Laser Exposure for an Unerupted or Impacted Tooth
Why: When a tooth fails to erupt through the gum tissue, it may be stuck – or impacted. If you have an impacted tooth, Dr. Hammer might recommend using our laser during your orthodontic treatment. The laser removes a small amount of gingival (gum) tissue covering the tooth which then allows us to add a bracket or attachment to it to help guide it into place with your braces.
Another reason we may recommend laser use would be removal of excess gingival (gum) tissue covering the tooth through a procedure called a gingivectomy. (Video shown below.) This can help to enhance smile esthetics when the anterior teeth appear shorter due to bulbous or excessive gum tissues.
What to Expect: The laser portion of the procedure usually only takes a few minutes for Dr. Hammer to complete. We will use a numbing anesthetic during the procedure to help with comfort. Because of the numbing, the quick procedure is painless. The worst part is usually a slight burning smell as the tissue covering the tooth is removed. The numbness should only last a few hours and once it wears off, you can expect a little bit of soreness as the tissue heals and the tooth begins to move. Some patients compare the soreness to burning the roof of your mouth with pizza or hot chocolate. There should be minimal to no bleeding during or after this procedure as the tissue is cauterized. Healing usually happens very quickly and without complication.
- Please do not eat anything until the local anesthesia wears off to avoid biting your lips, cheek or tongue.
- You will have some discomfort when the anesthesia wears off. Non-aspirin over the counter (OTC) pain medication(s) such as Advil and Tylenol are most effective at treating this discomfort over the next few days.
- Slight swelling in the treated area is not unusual.
- You may experience some tooth sensitivity after the procedure, especially to cold.
- Minor bleeding, such as a pinkish tinge to your saliva, may occur during the first 48 hours following this procedure.
- Eating/Diet: Please avoid extremely hot foods for the rest of the day. Please take care to avoid the treated area while chewing. Avoid sticky, hard, brittle, spicy, high seasoned or acidic foods in your diet. We ask that you please avoid spicy and salty foods for 24 hours after the procedure as we don’t want you to irritate the site.
- Maintain normal oral hygiene practices in the areas of your mouth not affected by the laser procedure. Avoid brushing and flossing the treated area for the first 24 hours. After the initial 24 hours, please keep the area clean by softly brushing it with a soft bristle toothbrush and light pressure while brushing your teeth.
- At 48 hours, puncture the Vitamin E capsule we provide you using a clean safety pin. Apply a small amount to the treated area with a “dabbing” or “blotting” motion using a cotton tipped applicator (Q-tip). Do not use a “swiping” or “rubbing” motion on the treated tissue. Continue applying Vitamin E in this manner 2-3 times per day until you have used all of the Vitamin E.
- Please do not play with the treated area with your fingers or tongue.
- Avoid smoking during the 7-14 days following your laser procedure.
How Long: It may only take a few weeks for the tooth to erupt into the mouth.
Please call us at (218) 520-1964 if you have any concerns following your laser procedure.