Impacted Tooth Exposure

A tooth that does not fully grow into the mouth or only partially grows into the mouth is said to be impacted. The most common impacted teeth are the wisdom teeth and the canines. Under normal circumstances, your teeth grow into your mouth by passing through the gums and emerging into their natural position. But sometimes, a tooth gets stuck and does not fully emerge into the mouth.

A tooth may become impacted for a variety of reasons, including

  • Overcrowding of the teeth in the mouth

  • The presence of extra teeth or the lack of normal adult teeth

  • Unusual pathological growths blocking the tooth’s proper eruption

  • Inability of the tooth to follow the normal growth track of adjacent teeth

It is important to diagnose and treat any impacted teeth early to avoid misalignment, which often results in costly dental or orthodontic treatments. To determine if a tooth is impacted, your doctor will perform a thorough oral exam and check for an unusual fullness of the gum tissue. If an impacted tooth is suspected, additional X-rays will be performed to confirm its presence.


One of the most common treatments for impacted canines is exposure and bonding, during which your orthodontist and oral surgeon work hand in hand to properly align the rest of the teeth for the impacted tooth to come in. The orthodontist prepares the mouth by moving the fully grown teeth into their correct position in the mouth, leaving room for the impacted tooth to grow into its natural position. Next, the oral surgeon will expose the impacted tooth by pushing the gum tissue back and removing bone overlying the tooth. Then, the oral surgeon will attach an orthodontic bracket with a very small chain to the tooth. The orthodontist then uses the chain to gently pull on the impacted tooth and, over time, move the tooth into its proper alignment within the mouth. Occasionally, the orthodontic bracket and chain may need to be repositioned by the oral surgeon to allow complete movement of the impacted tooth.

If you are in need of an exposure and bonding treatment for an impacted tooth, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule an initial consultation. Drs. Aiken and Shessel are board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons and look forward to caring for you.