As you transition from your baby teeth to your adult teeth, you may encounter challenges in which the teeth fail to erupt into their proper places. This can lead to crowding, shifting, and the improper alignment of the permanent teeth. Quite often, it is the upper canines, or eye teeth that become impacted and unable to move into position. These teeth are often completely submerged in the bone, and may only be visualized with the help of dental x-rays.
In such instances, your orthodontist and our oral surgeons will work together to get these unerupted, impacted teeth out of the bone and into their proper locations. The most common treatment for this condition begins with a visit with your orthodontist in which braces are placed on the visible teeth. These braces will be designed to create and hold space for the unerupted tooth to eventually take its place. Once the braces have been placed, the orthodontist will refer you to our oral maxillofacial surgeons for the second phase of the procedure.
During a simple surgical procedure and under the comfort of sedation, the gum tissue that covers the impacted tooth will be lifted up and the underlying bone over the unerupted tooth will be removed to expose the impacted tooth. An orthodontic bracket and a small chain will be bonded to the newly exposed tooth and then later anchored to the previously placed braces.
With the bracket and wire firmly in place, the gum tissue will be laid into place and secured with sutures. After a brief healing period, you will be advised to return to your orthodontist and the chain will be used to gently pull the unerupted tooth into position. In order to complete the procedure safely, and with no damage to the tooth, bone, or gum tissue, this phase of the process may take several months or up to a year.
With expert care and strong teamwork, our oral surgeons and your orthodontist can help you to reveal a beautiful, healthy smile. For help in overcoming the challenges of impacted and unerupted teeth, call the Chicago oral surgery practice of Drs. Steven Koos DDS, MD and Brian Shah DDS, MD at 312-328-9000 to schedule your professional consultation.