Spontaneous Repositioning of Pathologically Migrated Teeth

Pierre E. Gaumet, Michael I. Brunsvold, C. Alex McMahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: There is limited clinical evidence that pathologically migrated teeth may reposition themselves after conventional periodontal treatment. The current research was carried out to determine the frequency of spontaneous repositioning of pathologically migrated teeth after routine periodontal therapy, and to study the relation between the severity of migration and the degree of repositioning following treatment. Methods: Sixteen patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease and presenting 33 diastema sites secondary to pathologic migration participated in this study. After conventional periodontal treatment had been performed, reactive repositioning was assessed by measuring the space between pathologically migrated teeth and adjacent teeth on study models obtained at baseline, re-evaluation at 6 weeks after scaling and root planing, and 4 months after surgery. Results: After scaling and root planing only, 48.5% of all sites exhibited some degree of repositioning with 36.4% of all sites closing completely. After surgery (6 months after baseline observations), 69.7% of all sites exhibited some degree of repositioning with 51.5% of all sites closing completely. When only small to moderate diastemata were considered (<1 mm), 77.8% of sites closed completely. Conclusions: The findings of this study support the hypothesis that spontaneous repositioning after conventional periodontal treatment is likely, particularly when only light to moderate degrees of pathologic migration are considered. We hypothesize that this spontaneous movement is due to wound contraction during healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1177-1184
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of periodontology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 1999


  • Collagen
  • Fibroblasts
  • Periodontal diseases/therapy
  • Tooth migration
  • Tooth movement
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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