What Are Impacted Canines?
After wisdom teeth, canines are the most commonly impacted teeth. Canine impaction occurs when a canine tooth stays in your jawbone instead of erupting normally like your other teeth.
Unlike wisdom teeth, which serve very little purpose, canines play a very important role in the function of your smile. Because they are longer than the rest of your teeth, they determine the alignment of your bite, allow you to properly bite into food, and are highly visible at the front of your smile. If you or your child's canines do not erupt normally around age 13, it is time to see an oral surgeon.
Most patients do not notice that their canines are impacted until they visit a dentist, who can diagnose the condition with x-rays. These x-rays will also reveal whether there are any extra teeth, missing teeth, or unusual growths stopping the canine from erupting.
Causes and Risk Factors
Although there is no definite cause of impacted canines, there are several factors that can increase your risk, including:
- Crowding: If your smile is too crowded at the front of the jaw, the canines will not have the room they need to erupt.
- Extra teeth: If you suffer from hyperdontia, a condition that causes extra teeth to grow in your jaw, these extra teeth can block your canine teeth from erupting.
- Baby teeth: When baby teeth do not fall out in time, canines can become trapped inside of the gum tissue.
We can determine the cause of your impacted tooth and explain your treatment options during your consultation.
Getting your impacted canines treated can allow you to achieve a straighter, more symmetrical smile as well as improve your self-confidence.
The Treatment Process
Choosing to leave an impacted canine untreated can leave a gap where the tooth should be, making you feel self-conscious, as well as interfering with your ability to break down your food. It can also trigger infection and cause damage to surrounding tooth roots. For this reason, most oral surgeons recommend undergoing treatment for an impacted canine.
This option is a more conservative alternative and a great choice for patients who want to preserve their natural tooth. During this treatment, we will create an incision in the gums to surgically expose the impacted tooth. An orthodontic bracket will then be bonded to the surgically exposed canine and a chain attached. Over the course of a few months, the combined pressure of the bracket and chain will move the canine into its desired place.
A surgical extraction can also eliminate the risk of infection and other symptoms of an impacted tooth. The patient must be healthy enough to undergo oral surgery. Afterward, we recommend filling the space left behind with a dental implant and implant-supported dental crown.
To make your procedure more comfortable, we offer various sedation options including powerful intravenous (IV) sedation administered by our certified nurse anesthetist.
If you elect to forego treatment at the time of your diagnosis, you should visit our practice every six months so that we can ensure that there are no pathological changes.
Call Us Today
Getting your impacted canines treated can allow you to achieve a straighter, more symmetrical smile as well as improve your self-confidence. At Oral Surgery Associates, we offer diverse treatment options to suit your needs. To learn more, request a consultation online or call our Monroe office at (318) 388-2621.