An impacted tooth is one that is ‘stuck’ and cannot erupt into function. The upper canine tooth is one of the most common teeth to become impacted. This tooth is crucial in the dental arch and plays an important role in your bite.
Why are the upper canines important?
The canine teeth are very strong biting teeth which have the longest roots of any human teeth. They are designed to be the first teeth that touch when your jaws close together so they guide the rest of your teeth into the proper bite.
Normally, the maxillary canine teeth are the last of the front teeth to erupt into place. They usually come into place around age 13 and cause any space left between the upper front teeth to close together. If a canine tooth gets impacted, we can provide treatment to help it to erupt into its proper position in the dental arch.
What does exposure of teeth involve?
An incision is made in the gum, and a gum flap is raised off the bone to expose the crown of the unerupted or impacted tooth. Any bone interfering with the crown of the tooth is removed. If the impacted tooth is in a favourable position the gum can be repositioned so that the crown is uncovered (exposed) subsequent to surgery. It is usual to cover the exposed crown with a periodontal dressing which is held in position with stitches.
If the impacted tooth is deep, it may not be possible to leave it exposed at the end of surgery. In this situation a bracket and chain can be bonded to the tooth so that the chain can be lead to an orthodontic appliance on the adjacent teeth.
Following surgery your orthodontist would bond a bracket to the exposed tooth or use the bracket and chain we have bonded to slowly retrieve the impacted tooth into the correct position using orthodontic traction.
Although upper canines are the most common teeth to be exposed, it is possible to expose most impacted teeth if appropriate.
What else do I need to know about surgery?
For more information about oral hygiene and recovery after surgery click here.