Pediatric Surgery

Exposure of Unerupted Teeth

Dr. Lamb performs a full range of pediatric oral surgery procedures ranging from simple extractions to surgical exposure and bonding for impacted teeth. Apart from the removal of teeth, the most common pediatric procedure he performs is surgical exposure of unerupted (or impacted) teeth. Impacted teeth are simply those that cannot properly erupt into the mouth. The most common example of this is wisdom teeth, which frequently do not have enough room in the mouth to erupt, are not functionally needed and must be removed in order to prevent long term oral health problems. The second most common type of impacted teeth are canine, or eye teeth, which are very important for a functional bite.

Surgical exposure of these teeth is most commonly performed in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. The surgical procedure is relatively simple and is usually performed with intravenous sedation. Dr. Lamb will work closely with your orthodontist to develop the best treatment plan for you.

The operation involves lifting and displacing or removing the portion of gum that is covering the impacted tooth, thereby leaving it exposed in the mouth. Since the baby teeth frequently remain in place during orthodontic treatment until one is ready for the tooth exposure, the baby tooth may need to be extracted at this time as well. If the impacted tooth is not too poorly aligned, then the exposure may be all that is needed. In most cases, however, a bracket will need to be glued to the impacted tooth in order to facilitate its eruption and proper alignment. This step involves attaching a bracket connected to a small chain to the impacted tooth. The chain is then temporarily attached to the orthodontic arch wire of the braces. Your orthodontist will use the chain and braces to achieve proper alignment of the impacted tooth together with the rest of the adult teeth.