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A retrospective analysis of the patient journey for children with an unerupted maxillary central incisor.

BACKGROUND: Maxillary central incisors (MCI) are the third most impacted teeth. Timely multidisciplinary management is indicated as unerupted incisors can cause functional- and appearance-related distress.

AIM: To assess the patient journey for children with unerupted MCI, including referral, clinical assessment, surgical management and follow-up treatment, and highlight areas for improvement, as well as identify factors impacting orthodontic treatment burden (OTB).

DESIGN: A retrospective service evaluation of children aged 6-16 years who had surgical management of unerupted MCI under general anaesthetic (GA) between 2018 and 2021.

RESULTS: Fifty-two children with 62 unerupted MCI were identified. Mean age at referral was 8.8 years. Most children (82.7%) had supernumerary teeth in the anterior maxilla. Mean time between listing for GA and surgery increased from 4.3 to 15.2 months following the COVID-19 lockdown. Mean age at surgery was 10.4 years. Supernumerary removal and incisor exposure and bond was the most common treatment (56.6%). Most patients required hospital orthodontic treatment post-surgery (65.4%).

CONCLUSION: Most children referred were below 9 years (60.1%); these children had reduced OTB compared to those who had been referred at an older age. Stage of root development was also a significant predictor in OTB. An unexpected finding was that conical supernumeraries were found to prevent MCI eruption.

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