Sometimes, a tooth is prevented from coming into its proper position in the mouth. Usually, this is due to the presence of bone and/or underlying gum tissue that gets in the way of a tooth’s path. When this happens, it’s called impaction. It can happen to any tooth, but wisdom teeth and canines are the most susceptible to impaction.
Most dental professionals recommend removing wisdom teeth, whether or not they are impacted. But because canine teeth play such an important role in the health and function of the mouth, special efforts are made to help the impacted tooth grow in properly. Treating an impacted canine tooth is very common and usually involves an oral surgeon and orthodontist working together to ensure the best possible outcome.
The longer that an impacted tooth stays below the gums, the more developed the tooth’s roots become. It is much easier to treat an undeveloped tooth than a fully-developed one, so early treatment of an impacted tooth is recommended. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, children are recommended to visit a dental professional around the age of 7 for an oral evaluation. The dentist will be able to monitor the child’s oral development as they grow and can refer to a specialist before serious complications occur.
If your dentist suspects an impacted tooth, they can confirm the diagnosis using an X-ray or CT scan. It is common for a canine tooth to become impacted and is usually due to one of the following reasons:
An oral surgeon and orthodontist will work together to expose an impacted canine. First, an orthodontist will prepare the mouth with braces to make enough room for the impacted tooth to come in. Braces work by gently and consistently applying strategic pressure to gradually shift the teeth. Your orthodontist knows exactly which teeth to move and when; the time it takes to complete this part of treatment will be unique to you and your overall treatment plan.
Once the right space has been created for the impacted tooth to come in, you will visit your oral surgeon. They will perform a minor surgical procedure to expose the impacted tooth. Then, a small orthodontic bracket and chain are placed on the tooth. Your orthodontist will use the bracket and chain to help the tooth grow into the right position in the mouth.
A combination of local anesthesia and IV sedation are commonly used during the surgical exposure of an impacted tooth. However, every patient—and every treatment plan—is unique. All of your options for anesthesia and pain management will be discussed and selected during your consultation appointment.
If your child has an impacted tooth, we encourage you to call Dr. Smith at Greater Columbus Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center. Our office is conveniently located in Grove City, OH, and proudly serves the entire Columbus, OH, region. Dr. Smith will create a treatment plan specially designed to optimize oral function and improve the oral health of your child. We look forward to meeting you.