The primary dentition or "baby teeth" begin to
fall out at approximately 6 years of age due to development of the
underlying permanent dentition or "adult teeth." This process
continues into early adolescence.
Factors such as dental crowding, developmental delays, and
fusion of the overlying primary tooth to the jaw bone can often
result in impaction or lack of natural eruption of the developing
permanent tooth. The teeth most frequently affected are the
maxillary canines/cuspids also commonly referred to as the "eye
How are impacted teeth treated?
Usually impacted teeth can be salvaged with orthodontic and
surgical intervention. Typically, the orthodontist will place
braces and begin to create space for surgically aided eruption of
the impacted tooth. The oral surgeon will then expose the impacted
tooth and bond a modified orthodontic bracket to the crown of the
impacted tooth. This modified bracket has a small chain affixed to
which the orthodontist can attach elastic devices and apply
eruption assistance forces to the impacted tooth after surgery.
What should I expect following surgery?
The surgical exposure and bonding of the modified orthodontic
bracket is typically performed in the office setting under IV
sedation/general anesthesia. Some swelling and discomfort is to be
expected, but is typically very mild. Upon visual inspection, the
effects of the surgery may not be very noticeable to the lay
observer. Patients can expect to see a small portion of the
attached chain protruding through the gum tissue. Your surgeon will
usually secure this chain to one of the brackets on a neighboring
erupted tooth will a small wire, which the orthodontist will remove
at your next office visit following surgery. Resorbable suture
materials are used during surgery and will not require removal.
Routine oral hygiene including tooth brushing may be resumed
immediately following surgery, however, care should be taken to
avoid traumatizing the gum tissue.