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Tooth drift and how to treat it

Spaces between teeth can occur in many ways. A patient may have genetically spaced teeth, genetically missing teeth, or teeth extracted. 

Spaces between teeth can also occur from habits such as tongue thrust, pencil chewing and thumb sucking etc.

Teeth can also drift in patients who have suffered periodontal disease/ gum disease. 

The most common space between teeth is the midline upper diastema such as in the artist Madonna. 

Some ethnic minorities will have a higher percentage of teeth spaces.

Most patience have an acceptable smile with space between their teeth, but some patients may want the spaces closed. 

Some dentists will add fillings between the teeth to close the spaces, but we do not agree with that as the fillings can add unnecessary widths to the teeth, can stain chip or even fall off. Fillings added to teeth can also cause gum disease. 

Our advice to close spaces is to use Invisalign aligners. 

The most convenient orthodontic system is Invisalign, in that it is removable clear and really easy to clean. With no pain or food trapping, then why would anyone want fixed braces?

This young male patient had already had braces as a child but over time and without his retainer his teeth stared to drift forwards. There may have been a history of tongue thrust as well. 

From the picture you can see some tartar has built up between the teeth which is quite common when there are spaces present. The patient was a trainee lawyer and did not want to wear fixed braces so we agreed on Invisalign orthodontic treatment.

Invisalign scan preview

The Invisalign treatment consisted of 25 pairs of aligners each pair being changed every two weeks and the patient being reviewed at the clinic every 6-8 weeks.

We added attachments to some of the teeth to aid in retention of the aligners. 

The patient was however, not very good at attending and so we probably saw him every three months. 

As you can see from the photographs the patient was nearly finished and his attachments are still on. We achieved space closure, the attachments  were removed and the patient was given three pairs of Invisalign retainers. 

Treatment time was extended due to the patient’s poor attendance. 

As you can see a dramatic difference has been achieved with removable Invisalign aligners and very few appointments with the patient. 

Invisalign allows us to plan treatment around a patient who cannot attend very regularly and in a few cases we have seen patients only once in a year treatment, but with a successful result.