Lessons Learned - An AAO Winter Conference Wrap Up

Dr. Yan Razdolsky attended the 2018 AAO/AAPD Joint Winter Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona last week. The three-day conference focused on early orthodontic treatment and how dental professionals can work together to produce excellent results. There were many topics for discussion including evidence-based treatments to assist in the diagnosis and management of dental trauma in both orthodontic and pediatric perspectives. But what was of great interest to Dr. Razdolsky at the conference was the discussion on Incipient Impaction and whether there is a foolproof preventative strategy.

Incipient Impaction, or early observation of impaction of the adult canines, is a frequently encountered problem affecting as many as 3 percent of the population. It is also one that often requires a treatment approach involving various dental professionals - the pediatric dentist or family dentist, orthodontist and sometimes a dental surgeon. However, surgical exposure of the impacted tooth and the complex orthodontic mechanisms that are required to then align the tooth into the arch can sometimes lead to damage to the tooth structures. So, it is worthwhile to explore early diagnosis and interceptive treatment for patients who have impacted canines. At the conference, speakers discussed the various ways to identify and treat patients with impacted canines starting with early detection.

“The importance of early treatment, as early as the age of 7, is crucial for the diagnosis of orthodontic issues such as impacted canines,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “An appropriate diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the impacted canines from complications like displacement of the surrounding teeth.”

Sometimes treatment is as simple as extraction of the deciduous canines, or “baby” canines as early as age 8 or 9. If there is enough space for the incoming canine to erupt or come out, then the orthodontist can help guide the permeant canine into place.

“The point here is that through early collaborative diagnosis and timely treatment by a patient’s dental team, we can sometimes see these teeth erupt more naturally,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This may mean less-invasive surgical treatments and we simply help guide them to their correct position in the arch of the mouth.”

By delaying diagnosis and treatment however, or in more severe cases, the impacted canine can cause complications that include displacement of the surrounding teeth, recurring infections, pain, damage to the neighboring teeth, or even a combination of these.

“This program really provided a very practical overview of the clinical and radiological clues dentists and orthodontists can look for,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “By using an evidence-based approach to find treatment options we can avoid costly or invasive procedures that can have a negative long-term impact on the patient.”

Dr. Razdolsky believes this particular conference, as a whole, offered valuable insights to dental professionals not only on treatment options for impacted teeth, but how to identify and treat some of the most severe orthodontic cases including trauma.

“Programs like this help me better serve my patients,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Through continuing education and then sharing of the information with my professional peers, we are able to collaborate better and produce more beautiful Forever Smiles for our patients.”