Do you know what an impacted tooth is?
An impacted tooth is a tooth that is stuck in the gum due to poor positioning and cannot erupt normally.
One of the teeth most at risk of being impacted is the canine. Because canines come in later than others, they are more likely to lack enough space to position themselves properly.
Orthodontic treatments are available to correct this type of problem. However, if an impacted canine tooth is detected too late, surgical exposure may be required.
Learn more about exposing impacted canines below.
What does exposing impacted canines involve?
Exposure of an impacted tooth, also called forced traction, is a surgical procedure to expose a tooth that is slow to erupt. Following this procedure, orthodontic treatment is often required to guide the tooth into the correct place on the dental arch.
This procedure is most often performed for canines teeth, since they are the last teeth to grow and are therefore more likely to be impacted.
This procedure can be performed under local anaesthetic or intravenous sedation.
Techniques for exposing impacted teeth
There are two techniques for exposing an impacted tooth:
- Open exposure and eruption: this technique involves removing a small part of the gum covering the tooth in order to expose it. An orthodontist can then install an appliance to position the tooth correctly.
- Closed exposure and eruption with chain: this technique involves lifting part of the gum to expose the tooth and placing a chain on it. An orthodontist can then perform a traction with the help of that chain to correct the trajectory of the tooth.
Why expose impacted canines?
There are many reasons for surgical exposure of an impacted tooth. In some cases, the procedure may be essential in order to avoid more significant problems.
Here are a few examples of the potential consequences of an impacted tooth:
- Pericoronitis: Pericoronitis is an infection that causes inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding a partially erupted tooth. The infection can spread through the mouth and cause significant pain.
- Aesthetics: If the canine is never exposed, this creates an obvious gap in the dentition, which can affect self-esteem and the appearance of the smile.
- Pathologies: In rare cases, cysts, lesions or tumors may develop on the impacted tooth. Exposure can prevent this from occurring.
Other possible solutions for treating impacted canines
If the impacted canines are detected early enough, there are preventive treatments that can avoid the need for surgical exposure.
It is sometimes possible to identify an impacted canine problem in children. If this is the case, the dental surgeon may suggest an extraction of the primary tooth (the baby tooth) to facilitate the eruption of the impacted tooth.
Palate expansion is another possible treatment for impacted canines. Creating more space in the mouth increases the chances for impacted teeth to grow in properly. These eruption problems are often detected around the age of 9 or 10 by the family dentist or orthodontist.
Surgical exposure: an effective treatment for impacted teeth
In summary, impacted canines can cause a variety of health problems if left untreated in childhood and adolescence. Surgical exposure of impacted teeth is an effective solution to guide them to their proper position on the dental arch.
However, if impacted canines are detected early enough, slightly less invasive treatments can be used to help the teeth erupt normally.
If you think your child may have an impacted tooth, don’t hesitate to visit a specialized maxillofacial clinic. 3D X-rays can be taken to confirm the presence of an impacted tooth and its position.
Looking for a maxillofacial clinic in the Gatineau region? Contact Clinique Evoro today to make an appointment with one of our maxillofacial surgery specialists.