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Tooth Movement Classification
Tooth Movement Classification

Tipping vs. Rotation vs. the rest

Michael Yoon avatar
Written by Michael Yoon
Updated over a week ago

Understanding the complexities of malocclusion is essential when assessing a patient at the beginning stages. The doctor can even get as specific as common types of tooth movements.

Clarifying common tooth movements can bring clarity to curious, and perhaps anxious, patients. Transparent communication is beneficial for these individuals, and can encourage them to move forward with your advice and further treatment.

To keep things simple, dentistry uses the same labels to describe the movements of teeth during clear aligner treatment.

Movement types

In the event you are moving the crown of the tooth, without moving the root, you are crown tipping.  

Conversely, when you are moving the root, without moving the crown, you are root tipping.

The crown and root move in opposite directions. Torquing is the twisting force which is normally required to adjust the inclination of a crown.

Rotation, either mesially or distally, is the turning of the tooth. This is a common movement in simple to complex treatment plans.

When you move the tooth out further from its original position, that is called an extrusion.

Conversely, when you move the tooth further into the mouth from its original position, that is called an intrusion.


When you move a group of teeth away from the midline, normally done to gain space in the mouth, you are performing distalization. This is illustrated in the diagram below:


Conversely, when you move a group of teeth toward the midline, normally done to reduce space in the mouth, you are performing mesialization, as illustrated below:


Moving the posterior teeth away from the midline is referred to as expansion:


When you move the teeth out away from the tongue, that is proclination.


Conversely, when you move the teeth in toward the tongue, that is lingualization.

Related Topics and Information:

Click to learn more about Difficult Tooth Movements and Rotations.

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