Exposure of Teeth or Orthodontic Exposures
If you are having your teeth straightened by an orthodontist you may be sent for an exposure.
An exposure of a tooth is a very simple procedure. It is on par to having a filling and is normally carried out while you are awake. The area is simply numbed with a dental injection. If desired you can be asleep under light sedation.
Why are teeth exposed?
When you have braces placed on your teeth your dentist or orthodontist has to glue a small metal bracket to each tooth. He or she then connects all the teeth with a wire and straightens your teeth.
Many teeth, especially your eye or canine teeth do not grow through your gum to emerge into your mouth. This is very common.
When a tooth is buried below the gum it is not possible for a dentist or orthodontist to attach train tracks as there is simply some gum in the way. Therefore the tooth must be exposed. The gum must be taken from over the tooth so the tooth is exposed in the mouth.
What does Exposure of teeth involve?
It involves lifting the gum from over the tooth, cleaning and drying the tooth and gluing a small gold chain (similar to a safety chain on lady’s watch) to the tooth. This the orthodontist to pull the tooth into the mouth.
A small hole is made in the gum allowing you to see the tooth. The hole is left open and you are asked to keep this tooth clean with cotton buds soaked in warm salty water until your orthodontist glues a brace to the tooth.
A small hole may be made which is filled with a small bandage. The bandage is similar to chewing gum which is placed over the tooth. The gum is allowed to heal around the bandage and after 10 days or so your orthodontist will remove the pack. They can now see the tooth and attach a brace to draw your tooth down into your mouth.
After your tooth is exposed you should see your orthodontist within 10 days to 2 weeks to have your braces fitted.
Are there unwanted effects of the procedure?
There are always side effects which accompany every procedure and include some swelling, soreness and slight bleeding.
Any retained baby teeth may have to be removed at this time. This will leave you with a gap in your smile until the adult tooth erupts.
The decision to exposure an eye-teeth is a decision that can only be made by you. Please ensure that you understand the procedure and have asked any questions that you require before agreeing to under-go any procedure.
As always if this procedure sounds uncomfortable you can be sedated for the duration of the procedure.