Tooth exposure surgery helps ensure the correct eruption of teeth

Teeth may fail to erupt for a number of different reasons. The most common reason is that the tooth is being blocked from erupting by another tooth due to dental crowding. In some cases the baby tooth may not have fallen out, making it impossible for the adult tooth to erupt properly.

Choosing not to intervene in these cases can be detrimental to your health. This is especially true if the tooth forms a cyst around it, which becomes infected and can begin to erode other teeth in the area.

The tooth exposure surgery procedure

When a tooth is on the outside, your surgeon will roll the gum back to expose the tooth. Stitches will then be placed to hold it in position until the tooth erupts and brings the gum with it. However when the tooth is on the inside, the process is a little different. In this case, it may be necessary to remove a small piece of gum in order to expose the tooth.

Following this, your surgeon will place ”putty” like material over the area to keep it protected and the prevent the gum from growing back over the now exposed tooth. The putty will harden and can be safely removed during your follow-up appointment. The underlying gum should then be completely healed around the exposed tooth.

In the time between your surgery and when your gum has healed properly, some of the protective material may break away. There should be no cause for concern unless all of the material becomes loose.

The gum surrounding the exposed tooth may be sensitive after the material is removed, however, this should subside after a few days.

Tooth exposure surgery recovery

Depending on the specific case and how comfortable the patient is with the procedure, it may be completed under local or general anaesthetic. This may also depend on how long the procedure will take. If the tooth is buried quite deep, the procedure can take much longer than if the tooth is shallow. For this reason, general anaesthetic may be recommended during more complex cases, whilst local anaesthetic may be preferred for shallow teeth where the procedure can be quite quick.

Immediately following surgery, you will feel very minor levels of discomfort. You will be prescribed appropriate pain relief medication that can be taken in the days following surgery to manage any level of discomfort that does arise. In most cases, there will be very minor bruising and swelling, if any at all. Most patients find that they can go back to their day-to-day life within 24 hours after surgery.

A soft diet is recommended for the first few days after surgery as to avoid disturbing the site. Your surgeon will advise you on how to care for the area and the appropriate technique to brush your teeth during recovery.

Tooth exposure surgery at OMFS

If you have been referred for tooth exposure surgery, fill out our patient registration form here!


Tooth exposure surgery refers to a procedure which is performed in cases where a tooth has failed to erupt properly. Most often, the procedure is performed when a tooth has been blocked from erupting because of dental crowding, or when a baby tooth has not fallen out, preventing an adult  tooth from erupting. In many cases, a cyst can form around the tooth, leading to infection and damage to the surrounding teeth.

In cases where a tooth is on the outside, your surgeon will roll back the gum in order to expose the tooth. Stitches will be placed to keep the gum in position until the tooth erupts. When the tooth is on the inside, however, a small piece of the gum tissue is removed in order to expose the tooth. A special material will be placed over the area to protect and prevent the gum from growing over the exposed tooth.

It depends on the case — the tooth exposure procedure may be performed either under local or general anaesthetic. Generally, general anaesthetic is recommended in complex cases, while local anaesthetic is generally preferred in cases where the tooth is shallow and the procedure is quick.