Retainers or Braces for Opening Space Before Implant? (photo)

I have a front tooth missing and I wanted to know if its possible to open up the space with retainers instead of the usual braces.. The current space between my teeth now is about 4mm, i also wanted to know how long it would take for this space to be opened up and ready for implant. Im 20 years old if that may be relevant..

Doctor Answers 4

Root movement is the key!

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To place an implant into the incisor area you will need not only to move the crowns of the teeth into the the correct position but the root need to follow. In other word, you need enough space between the root of the adjacent teeth to place the implant. Retainers will tip the crowns of the teeth but will do very little to upright the roots.


Braces are the best and wisest choice. It will be important for your orthodontist and the person placing the implants to communicate together.

Springfield Orthodontist

Retainers Vs. Braces

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In order to open up the space a little more to fit the proper implant and implant crown, you will need to have Braces placed. This is a much more active form of movement than a retainer. A retainer is mainly used to retain the positioning as it is. The best way to move forward is to have a consultation with an orthodontist and if needed, start with Braces and then go forward with implant placement and restoration of the implant with a crown. As far as how long the process will take, this is something that can only be answered by the orthodontist after a thorough consultation. Goodluck!

Parnaz Aurasteh, DDS
Beverly Hills Dentist

Expanding takes time

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Retainers will not be efficient in this process (it CAN be done, but much more challenging than the normal process).  See an orthodontist, as you may need to use a palatal expander to do the trick, beyond just braces.


This is a good plan (expand, braces, implant, crown), but it will take time.  The end result will last a very long time and look fantastic!

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How long to open space for implant?

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Normally teeth move about .5mm a month and you would need at least 8-10mm between the roots and crown for best results. A retainer will be very slow and not the best way even invisalign would be slow I suggest conventional braces and you should consider fixed bridge maybe much faster and less expensive and I suggest going from 7--10 or 6-11 good luck.


Kevin Coughlin DMD, MBA, MAGD    CEO Baystate Dental PC.

Kevin Coughlin, DMD
Springfield Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.