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Teeth naturally grow into your mouth by breaking through the gums and moving into position. Occasionally, a tooth gets stuck beneath the gum and is unable to grow into the mouth properly.

When this occurs, the tooth is impacted. One of the most common types of impacted teeth are the wisdom teeth, but the canines, which are in the front of the mouth, also have a tendency to become impacted and often require surgery to expose.

A tooth may become impacted due to:

  • Overcrowding of the teeth
  • The presence of extra teeth or lack of adult teeth
  • Unusual growths blocking the tooth’s proper eruption
  • Inability of the tooth to follow the normal growth track

To receive proper treatment, it is important to be aware of your symptoms so you can receive an early diagnosis of any impacted teeth. Sometimes, impaction can cause misalignment and costly orthodontic treatments. To identify an impacted tooth, look for puffiness, swollen gum tissue, tenderness, redness, or drainage in the area around the tooth. Your oral surgeon will determine if a tooth is impacted by performing a thorough oral exam. If an impacted tooth is suspected, an X-ray will confirm its presence.

Exposure and bonding is one of the most common and effective treatments for impacted canine teeth. This treatment utilizes the expertise of both your orthodontist and your oral surgeon, who will work together to align your teeth properly and allow the impacted tooth to grow into its proper place.

The orthodontist will prepare the mouth by moving your healthy teeth to leave room for the impacted tooth to grow into place. Then the oral surgeon will surgically expose the impacted tooth and attach an orthodontic bracket and elastic thread to the tooth. The orthodontist will use this bracket and thread to move the impacted tooth into its proper place gently.