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Exposure & Bonding for Impacted Teeth

In some cases, a tooth does not break through the gums and remains stuck in the bone and gum tissues. This is known as an impacted tooth. Wisdom teeth are the most common teeth to become impacted, but any tooth can be affected. While not every impacted tooth poses an immediate threat, their seriousness can vary greatly depending on the specific situation.

The location and severity of the impaction, any symptoms present, your overall health, and even your age all play a role. Some impacted teeth, particularly those with no symptoms, might be monitored without needing immediate intervention. However, pain, swelling, difficulty chewing, or other symptoms warrant professional attention to prevent complications like abscesses, cysts, damage to other teeth, or even nerve damage.

Early assessment and treatment by an oral surgeon is crucial to ensure good oral health and avoid potentially serious consequences down the line. If you have an impacted tooth, don’t hesitate to contact our oral surgery practice for your consultation.

Signs Of Impacted Tooth

Impacted teeth are surprisingly common, affecting around one in three people worldwide. Wisdom teeth are the most common teeth to become impacted, but others, like canines, can be impacted as well.

While not everyone with an impacted tooth experiences discomfort, several telltale signs should prompt a visit to your dentist. Pay close attention to:

Pain is the most common red flag, ranging from a dull ache to sharp, throbbing pain in your jaw or near the impacted tooth. Don’t dismiss it as just a toothache, as it could signal a deeper issue.

If you notice your jaw, face, or gums around a specific tooth becoming swollen, it’s another significant indicator. The swelling might accompany pain or occur independently, but either way, it’s best to get it checked. Experiencing bleeding or tenderness around your gums, especially during brushing or flossing, can be a sign of an impacted tooth struggling to erupt. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment if you encounter this symptom.

The pressure from an impacted tooth can make chewing uncomfortable or even limit your ability to open your mouth wide. These limitations often point to a problem that needs professional attention.

Difficulty cleaning around impacted teeth can create a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Consistent bad breath, even with good oral hygiene, deserves a dental check-up.

Gums surrounding an impacted tooth might appear red and inflamed, indicating potential infection or irritation. This visual cue shouldn’t be ignored, as early intervention can prevent further complications.

If you notice a gap in your teeth where one should be or if your teeth seem misaligned, it could be due to an impacted tooth blocking its neighbor from erupting properly. Seek professional advice to address the issue and ensure proper alignment.

Not everyone experiences all these symptoms, and some impacted teeth may cause no problems at all. However, it’s crucial to seek professional dental advice if you experience any of these signs, especially if they are persistent or severe. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications like infection, damage to other teeth, or even nerve issues.

Exposure & Bonding

Expose and bond is a common treatment for impacted canines, particularly those located high up in the jawbone. It’s a collaborative effort between an orthodontist and an oral surgeon and involves the following steps:

Your orthodontist will first place braces on your remaining teeth to create space for the impacted canine to eventually erupt into its proper position. This process can take several months, depending on the complexity of the case.

Once sufficient space is established, the oral surgeon performs a minor surgical procedure to expose the impacted canine. This involves removing some gum tissue and bone overlying the tooth to make it accessible. After exposure, the orthodontist bonds a small bracket directly onto the exposed enamel of the canine tooth. Using the bonded bracket, your orthodontist attaches a chain or spring mechanism to the bracket and anchors it to another tooth or archwire within the braces system. This creates gentle, controlled pressure that gradually guides the impacted canine tooth down into its correct position in the dental arch.

Throughout the treatment process, both the orthodontist and oral surgeon will monitor your progress and adjust the mechanism as needed to ensure proper movement and alignment of the canine tooth.

Schedule A Consultation

Some impacted teeth, like wisdom teeth, are best removed, while others benefit from the expose and bond procedure mentioned above.

It’s important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of expose and bond or any impacted tooth treatment with your orthodontist and our oral surgeons to determine the right option for your specific case.

If you’d like to schedule a consultation, we’d be more than happy to work with you and your orthodontist or dentist. Be sure to schedule your consultation today.

Our Experienced Oral Surgeons

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Dr. Robert Buch, DDS, MD

Dr. Buch received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree (DDS) in 1992 from the Medical College of Virginia School of Dentistry in Richmond, Virginia. After serving 3 years as an active-duty dentist in the U.S. Navy, he completed a four-year oral & maxillofacial surgical residency in 1999 at the University of Cincinnati Hospitals in Cincinnati, Ohio. His passion for surgery, medicine, and knowledge led Dr. Buch to complete his Medical Degree (MD) at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 2001.