Exposure of Impacted Teeth

What is an impacted tooth?

An impacted tooth simply means that it is “stuck” and cannot erupt into function. Patients frequently develop problems with impacted third molar (wisdom) teeth. These teeth get “stuck” in the back of the jaw and can develop painful infections, among a host of other problems (see Wisdom Teeth under Procedures). Since there is rarely a functional need for wisdom teeth, they are usually extracted if they develop problems. The maxillary cuspid (upper eyetooth) is the second most common tooth to become impacted. The cuspid tooth is a critical tooth and plays an important role in your “bite”. The cuspid teeth are very strong biting teeth and have the longest roots of any human teeth. They are designed to be the first teeth that touch when your jaws close together so they guide the rest of the teeth into the proper bite.

Normally, the maxillary cuspid teeth are the last of the “front” teeth to erupt into place. They usually come into place around age 13 and cause any space left between the upper front teeth to close tighter together. If a cuspid tooth gets impacted, every effort is made to get it to erupt into its proper position. The techniques involved to aid eruption can be applied to any impacted tooth in the upper or lower jaw, but most commonly they are applied to the maxillary cuspid (upper eye) teeth. Sixty percent of these impacted eyeteeth are located on the palatal (roof of the mouth) side of the dental arch. The remaining impacted eye teeth are found in the middle of the supporting bone, but are stuck in an elevated position above the roots of the adjacent teeth, or are out to the facial side of the dental arch.

Early Recognition of Impacted Eyeteeth Is the Key to Successful Treatment

The older the patient the more likely an impacted eyetooth will not erupt by natural forces alone, even if the space is available for the tooth to fit in the dental arch. A panoramic x-ray, along with a dental examination, will help determine whether all the adult teeth are present or if some adult teeth are missing.

Treatment may require referral to an oral surgeon for extraction of over-retained baby teeth and/or selected adult teeth that are blocking the eruption of the all-important eyeteeth. The oral surgeon will also need to remove any extra teeth (supernumerary teeth) or growths that are blocking the eruption of any adult teeth.

Impacted tooth success by patient’s age:

  • 11-12 years old – with space opened for eruption, good chance for success.
  • 13-14 years old – the impacted eyetooth will not erupt by itself, even with the space cleared for its eruption.
  • Over 40 years old – much higher chance that the tooth will be fused in position. The only option is to extract the impacted tooth and replace it with a crown on a dental implant or a fixed bridge.

What happens if the eyetooth will not erupt when proper space is available?

In cases where the eyeteeth will not erupt spontaneously, the orthodontist and oral surgeon will work together to get these teeth to erupt. Each case must be evaluated on an individual basis, but treatment will usually involve a combined effort between the orthodontist and the oral surgeon. The oral surgeon will expose and bracket the impacted eyetooth.

The goal is to erupt the impacted tooth and not to extract it. Once the tooth has moved into its final position, the gum around it will be evaluated. In some circumstances, there may be some minor “gum surgery” required.


Exposure and Bracketing of an Impacted Cuspid


What to expect from surgery to expose & bracket an impacted tooth

The surgery to expose and bracket an impacted tooth is a very straightforward surgical procedure that is performed in the oral surgeon’s office. For most patients, it is performed using laughing gas and local anesthesia. In selected cases it will be performed under IV sedation if the patient desires to be asleep, but this is generally not necessary for this procedure. If the procedure only requires exposing the tooth with no bracketing, the time required will be shortened by about one half. These issues will be discussed in detail at your preoperative consultation with your doctor.

Refer to Preoperative Instructions under Surgical Instructions on this website for a review of any details. Simply call Northern Colorado Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Northern Colorado Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Phone Number 970-221-4633 if you have any questions.

Northern Colorado Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

5 out of 5 stars based on 14 Exposure of Impacted Teeth reviews

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

As I stated above, this was overall our best experience to date. Everyone from the person who greeted you when you came in, to the nurse and doctor, everyone was professional yet very friendly.

- Melissa H

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I had 2 surgeries to remove tori from my mouth. My dentist recommended using their "traveling" oral surgeon, but I wasn't comfortable with the process. I made an appointment with Dr. Robertson for a consultation after looking at reviews online, and he instantly eased my anxiety. Both surgeries went exceedingly well with minimal post op discomfort. Dr. Robertson even called personally to check on me several hours after both surgeries. I highly recommend Dr. Robertson and his entire staff (especially Julie and Javier).

- Laurie H

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Very impressed with Dr. Robertson and staff. I felt welcome and comfortable. Highly recommended!

- John D

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Excellent surgeon and staff. Everyone was super friendly and accomadating. The process was also super easy, had my surgery within a week of my first appointment and the pain from my tooth impaction was easily worse than the recovery so they did a great job. Would definitely recommend this practice!

- Andrew W

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Great people

- Susan B

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Easy procedure, handled very easily for me. Made the process feel like nothing and quick recovery

- Grant H

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My experience was smooth, well coordinated, and comfortable even despite the last minute nature of my visit. I would absolutely recommend this team!

- Eryn H

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Everyone has been fantastic. Made me feel comfortable even when I was nervous. They took the time to explain in detail and answer all my questions. While I don't intend on doing his often, I would come back and recommend them to everyone.

- Brandon H

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Cool guys

- Jacobo T A

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Procedure went well, everything else went well. I am pleased with my choice of surgeon. I had four bony impacted teeth which is a little riskier. Was able return to work on 3rd day after surgery.

- Emily H

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Love everything about this place! They were so helpful with my questions about payment, procedure, and aftercare. They eased my worries, and my surgeon was stellar!

- Cheyanne H

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Got me right in and got this procedure done, I am thankful for that because I was in alot of pain. Everyone is super friendly and very professional. Couldn't have asked for a better experience. Thanks a Bunch

- Jason N

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Dr. Robertson is a wonderful person and very smart! The staff was easy and nice to work with. I would highly recommend this office to everyone!

- Nikki B

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I was referred to Dr. Roberson through my dentist’s office. My hygienist made the recommendation. I am thankful that I was referred to him. He’s a wonderful person, and by my measure, a very skilled surgeon. His bedside or chair-side manner puts you at ease. He will address any concerns, answer questions and help you understand your procedure. At whatever level you’re comfortable with, he will break it down for you, help you understand what to expect of your procedure and the recovery period. I believe his skill is best demonstrated by how I felt the day after my procedure. My procedure was to remove mandibular Tori. My recovery, following Dr. Robertson’s instructions, was fairly painless and I returned to a daily routine quickly. The office and surgical staff is knowledgeable and friendly, helping you feel welcome and relaxed as you can be when considering dental surgery. I would recommend Dr. Robertson as an excellent Oral Surgeon to anyone needing dental surgery.

- Richard R

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