Exposure and Bracketing

brackets on teeth

When primary teeth ( baby teeth) are lost, in most cases there is normal eruption of adult or secondary teeth. Occasionally an adult tooth has insufficient room to erupt into the mouth or forms at an angle that doesn’t allow it to erupt properly. When this occurs the tooth is said to be impacted.

The teeth that most commonly become impacted are the third molars (wisdom teeth). The treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is usually removal. However, other teeth in the mouth, which are more important to oral function, can also become impacted. Of these teeth the most common are the upper canines (eye teeth). To save these teeth and bring them into a normal position in the mouth, we can work in conjunction with your orthodontist to expose the teeth and slowly guide them into position.

The procedure is done by making a small incision to uncover the impacted tooth. An orthodontic bracket is then bonded to the tooth and a gold or elastic chain is attached to the bracket. Sutures are then placed to reposition the gum tissue. Your orthodontist will already have placed braces on the other teeth. He/she will attach the chain to the existing orthodontic wire and will intermittently tighten it to guide the impacted tooth into the mouth. This process usually takes several months. Recovery from this procedure is usually uneventful with mild discomfort and swelling.