Oral Surgery Services
Humans have two upper (maxillary) canines and two lower (mandibular) canines. Canine teeth are sometimes referred to as cuspids, fangs, or “eye teeth” because of their direct positioning beneath the eyes. Canine teeth have thicker and more conical roots than incisors and thus have an especially firm connection to the jaw. Canine teeth often have the longest root of all teeth in the human mouth and the last to fully erupt and fall into place, often around age 13.
An impacted tooth essentially means that it is blocked, stuck, or unable to fully erupt and function properly. Third molars (wisdom teeth) most commonly fall victim to impaction, but the upper canine is the second most common tooth to become impacted. Wisdom teeth serve no important function in the mouth and are frequently removed; however, impacted canines are critical to the bite and require treatment for the following reasons:
- Closing gaps – Canines are the last of the front teeth to fall into place and therefore close any unsightly gaps between the other upper teeth.
- First touch – Canines play a vital role in the “biting” mechanism of the teeth. They touch first when the jaw closes, and guide the other teeth into position.
- Proper alignment & function – Canine teeth are essential to the correct alignment and function of the other teeth on the dental arch. Missing or impacted canines can greatly affect the function and aesthetic appearance of the smile.
What Causes Canine Teeth to Become Impacted?
There are several main causes for impacted canine teeth:
Early and thorough examination of the teeth can pre-empt problems with impacted canines. It is important for the dentist to document the number of teeth present when the patient is around 7 years of age in order to record the presence or absence of canine teeth. The older the patient becomes, the less likely it is that an impacted canine tooth will erupt naturally. If canine teeth are missing or very slow in fully erupting, the dentist can make recommendations for proper treatment.
Dr. Amin will initially conduct a thorough visual examination of the teeth, accompanied by a panorex x-ray and/or individual x-rays. Once the cause of the impaction has been determined, there will be several treatment options available depending upon the age of the patient. The objective is to aid the eruption of the impacted canines.
What Does the Treatment of Impacted Canines Involve?
If your mouth is overcrowded for any reason, then we may recommend extraction of teeth. The extraction will generally be performed under sedation in our office in Burbank. The un-erupted canine will then be exposed by lifting the gum and guiding it into place using a special bracket.
In the case of younger patients, an orthodontic brace may be fitted to create a space on the dental arch for the impacted canine.
Oral Surgery Services