Surgical Exposures

Impacted Teeth Impact Your Life

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Treat Impacted Teeth to Prevent Future Issues

After wisdom teeth (third molars), canines (also called cuspids or eyeteeth) are the most frequent tooth to become displaced or impacted. An estimated 1-2.5% of the population have an impacted upper canine tooth, most commonly on just one side. Underlying reasons include a shortage of space including existing crowded teeth, a baby tooth that hasn’t fallen out, and genetics. It’s important to treat an impacted tooth to prevent improper eruption of nearby teeth, cyst formation, possible infection, or other undesirable changes in the jaw. Surgical exposures are performed most frequently on canine tooth and wisdom teeth, followed by impacted central incisors. Dr. R. Jonas Collins has expertise performing successful surgical exposures in Charlottesville and Waynesboro, VA, for restored bite function and improved smile aesthetics.

If you have bleeding gums in Charlottesville and Waynesboro, VA reach out to our experienced team at R. Jonas Collins, DMD, we can help.

teeth model

The Importance of Timely Intervention

Although earlier intervention is advised, if upper canine teeth haven’t erupted by the time your teen is 13 years old, it’s important to bring them in for a consultation. Early detection reduces the risk of additional gum abnormalities, while prompt intervention with surgical exposure in Charlottesville and Waynesboro, VA lessens the risk of procedural complexities. During this initial appointment, we’ll take digital x-rays and CBCT images in addition to performing a thorough exam to determine the best course of action.
tooth model

What is Surgical Exposure?

When Dr. Collins performs a surgical exposure in Waynesboro and Charlottesville, VA, we use local anesthetic and also offer nitrous oxide to ensure your child is relaxed and comfortable during surgery. During the procedure, Dr. Collins removes the bone or fibrous gum tissue (or both) that is preventing the canine tooth from erupting. If a baby tooth is still present, he extracts this at the same time, then sutures back the gums. After the surgery is complete, protective dressing may be placed over the surgical site while it heals. This procedure allows the canine tooth to emerge until it is at the same level of adjacent teeth, after which your teen’s teeth can be aligned with braces.

Collaboration with an Orthodontist

If Dr. Collins is treating your child in collaboration with their orthodontist, he will bond an orthodontic bracket to the exposed tooth with a tiny gold chain temporarily attached to a wire on the bracket. In some cases, treatment involves the orthodontist placing braces on the teeth to make space in the dental arch for the impacted tooth, prior to oral surgery. Both a closed and open technique can be used, based on your child’s unique case. With the open option, Dr. Collins exposes the tooth and repositions the gums to leave some of the crown of the tooth exposed. For the closed method, after Dr. Collins exposes the tooth, he attaches a bracket to it, then replaces the gums back in their original position. Only the orthodontic bracket is visible through the gums while the tooth is guided to its proper position. If stitches were placed during the surgical procedure, you may need to bring your child back to our practice 1- 2 weeks post-operatively to have them removed. If the bracket comes off before visiting the orthodontist, please call our office. You should schedule an appointment with your child’s orthodontist about 7-14 days after surgery. During this appointment, the orthodontist attaches a rubber band to the chain. This exerts a light pulling force on the impacted tooth to help move it into proper position. It can take a year for the tooth to fully erupt through this carefully controlled and slow process.

Postsurgical Tips

Immediately following a surgical exposure procedure, a small amount of bleeding and pain is normal. Regardless of the treatment method, it’s important that your child follows these instructions:

Healthy Gums For Healthy Smiles

After orthodontic treatment is complete, Dr. Collins will evaluate the gum tissue around the tooth to assess if it’s sufficiently strong and healthy to provide a lifetime of chewing and brushing. In some instances, minor gum grafting (recontouring) may be required over the relocated tooth for functional and aesthetic reasons.

We deliver compassionate surgical care for optimal oral health!

Schedule a consultation for surgical exposure to restore oral function and aesthetics.

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