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Braces for Impacted Teeth: Orthodontic Treatment Options

By Kellyn Hodges on December 09, 2014

A teenage girl outdoors smilingAn impacted tooth refers to a tooth that grows in after it was intended to. This may mean a gap between teeth as the impacted tooth awaits grown into its spot. In some cases, the tooth remains impacted and the patient's dental arch shifts to compensate for the gap, crowding the impacted tooth out of place.

Dr. Kellyn Hodges has helped numerous patients deal with these kinds of orthodontic issues at her practices in the Philadelphia area. Treating an impacted tooth often involves braces and other advanced orthodontic solutions as well as oral surgery. Let's take a moment to consider these issues right now.

What causes impacted teeth?

The most common causes of tooth impaction tends to be inadequate space for the tooth to emerge, which keeps it outside of its intended spot in the dental arch.

Examples of Impacted Teeth

Most people think of wisdom teeth when they think of impaction, but we want to focus on the main permanent teeth that come in by the time children reach adolescence.

One of the most common kinds of impacted teeth are the canines. These are the sharp/pointed teeth on either side of your incisors (the front teeth). If they are impacted, the upper canines tend to emerge along the upper portion of the gums above your other teeth; the lower canines tend to emerge on the insides of the floor of your mouth below the teeth.

Dangers of Leaving Impacted Teeth In Place

Impacted teeth can be painful and unsightly, often making people feel self-conscious about their smile.

Apart from the teeth themselves, an impacted canine can result in major spacing issues and functional issues. Gaps between incisors tend to be larger because of the lack of canines in their proper space. The nature of a patient's bite is changed as well since greater stress is placed on your other teeth.

When should patients be checked out for impacted teeth?

Ideally, patients should be checked for impacted teeth around age 6 or age 7. A good pediatric/family dentist will be able to note the impacted teeth through dental x-rays and refer the child to an orthodontist so that the matter can be addressed.

A Combination of Braces and Oral Surgery

In order to address an impacted tooth, the most common solution is to combine oral surgery and braces. Braces will be placed first on the patients teeth, with a gap left behind for the impacted tooth. An oral surgeon will then expose the impacted tooth and attach a chain or bracket to it so it can be trained into place.

The exact process will be discussed in more detail during your consultation with your orthodontist and your oral surgeon.

Treatment at an Early Age Is Easier Than Treatment In Adults

If adult patients already have impacted teeth that were untreated when they were young, treatment through braces and oral surgery is possible, though it will take longer and be more difficult. There is also a chance that treatment may not be successful in adults whereas treating impacted teeth in young patients is always successful save for very rare instances.

The reason that adult treatment is more difficult is that adult's teeth have full matured and it is more difficult to alter the shape of the dental arch. Since children are still growing and developing, the treatment is easier to implement and requires less time to be effective.

This is why getting good orthodontic treatment as a child is always worth it. A healthy smile at a young age means better dental health and fewer difficulties in the long run.

Schedule a Consultation at the Practice of Kellyn Hodges, D.M.D.

For more information about orthodontic care and what you can do to enhance your overall dental health, be sure to contact our center for orthodontics today. Dr. Hodges and the entire team look forward to meeting with you in person and helping you get a smile that's healthy and beautiful.

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