Treating Impacted Canine Teeth

What is an impacted tooth?

An impacted tooth is a tooth that is unable to functionally erupt. Most patients are familiar with impacted wisdom teeth, but are probably unaware of the problems that can occur if upper cuspid canine teeth are impacted as well. Because wisdom teeth have no real purpose, most individuals who have wisdom teeth get them extracted. On the other hand, canine teeth serve a purpose and are vital to your mouth’s formation.

Functionality of Canine Teeth

Canine TeethCanine teeth are crucial in forming a proper dental arch and “bite.” The canine teeth are considered your strongest teeth because they have the longest roots. Canine teeth are meant to align your bite properly as they are the first teeth that touch when your jaw closes. Canine teeth usually come into place around age 13, however impacted canines can be detected by x-rays in people as young as 7 years old.

Early Detection Means Successful Treatment

In an effort for impacted canine teeth to erupt naturally, it is important to detect them early on. When a patient is around 7 years old, it is necessary that a dentist take x-rays to determine if there are any problems with the count, placement, or eruption of their adult teeth. If problems are detected, your dentist will likely refer you to an orthodontist for braces, or a maxillofacial surgeon.

A maxillofacial surgeon will become involved if baby teeth or adult teeth are blocking the canine from breaking through the gums. Here at Davis Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center, we uncover impacted canines and place an attachment, or chain, on the tooth to permit the orthodontic movement of impacted teeth into place. In some instances, by the age of 11 or 12 years old it is possible that impacted canine teeth will erupt by themselves (without the chained attachment), only if an oral surgeon was previously able to clear a pathway in the child’s mouth.

If your impacted canines are not detected early on, the only thing that can be done is to extract the impacted tooth altogether and consider an alternative treatment plan, like getting dental implants to complete your dental arch.

Surgery Expectations

The surgery to uncover and bracket the upper cuspid canine tooth is a very routine procedure that is performed right in our office. The procedure will generally take less than an hour and will be done while under sedation. The healing process is relatively fast – you can expect to be eating normal solid foods within 3-4 days post-surgery. We will provide you with any necessary pain medications and prescriptions that you may need following the surgery.

If you’re looking to treat your impacted canine teeth and you live in the Raleigh area, schedule an evaluation with us via phone, 919-488-2194.