An impacted tooth simply means that a tooth that is ‘stuck’ and cannot erupt into the mouth. The most commonly impacted teeth are the infamous ‘Wisdom Teeth’, which typically develop problems and are extracted on a routine basis (see ‘Wisdom Teeth’ section). The upper cuspids (‘eye teeth’) are the second most common teeth to become impacted; however, unlike the ‘Wisdom Teeth’, are critical teeth in the dental arch and play a vital role in your bite. The cuspid teeth are strong biting teeth that have the longest roots of any human teeth. They are designed to be the first teeth that touch when your jaws close together so that they can guide the rest of the teeth into the proper bite. As such, every effort is made to facilitate the eruption of an impacted cuspid tooth into the dental arch. If a cuspid does not erupt spontaneously, Dr. Davis will work with your orthodontist or dentist to facilitate emergence of this important tooth.
The most common scenario will call for the orthodontist or dentist to place braces on your teeth to open space that provides room for the impacted tooth to be moved into its proper position. Once the space is ready, the orthodontist or dentist will refer the patient to Dr. Davis to have the impacted eye tooth exposed and bracketed.
In a simple surgical procedure, the gum on top of the impacted tooth will be lifted up to expose the hidden tooth underneath. Once the tooth is exposed, the Dr. Davis bonds an orthodontic bracket to the exposed tooth that has a miniature gold chain attached to it. The chain is then ligated to your braces using a fine wire or stitch. To conclude, Dr. Davis will either leave the impacted tooth completely exposed or re-cover the tooth by returning the gum to its original position.
Shortly after surgery your orthodontist or dentist will attach a spring or elastic to the chain, which applies a light eruptive pulling force on the impacted tooth. This starts the process of moving the tooth into its proper place in the dental arch. This is a carefully controlled process that may take several months to complete.