Exposures of teeth.
Approximately 3-5% of the population have impacted teeth other than wisdom teeth. This means that they stay buried and unerupted or partially erupted.
The commonest tooth to be affected is the upper canine or eye tooth. Sometimes both upper canines are impacted.
Lower canines can also be affected. Upper or lower second premolar impactions are also seen but less frequently. In fact any of the other teeth can be impacted and this is seen less frequently again. The abnormal position of these teeth is usually discovered on routine examination or during an orthodontic assessment.
Based on various factors, such as the position of the tooth, the orientation of the tooth and the available space, these teeth can be surgically exposed as part of an orthodontic treatment plan. The tooth is then bonded with an orthodontic bracket and then can pulled in and aligned over a period of usually 3-9 months. Occasionally it is not feasible to expose and align a tooth.
This decision lies with the patient and the orthodontist, but the oral surgeon can advise also on this. These teeth can be surgically removed or occasionally just left in situ if they are not interfering with other teeth. Exposure of a tooth is generally a fairly simple surgical procedure and is nothing to worry about. We carry out these procedures on a daily basis.
They can be done under local anaesthetic only or more commonly with IV sedation. A consultation including X-ray assessment and occasionally a 3D scan takes place before the procedure.