Oral Surgery for Orthodontics
Many patients are referred to our practice by area orthodontists. The orthodontists will ask Dr. Abel to perform surgical procedures that will allow them to properly align the patient’s teeth. Sometimes this is as simple as removing some retained primary (“baby”) teeth. Other times, Dr. Abel may be asked to remove some permanent bicuspids to create space if there is crowding, or to remove wisdom teeth, often 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 that covers any teeth embedded in the bone so that an orthodontic bracket may be placed. This will provide the orthodontist access to the embedded tooth so that the orthodontist can apply controlled forces in order to bring the tooth into its proper position.
Certain situations will require the use of skeletal anchorage, which is surgical insertion of small titanium screws into either the upper or lower jaw bones. These anchorage screws will protrude somewhat through the gum tissue. The orthodontists will then apply 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 removed.
Sometimes orthodontists will request simple soft tissue procedures like frenectomies, which entail 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.