Exposure and Bonding

Sometimes teeth do not grow in correctly through the gum tissue. When this happens, the teeth are said to be impacted.

Wisdom teeth are frequently impacted. It is not uncommon for wisdom teeth to linger below the surface, wreaking havoc with the other teeth in the mouth even though they never fully make an appearance through the gum.

The second most common impacted teeth are the front upper eye teeth, or maxillary canines. When this happens, your orthodontist will likely work with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to use a combination of braces and surgery to bring the teeth into proper alignment with the rest of the teeth. The procedure is referred to as exposure and bonding.

Any tooth can become impacted, and when it does, it can lead to other problems that put your overall oral health at risk.

Why Do Teeth Become Impacted?

Teeth become impacted for many different reasons. Often there is just not enough room in the jaw for them to erupt. Sometimes there is a genetic component to impacted teeth. 

Impacted wisdom teeth are a fairly common occurrence, although impacted canines are less so. The latter happens in about 2 percent of the population and in more females than males. 

What Problems Are Caused by Impacted Teeth?

Some people might go through life with impacted teeth—wisdom, canine, or otherwise—with no untoward effects. In other people, however, there are a number of consequences when these teeth are not treated.

The least severe issue is one that is still important in that a tooth will be missing from a person’s smile. If the baby canine tooth never falls out, a tooth will be in that spot, but it won’t match the rest of the adult teeth in a person’s mouth. If the baby tooth has fallen out, there will likely be a visible gap left behind because the impacted tooth did not erupt properly.

A more serious problem is the possibility of resorption. If this happens, the impacted tooth essentially eats away at adjacent healthy teeth. If allowed to happen, it frequently cannot be fixed and might even lead to loss of a healthy tooth.

If resorption doesn’t happen, the impacted tooth can push against the adjacent teeth, causing them to move out of alignment.

In more extreme cases, an abnormal growth, such as a cyst or a tumor, can form around the impacted tooth.

Exposure and Orthodontic Bonding for Treatment of Impacted Teeth

Sometimes just removing the baby canine will free up enough space for the adult canine to grow into its proper position. This does not, however, guarantee the prevention of future problems.

In other cases, surgical treatment can bring the tooth into proper position. This will depend on the tooth's location in the jawbone and the level of impaction.

The exposure and bonding procedure uncovers the impacted tooth so an orthodontic bracket can be attached to it. A chain connects to the attachment to gently pull the tooth into the proper position.

Ask your general dentist or orthodontist for a referral to Burnham Oral Surgery.