The most common impacted tooth is the wisdom tooth which serves no specific function (i.e. It is not needed to fill gaps in the teeth nor for chewing) and most often an impacted wisdom tooth is simply removed from the mouth.
The next most common impacted tooth is the upper canine (maxillary cuspid), and this must be recognized very early to prevent problems. Parents are encouraged to have their children undergo a full mouth X-ray not later than age 7 to ensure that there is no problem with their ‘adult’ teeth being properly placed and not subject to impaction.
While each case of an impacted tooth is evaluated on a case by case basis, it is extremely important if your child has an impacted canine that treatment begins immediately. The older the child, the less likely it is that we can assist the canine in normal eruption. The procedure for the canine is known as ‘exposure and bracketing’ and is most effective when the child is about age 11. The procedure creates a location for the canine using various techniques which may include placing braces to allow a gap for the tooth to grow into.
The process to force eruption of the tooth may take upwards of a full year with the use of surgical procedures to place a chain around the tooth to encourage it to erupt on its own, since the goal is to have the tooth grow into its allocated spot, not to fall out.