What is a surgical exposure?
When a tooth fails to erupt through the bone and gums, it is called an impacted tooth. This commonly occurs with upper canine teeth.
To correct this problem, our specialists and dentists will all work closely together to develop a customized plan on how best to locate the hiding tooth and move it into the correct position. Likely a 3D scan will be recommended to allow your team to know exactly where the tooth is hiding. Once the plan is developed, your surgeon will locate your impacted, “hiding” tooth and “expose it” by attaching an orthodontic bracket or gold chain to it. Just like your other teeth. This will allow your orthodontist to apply slow forces to the hidden tooth, guiding it into the correct position. Teamwork is everything.
Why is it important to expose my hidden tooth?
It is important to treat an impacted tooth to prevent improper eruption of or damage to neighboring teeth. In some cases, impacted teeth may cause cyst formation, infection, and other negative changes in the area. The sooner we can identify and treat the problem, the better.
Does having my tooth exposed hurt?
A canine exposure is a straight-forward procedure where, after numbed, a small incision is made and your gums are pushed back to allow your surgeon to find your impacted tooth. After the tooth is directly visualized, an orthodontic bracket or gold chain is cemented to the tooth and dissolving stitches are placed. Sometimes, your surgeon may elect to place a fancy Band-Aid over the site to help with post-operative discomfort. The area of the tooth exposure will be tender for 4-5 days but should not prevent you or your child from attending school or any related activities the following day. Our team will review all post care instructions with you and provide you with our after hours contact number, should you have any further questions.