Tooth Exposure

Sometimes teeth are impacted or “stuck” and can not erupt into the mouth.  Most commonly this term is used to describe wisdom teeth, but often affects other teeth in the mouth such as canine teeth (“eye teeth”).  All teeth play a very important role in your bite, aesthetics and chewing function.

In a simple surgical procedure performed by Drs. Cacchillo, Daniel, & Stanger, the gum on top of the impacted tooth will be lifted up to expose the hidden tooth underneath. Once the tooth is exposed, they bond an orthodontic bracket to the exposed tooth. The bracket will have a miniature gold chain attached to it. The chain is guided back to the orthodontic arch wire where it will be temporarily attached. Sometimes the surgeon will leave the exposed impacted tooth completely uncovered by suturing the gum up high above the tooth or making a window in the gum covering the tooth (on selected cases located on the roof of the mouth). Most of the time, the gum will be returned to its original location and sutured back with only the chain remaining visible as it exits a small hole in the gum.

Shortly after surgery the patient will return to the orthodontist. A rubber band will be attached to the chain to put a light eruptive pulling force on the impacted tooth. This will begin the process of moving the tooth into its proper place in the dental arch.  Once the tooth is moved into the arch in its final position, the gum around it will be evaluated to make sure it is sufficiently strong and healthy to last for a lifetime of chewing and tooth brushing. In some circumstances, especially those where the tooth had to be moved a long distance, there may be some minor “gum surgery” required to add bulk to the gum tissue over the relocated tooth so it remains healthy during normal function. Drs. Cacchillo, Daniel, & Stanger will keep you informed as the tooth is brought into its final position. 

Exposure and Bracketing of an Impacted Cuspid