Impacted Canines or Tooth Exposure
Impacted canines occur when teeth fail to erupt properly, and stay below the gumline or in the bone. While it is often possible for an orthodontist to move teeth to allow space for the tooth to grow in naturally, some cases require the assistance of an oral surgeon to provide space for the tooth to erupt. Your dentist or orthodontist may recommend to have it “exposed”. This refers to the procedure to remove the bone and gum tissue above the tooth. After the top of the tooth is exposed, an orthodontic button will be secured to the tooth which will allow the orthodontist to gently guide that tooth into the correct position in the mouth.
Certain teeth are more essential to the proper alignment and function of your smile. Canines or cuspids, for example are the most common tooth to be referred for exposure. These teeth have a tendency to become impacted and are only extracted as a last resort.
Your orthodontist and your oral surgeon will work closely to determine the correct procedure and the correct timing for an exposure surgery. The first step is usually with the orthodontist who will place brackets on the teeth and ensure that they are aligned. Once there is enough space for the impacted tooth to erupt into, the oral surgeon will expose the tooth and secure an orthodontic button. This procedure is commonly performed under general anesthesia after a consultation with the oral surgeon.