Mesial Drift of the Teeth
Mesial drift is the natural tendency for the teeth to move towards the front of the mouth, i.e., towards the lips.
Teeth have the tendency to move towards the front. This makes sense because chewing movements lead to torsions of the lower jaw and to deflections of the teeth in the tooth sockets themselves, causing friction on the teeth’s contact points. Friction means wear; the teeth grind each other down at the contact points. If the teeth didn’t “want” to move towards the front, one would eventually develop gaps between the teeth.
However, if a tooth is missing, a typical consequence is that the teeth will tilt into the existing gap due to the mesial drift. This changes the bite plane, i.e., it sinks, meaning that the support of the lower jaw no longer takes place on the surfaces of the teeth, but primarily in the jaw joint.
In most cases, the jaw joint will adapt accordingly and osseous reorganization processes occur. Sometimes, however, the altered bite situation leads to problems in the area of the jaw joint after a number of years – more on that in the video "Bite Template".
Furthermore, dental tipping will continue to damage the periodontal apparatus – more on that in the video “Dental Tipping.” That’s why it’s important to close gaps in the teeth, either through a removable prosthesis, a partial prosthesis, or a fixed artificial tooth, e.g., an implant tooth, as this is the only way to avoid dental tipping. Waiting too long will often cause twice the harm!
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