Ask the Dentist: Outstanding ways to correct instanding teeth

So-called 'instanding teeth' are a dental conundrum, but there are ways of solving the puzzle of 'disappearing' teeth, says Lucy Stock of Gentle Dental Care

Nothing to smile about - former prime minister Tony Blair is among those to have an 'instanding' tooth, which can create the optical illusion the tooth has disappeared...
Lucy Stock

THE magically disappearing tooth, also known as the 'instanding tooth', is a curious creature. He exists, standing motionless all the time, but when photographed mysteriously evaporates into thin air.

This ghost-type behaviour is a peculiar optical illusion that afflicts amongst others Tony Blair. In some pics of Blair, it looks like one of his lower teeth is completely absent but it's definitely there, tucked behind its neighbouring incisors.

The instanding tooth phenomenon can also cause back teeth to vanish in photos especially if many back teeth are positioned too far in towards the tongue.

This 'instandingness' is not just a visual drawback. Our upper teeth are meant to be sitting in line, in a wide semicircle so that the top teeth sit over the bottom teeth. Teeth are not meant to meet edge to edge or with the top teeth biting inside the lower teeth.

Our teeth are designed to be in a certain position so that we can chew properly, and this distributes the eating forces harmoniously over all our teeth, giving us comfortable facial muscles, comfortable jaw joints and teeth that don't break.

It's a bit like a hand is designed in a certain way, not with the fingers all curled up - anyone with severe arthritis is unfortunately aware that this design doesn't work properly.

Instanding teeth are to all intents and purposes crowded teeth that are extra tricky to clean and stain at an infuriating rate. There are many options to remedy the problem if it affects you.

Nowadays brace treatments have advanced tremendously and when carried out by a dentist at a dental practice (not via the post box - just weird...) the results can be exciting and quicker than in the past. Most brace treatments now take between a few months and a year.

A tooth that sits back can be gently nudged forward in line with the rest of his buddies, creating a wide smile that looks good but more importantly functions better. The idea of 'I'm too old for braces' really is dying out - clear brace positioners are suitable for any age and are as discreet as they come. If you still don't fancy braces there is the option of veneer treatment to straighten teeth.

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