Impacted canine teeth are second only to wisdom teeth in their frequency of impaction. An impacted tooth is one that is stuck beneath or partway beneath the gumline and cannot move into its rightful place. Impaction can be painful and lead to a host of additional dental problems such as cysts and cavities. But an oral surgeon can help treat all types of impacted teeth, including impacted canine teeth.
Why Canines Are Key
The canines, often referred to as the “eye” teeth, play a key role for tooth and jaw health. They are some of the strongest biting teeth and they have the deepest roots of any other tooth. They are supposed to be the first teeth that touch when you close your mouth, designed to guide the rest of your teeth into the correct places.
The canines are usually the last to develop and fully come into position, usually around age 13. If there are any remaining gaps or spaces, the canines help the upper front teeth close snugly together.
While impacted wisdom teeth are typically removed, this is not the case with canines. It’s important that every possible effort is made to ensure they erupt and are positioned in the right spots. It’s key for the correct alignment of your bite and your other teeth.
What Causes Impacted Canine Teeth?
Why are canines out of place? The answer may differ in every patient.
If extra teeth are growing in the jaw, they might move the canines out of position. If other teeth in the jaw are out of alignment, this can lead to overcrowding. By the time the canines are about to come in, there is no room for them. In rarer cases, cysts or other growths in the mouth might interfere with their proper development.
How Is it Treated?
The initial treatment plan will likely involve extraction. The oral surgeon will remove any extra teeth that are getting in the way of proper canine development. This treatment option might be followed up or accompanied by orthodontic treatment for the teeth that are already in place. If a space is naturally cleared, the impacted canine teeth may correct on their own.
What if Extraction Doesn’t Work?
If extraction does not contribute to a solution, the next step is to expose and bracket the impacted tooth. The oral surgeon will lift the gums and attach an orthodontic bracket to the affected tooth. Once the patient heals from this surgery, the orthodontist will attach the bracket to the braces and over time, this method may slowly pull the tooth into position.
Early Intervention Offers Options
When it comes to treating this issue, timing is key. If the canines are allowed to develop until the patient reaches age 13 or 14, it’s unlikely that clearing a space will result in their erupting on their own. It is important to identify and treat this issue as early as possible for the best results from the least-intrusive treatment options.
Talk to Us
Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery can help with impacted canine teeth, working together with your orthodontist and dentist to create the full, healthy smile you envision. Come in for a consultation, and we’ll conduct a complete assessment, offering our best recommendations for successful treatment.