However, the reason that you had a tooth extracted will determine whether or not the final result will be aesthetically pleasing.

If you had a tooth extracted to relieve overcrowding in your mouth and the gap between the adjacent teeth is narrow, then braces may be able to make the gap unnoticeable. The same applies if you had an anomalous extra tooth extracted (called a supernumerary tooth).

However, if your tooth was extracted due to extensive decay, then the gap may be too wide for braces to close it with a good result. The type of tooth that you had extracted matters as well. Canines and incisors come in pairs. If you're missing one, your smile won't be symmetrical. Closing the gap between your teeth in this instance usually isn't worth it, since it won't result in a perfect smile.

Should You Get Braces Even When the Gap Can't Be Closed?

Even if the gap between your teeth is too wide to give you an aesthetically pleasing result, it's still worth it to get braces. Instead of closing the gap, the braces will be placed in a way that holds the adjacent teeth apart. This keeps an open space available for an eventual cosmetic replacement, such as a bridge or a dental implant. If you don't hold the space open using braces, then your teeth will eventually begin to drift towards each other naturally. If they get too close, then a cosmetic dentist may not be able to fit a replacement tooth into the gap.

If you're concerned about a gap between your teeth after having a tooth extraction, schedule an appointment with an orthodontist in your area. An orthodontist will take X-rays of your mouth and measure the size of the gap to determine if braces will be able to correct the problem in a way that looks natural. If it's not possible due to the size of the gap or the tooth that was extracted, you'll still be able to use braces to keep your teeth spaced apart, allowing you to eventually replace the missing tooth with an implant or a bridge.