Oral Surgery for Orthodontics
Many patients are referred to our practice by area orthodontists. The orthodontists will request we perform surgical procedures that will then permit them to properly align the patient’s teeth. Sometimes, this is a simple as removing some retained primary (“baby”) teeth. Other times, we will be asked to remove some permanent premolars to create space if there is too much crowding, or removing wisdom teeth after the other teeth are orthodontically aligned so that the developing wisdom teeth don’t adversely affect the teeth in front of them.
In more involved cases, some permanent teeth may fail to erupt at the expected time. If this occurs, the orthodontist will request surgical exposure of an impacted tooth. This consists of removing the bone and gum tissue covering a tooth embedded in the bone so that an orthodontic bracket may be placed. This will provide the orthodontist access to that embedded tooth so that they can apply a force to it and bring it to its proper position.
In other instances, certain situations will dictate the use of skeletal anchorage. This consists of surgically inserting small titanium screws into either the upper or lower jaw bones. These anchorage screws will protrude somewhat through the gum tissue. Your orthodontists will then apply a force to a tooth by stretching an elastic or applying a spring between the bracket on the tooth and the top part of the anchorage screw. Once the desired tooth movement is achieved, the anchorage screws are simply removed.
Finally, simple soft tissue procedures like frenectomies are sometimes advised by the orthodontists. This entails removing the frenum, or muscle attachment and the thin layer of gum tissue covering the frenum, from under the under lip. This prevents relapse of a diastema (space between the two front teeth) once it has been orthodontically closed.