What do we love about orthodontics? Well, being able to make a positive impact on our patients’ lives is one thing. Recently, we treated Yoana, a teenager with impacted teeth.
What is an impacted tooth?
An impacted tooth is one that is unable to push through the gums in your mouth (erupt). It is quite common for wisdom teeth to be impacted.
The battle of the teeth
In Yoana’s case, her eye tooth (canine in upper jaw) had collided with her side-front tooth, knocking it off course. As a result, her teeth were pretty crooked.
Though impacted teeth are often not painful, as in Yoana’s case, the tooth that gets bumped into can get damaged. Also, because they are sometimes difficult to clean, impacted teeth are prone to decay.
The first step was to get a clear picture of what was going on. So, we sent Yoana to see an oral surgeon for imaging.
The surgeon took a set of three-dimensional radiographs using a special kind of x-ray equipment called Cone Beam CT. The radiation level is low with this type of x-ray, much lower than medical grade.
As orthodontists, we’re used to studying two-dimensional images and then interpreting them in three dimensions. Patients, though, are not, so seeing three-dimensional images makes it much easier for them to understand the issues.
To save or not to save?
We had to decide whether the side-front tooth was salvageable. However, because it was so far off course, it became apparent that it wasn’t.
So, we sent Yoana to a dental surgeon to have the tooth removed. Of course, we also had to bring her eye tooth back into her smile. So, while removing Yoana’s side-front tooth, the surgeon also attached a small gold chain to her eye tooth.
Now, this gold chain wasn’t a new kind of ‘dental bling;’ it served a practical purpose. When Yoana returned to our clinic, we fitted a dental appliance to her teeth. We then attached the gold chain to the appliance in order to pull the eye tooth into the correct position over time.
A perfect smile
How your teeth look is important, particularly if you are a teenaged girl, like Yoana. Having nice, straight teeth gives you confidence; it helps you feel good about yourself. So, after 18 months of treatment, we’re happy to say that Yoana’s now has a perfect smile.