An impacted tooth is a tooth that is completely or partially stuck beneath the gums. Wisdom teeth are the usual offenders, but the canines (the pointed teeth at the corners of the mouth) can also become impacted. For impacted canine teeth, several treatments are available. Orthodontic braces can be used to open space for proper eruption, or primary (baby) teeth can be extracted to make more room. Alternatively, the impacted tooth can be surgically exposed to allow for the placement of an orthodontic bracket to help align the tooth as it erupts. Wisdom teeth are often removed whether they are impacted or not, but canine teeth and other teeth are important for chewing and the alignment of the bite, so they are rarely removed. Regular dental visits will allow your doctor to track the progress of developing teeth and ensure they are growing in properly.
Canine teeth emerge around the age of 11 or 12 and are the very last primary teeth to come in. When canines become impacted, it’s important to treat them as soon as possible. As with wisdom teeth, the longer canines are trapped beneath the gums, the more prone they are to complications. If too much time goes by without treatment, the canine roots can develop and fuse with the jaw bone, and the less likely it will be for these important teeth to emerge properly. An X-ray or digital 3D scan can confirm an impacted canine. Your dentist can monitor the development of your child’s teeth with regular checkups and will refer you to an oral surgeon if an impacted canine tooth is suspected.
If a canine tooth is impacted, your oral surgeon will surgically expose it so that it can move into its proper place and may work closely with your orthodontist to complete this treatment. This treatment is called exposure and bonding and is a very common way to treat an impacted canine. For this procedure, your orthodontist will create a space for the impacted tooth to emerge by slowly shifting the surrounding teeth into new positions. Then, the oral surgeon will expose the tooth by removing gum tissue and/or bone that is blocking the normal movement of the tooth. An orthodontic bracket with a small chain is then bonded to the tooth. Your orthodontist will use the chain to guide the tooth as it moves into place.
Exposing an impacted canine is usually a quick in-office procedure performed by your oral surgeon using either IV or local anesthesia. It is normal to experience some discomfort and slight residual bleeding during recovery, but patients are back to their regular routines in no time.
Impacted Tooth Exposure
If you have been recommended for the surgical treatment of an impacted tooth, we encourage you to call Avon Oral, Facial and Dental Implant Surgery where our doctors are highly trained in this type of oral surgery. We look forward to caring for you and your family at one of our offices located in Avon, Glastonbury, and Enfield.