As your teeth grow, they can become trapped under your gum line without fully erupting. This is known as an impacted tooth. Impacted teeth present challenges to orthodontic treatment because they can prevent other teeth from shifting into their proper position. An impacted tooth can also cause discomfort, pain, and even infection. Oral surgery can help the effectiveness of your orthodontic treatment by exposing impacted teeth and allowing them to grow into their natural position.
Exposure of Impacted Teeth
Permanent teeth are most likely to become impacted as they erupt to replace baby teeth. The most common teeth to become impacted are canines and cuspids. Wisdom teeth also have increased rates of becoming impacted, as they are in the rear of the mouth where space is limited.
Your oral function is not impeded in the absence of wisdom teeth, so these can often be removed by extraction when issues arise. Canines and cuspids present a different challenge, as they are essential to functions such as chewing and biting. When your canine or cuspid is impacted, our team will carefully assess the structure of your mouth and determine a course of treatment to help your tooth emerge and take its proper place.
For impacted canines and cuspids, oral surgery starts with exposing the tooth. To accomplish this, our doctor will gently create a small opening in the gum tissue that blocks the tooth. Dr. Phan or Dr. Chan will position the gum tissue around the crown of the tooth so that the crown is exposed.
Following this, additional orthodontic methods may be utilized to guide the tooth into its proper position, if needed. If left untreated, an improperly aligned canine or cuspid can have a significant impact on your oral function and can impact the alignment of your other teeth. By exposing impacted canines and cuspids, Dr. Phan and Dr. Chan help preserve the alignment of your teeth and the appearance and function of your smile.
In some cases, an impacted tooth does not respond well to orthodontic guidance from appliances such as braces or bands. When this occurs, a temporary anchorage device (TAD) may be recommended to assist with guiding the tooth into position.
An anchorage device is a small orthodontic appliance that is used to ensure a tooth will grow into its proper placement. This device is a miniature plate that is temporarily anchored to your jawbone to provide stable guidance for your tooth. These appliances benefit from the support of your jawbone, allowing them to provide extra support and stability to other orthodontic appliances such as bands, brackets, and chains. The TAD will be removed once your teeth have shifted into their proper position.
TADs can help reduce the need for other orthodontic appliances such as headgear. Since TADs are placed inside your mouth, they are not visible. Many patients appreciate the discrete nature of a TAD compared to other orthodontic appliances.
Please contact Dr. Chan and Dr. Phan for more information. We would be happy to answer your questions regarding oral surgery for impacted teeth.