In some cases, a tooth is unable to come into position in the mouth due to a blockage of the growth path. This leaves the tooth partially or completely trapped beneath the gums, also known as impaction. Impaction can affect any tooth but is particularly common for wisdom teeth and canines.
Whether or not wisdom teeth are impacted, they are commonly recommended for removal; since canine teeth play a more important role in the function of mouth, treatment rather than removal is usually recommended.
A canine tooth that is impacted may have some symptoms or none at all. Common symptoms of impaction include:
Canine teeth are commonly impacted for many different reasons, such as baby teeth that block the growth path of the adult tooth, unusual growths, misalignment, or even extra teeth in the mouth. Your dentist can confirm an impacted tooth with an X-ray or CT scan. If your child’s canine tooth is impacted, an oral surgeon and orthodontist will work hand in hand to perform treatment. For most patients, early treatment to expose a canine tooth is recommended.
An orthodontist will perform the first step of treatment, which includes preparing the mouth with braces. Your orthodontist will use the braces to apply gentle and steady pressure to strategically move the surrounding teeth into their new positions and create a space for the impacted tooth. Dr. Nedbalski or Dr. Chai will perform a minor surgical procedure to expose the impacted tooth. An orthodontic bracket is bonded to the tooth, and the orthodontist will use the small chain attached to ensure the tooth grows into the right position in the mouth.
Your oral surgeon will discuss your options for anesthesia for the surgical procedure during your consultation. Many times, local anesthetic and IV sedation are used.
If your child has an impacted tooth and has been referred for treatment, we encourage you to call Boulder Oral Surgery. We have two practices located in Boulder and Longmont for our patients’ convenience. Our board-certified oral surgeons, Dr. Nedbalski and Dr. Chai, will create a treatment plan aimed to improve your child’s oral health.