Correcting a Tilted Molar
What is Molar Uprighting?
Molar uprighting is a process whereby a tilted molar is corrected through an orthodontic procedure. Molars are the large teeth located in the back part of the mouth. These are the main teeth used for grinding up food during the chewing process and are therefore very important.
Molars that are tilted mesially means they tilt towards the front of the mouth. A tooth is often seen tipping in this manner when there is an empty space next to it rather than a tooth.
Teeth can also tilt distally in some cases. This is when the tooth tilts backward rather than forward. However, mesially inclined teeth are by far the most common.
Many candidates for molar uprighting have had their permanent lower 6-year molar removed at some point in the past, usually as a result of extensive decay or a failed root canal. The adjacent 12-year molar behind it then begins to tip forward into the missing 6-year molar space. This causes the 12-year molar to slant sideways or at an angle.
In children and teens, mesially tipped teeth usually refers to when there is not enough space at the back of the mouth for the 12-year molars to erupt. These teeth can stay impacted below the gumline behind the back surface of the 6-year molar. It is important that these teeth are uprighted and brought into the mouth to avoid compromising the health of the adjacent 6-year molar.
How Do Impacted 12-year Molars Affect Oral Health?
People that possess impacted second molars may experience the following unwanted side effects:
- Difficulty in keeping teeth at the back of the mouth clean
- Food impaction
- Discomfort and inflammation of the surrounding soft tissues
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal disease
- Cysts or other pathologies
Because of these undesirable and problematic issues that tend to arise from mesially impacted 12-year molar teeth, molar uprighting is a procedure that Dr. Redford and Dr. Burke strongly recommend.
Our doctors are experts in identifying and treating teeth that may be adversely positioned through proven, safe procedures. Burke & Redford Orthodontists have offices conveniently located in Lake Elsinore and Temecula, California.
Why Missing Molars Can Be Problematic
Many people with missing permanent first molars wonder what issue there could be with a simple gap between the teeth. The presence of all teeth is important not only for a nice smile and for chewing; teeth also function as important space holders in the mouth. Teeth are naturally inclined to shift and move, especially if a gap exists between them. Gaps often result in unwanted tooth movement and negative consequences for the smile and bite.
Any of the following problems can occur as a result of missing molar teeth:
- Abnormal eruption of adjacent molars or other side teeth (premolars).
- Collapse of space, making it difficult or impossible for the general dentist to replace the missing molar with a bridge or implant.
- Opposing teeth can overerupt, causing them to appear elongated. This can also result in the general dentist being unable to place an implant or bridge in the missing tooth site, in addition to potential bite problems being created.
In one way or another, each of these consequences is serious in nature. Each requires proper evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment from a board-certified orthodontist.
While the issues stemming from a missing tooth may seem negligible, they almost always become worse over time. Many patients are surprised at how quickly they can become serious and cause issues that may even be irreversible or very difficult to correct.
Therefore, it is critically important to consult an orthodontist if a tooth is missing or visibly out of its normal position.
In most cases, the efficient and advantageous way to correct a tilted molar is through an orthodontic intervention known as molar uprighting.
Molar Uprighting Treatment
Molar uprighting is an orthodontic procedure whereby tilted or slanted teeth are put back into their proper straight up and down position. Molar uprighting itself is an umbrella term for the various orthodontic interventions that are used to correct a tilted molar.
When it comes to molar uprighting specifics, there are several treatment approaches that involve either fixed or removable orthodontic appliances. To determine the appropriate option, the orthodontist will look at the following:
- If there is any infection present in the mouth
- How much the tooth is inclined
- Which direction(s) the molar needs to move
- If teeth adjacent to the tipped molar will affect the required movement
The best option will be decided upon after considering the patient’s preference and the professional expertise and recommendation of the orthodontist.
Regular check-up appointments should be kept throughout treatment. The orthodontist will need to keep track of the tooth’s progress and ensure uprighting the tooth isn’t negatively affecting the bite or surrounding teeth.
It is important to discuss the common options for molar uprighting used by qualified orthodontists like Burke & Redford Orthodontists.
In this treatment method, brackets (braces) are attached to the tipped molar as well as the teeth surrounding the tilted molar. The teeth adjacent to the tipped tooth act as an anchor unit. They upright the offending tooth by putting force on it by means of wires and or springs connecting the braces.
There are downsides to uprighting mesially tipped molars this way due to its tendency to shift the anchor teeth. When applying force to correct the offending slanted molar, the anchor teeth can move as well. This can create other problems if not managed well by the treating orthodontist.
Even though this is one of the most popular methods of treatment, some orthodontists may choose to go with what is known as skeletal anchorage. Skeletal anchorage allows the orthodontist to apply force to the tipped tooth by anchoring off surrounding bone instead of surrounding teeth. In this way, negative side effects can be reduced, and treatment can proceed more efficiently.
Other Molar Uprighting Methods
The choice of an appliance to upright molars can be quite specific to the situation and the severity of the tipped molar. There is not just one molar uprighting appliance used universally; there are several. Many appliances are new and groundbreaking in the world of orthodontics.
Due to this fact, orthodontists have their own ideal treatment method when it comes to uprighting molars.
Some popular options are:
- Reversed loops or U-loop wire spring
- Lingual or buccal auxiliary springs
- Surgical molar uprighting
- TAD (temporary anchor device) assisted molar uprighting
Whatever method is chosen should be in accordance with the needs and desires of the patient and the expertise of the orthodontist. Dr. Ryan Redford and Dr. Burke are diligent in following up with the patient routinely through appointments, as well as being available to address any questions or concerns.
If you or your child have molar teeth that need molar uprighting, or if you have any other orthodontic needs, please contact Burke & Redford Orthodontists at (951) 699-8011. We provide free consultations if you wish to schedule one via phone or through our website.