In most cases, when baby teeth (primary teeth) are lost, there is normal eruption of adult or secondary teeth; however, there are some instances where an adult tooth enters in at an angle or does not have enough room to erupt properly into the mouth. When this occurs, the tooth is impacted. Impaction most commonly occurs with the third molars (wisdom teeth). While the treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is usually extraction, other teeth in the mouth that become impacted should be saved. Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons will work with your orthodontist to expose the impacted teeth and gradually guide them into position.
The orthodontic exposure of an impacted tooth is done by first having our surgeons make a small incision to unveil the impacted tooth. Then, we will bond an orthodontic bracket to the tooth and attach a gold or elastic chain to the bracket. At that point, we will use sutures to reposition the gum tissue. Generally, your orthodontist will have placed braces on the other teeth prior to the orthodontic exposure. He or she will then attach the chain and bracket to the existing orthodontic wire and intermittently tighten the chain to guide the impacted tooth into the desired position. Once visible, the impacted tooth is brought into alignment by the orthodontist. This process typically takes several months.