When a tooth becomes partially or fully trapped beneath the gums, it is called an impacted tooth. While it is possible for any tooth to become impacted, wisdom teeth and canine teeth (which both have very deep roots) tend to become impacted more often than other teeth.
Treatment for an impacted tooth depends on the location of the tooth and the reason it became impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth are treated through extraction because the wisdom teeth are not necessary for your overall mouth to function. Canine teeth (incisors), on the other hand, are crucial for tearing food and guiding the alignment of your bite. Because of their importance to the function of your mouth, treating impacted canines requires a different approach.
Exposure and Bonding Treatment for Impacted Canines
One of the most common methods of treatment for impacted canines is exposure and bonding treatment, which is a joint effort between your oral surgeon and an orthodontist. In most cases, your orthodontist will first clear the growth track of the impacted tooth using braces. Once there is adequate space for the canines to grow in, your oral surgeon can surgically expose the impacted teeth. Your surgeon will clear any growths or baby teeth that are blocking the growth track and attach a small bracket and chain to the newly exposed tooth. This entire procedure is performed under anesthesia so that no pain will be felt during surgery. Once the surgical site is ready for the next phase, your orthodontist will use your braces and the new chain to gently pull the impacted teeth into alignment.
Preventing and Treating Impacted Canines
Having regular dental exams throughout childhood is crucial for preventing impacted teeth. In many cases, if a tooth alignment issue is recognized early, your orthodontist can clear the growth path for the canines using braces and other orthodontics (eliminating the need for surgical intervention). In other cases, irregular growths and other unforeseen issues can require surgical treatment to correct the issue. If it is determined that the canines are impacted, seeking treatment as soon as possible is crucial. If canines are trapped behind the gums for too long, they can become permanently stuck in the bone beneath the gums, making it impossible to expose them and guide them into their natural alignment. In these cases, oral surgeons can use dental implants to replace the impacted teeth.
Causes of Impacted Teeth
Many factors can contribute to a tooth becoming impacted. Some of the most common reasons a tooth becomes trapped behind the gums include
- Unusual cysts or growths blocking the tooth’s growth track
- Overcrowded teeth not leaving enough space for a tooth to grow in normally
- Baby teeth that do not fall out in time for the adult teeth to grow in
Impacted Tooth Exposure at Siouxland Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Our oral surgeons are experts at treating cases of impacted teeth. We offer treatment for patients of all ages, and our surgeons are trained to administer anesthesia for both adult and pediatric cases. If you or your child is in need of treatment for impacted canines, contact one of our offices in Sioux Falls, SD, Mitchell, SD, Yankton, SD, or Brookings, SD, today for more information.