An impacted tooth simply means that a tooth is lodged into the gingival tissue and bone. When impacted teeth require oral surgery, it is because the tooth will not erupt through the gum line on its own. Impacted tooth exposure is a common oral and maxillofacial surgery procedure—especially among patients whose permanent teeth are emerging and replacing baby (deciduous) teeth.
Canine teeth, molars, and wisdom teeth are the most common types of teeth that fail to emerge naturally. Untreated impacted teeth contribute to the development of cysts in the jawbone, malocclusions, and discomfort. Impacted teeth can lead to infections and often affect the eruption and placement of surrounding teeth.
When impacted teeth cannot erupt the gum line properly, oral surgeons and orthodontists typically work as a team to ensure that a patient’s occlusion, teeth, and overall oral health are not negatively affected by permanent damage from impacted teeth. Exposing an impacted tooth is a process that involves orthodontic treatment to create space for the tooth to emerge in the jaw and oral surgery to expose the tooth and ultimately guide it to its proper position.
To expose the tooth, our team of oral surgeons may utilize a variety of methods depending on the needs of the patient and his or her specific situation. In some cases, simply surgically exposing the tooth by removing gingival tissue is enough to guide the tooth to natural eruption. However, some patients may require more complex treatment such as the attachment of a bracket, which will be affixed to orthodontic appliances, to guide the tooth to its proper position over time.
After the tooth has emerged to its proper position, patients will return to our office for a post-operative examination where an oral surgeon will monitor the health of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth. If a significant amount of gum tissue was removed for exposure or if more tissue is needed to support the tooth, a gum graft may be necessary.
Exposing impacted teeth to ensure optimal oral health is just one of our many services. Our skilled team at Great River Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery strives to promote patient comfort with a gentle, compassionate touch.