Canine exposures are necessary when:
- One or two of the teeth “get stuck” in the jaw bone and do not erupt into the mouth. This can make it difficult for an orthodontist to straighten the teeth and correct the bite
- Impacted teeth can damage roots of the surrounding healthy teeth
- Cysts or pathology develops around the impacted tooth
The canine exposure procedure “exposes” the impacted tooth making it more accessible to the orthodontist. Any tooth can become impacted, but the majority of the cases involve the wisdom teeth and the canine teeth. Unlike the wisdom teeth, the canines are critical for function and are necessary to complete an esthetically pleasing smile.
Impacted teeth are sometimes obvious to the naked eye, but in most instances an x-ray is necessary to identify the extent of the impaction. The technology in our office allows us to obtain a focused CT image of the area. This is a great asset to the surgeon and greatly decreases surgery time and time under anesthesia. After the location of the impacted tooth is determined, the procedure is quite simple. A small hole is created in the gum, allowing the tooth to erupt. In some cases, an orthodontic brace is placed to guide the tooth into its correct position.