Most of the time, a tooth erupts through the gum tissue on a set path and into its proper position. However, a tooth can sometimes be blocked from this process due to bone and/or underlying gum tissue or other factors. This is known as impaction. Impaction can happen to any tooth, but wisdom teeth and canines are particularly prone to this problem.
Usually, wisdom teeth are recommended for extraction, whether they are impacted or not. However, because canine teeth are important to the bite, function, and alignment of the rest of the teeth, extra efforts are made to help impacted canines come into their proper position. Treating a canine tooth that is impacted requires both an oral surgeon and an orthodontist.
If your dentist suspects an impacted tooth, an X-ray or CT scan can be taken to confirm. An impacted tooth may not have any symptoms, but common symptoms of an impacted tooth include pain, red or swollen gums, bad breath, or an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Canine teeth can become impacted for many reasons, including baby teeth blocking the growth path of the adult tooth, unusual growths, misalignment, or even extra teeth in the mouth. Treating an impacted canine as early as possible is recommended to preserve oral health and function. An oral surgeon and orthodontist will work together to expose an impacted tooth and guide it into the correct position.
First, an orthodontist will use braces to create enough space for the impacted tooth to come in. The braces will work by applying consistent and gentle pressure to move the surrounding teeth. Once the teeth have moved into their new positions, your oral surgeon will expose the impacted tooth. This requires a minor surgical procedure that can be performed at your oral surgeon’s practice. Once the impacted tooth has been exposed, a small orthodontic button is bonded to the tooth and connected to the adjacent teeth with a small chain. While the tooth is growing in, the orthodontist will use the small chain to guide the tooth into place.
Stephenville Oral Surgery strives to make every experience at our Stephenville, TX, practice safe and comfortable. Your options for anesthesia will be discussed during your first visit to our practice, but local anesthesia and IV sedation are typically used for exposing an impacted tooth.
Treating an impacted tooth as early as possible is recommended for most patients. To ensure you receive high-quality oral surgery care, we encourage you to contact Stephenville Oral Surgery and schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. McPhillips, our experienced oral surgeon.