Impacted Canine Teeth
Canine teeth in humans are the slightly pointed teeth that sit on each side of the incisors at the front of the mouth. There is evidence that early hominids may have found those four sharp teeth at the corners of the jaws a handy weapon for catching prey and competing for mates.
While this is no longer the case, canine teeth are still an important part of your functional teeth. The canine tooth is the second most common tooth to become impacted and is a critical tooth in the dental arch and plays an important role in your bite and esthetics. They are designed to be the teeth that touch when your jaws move to each side so they guide the rest of the teeth into the proper bite.
Most times, canine teeth grow into our smile naturally and without error. There are cases, however, when a canine tooth becomes stuck and cannot erupt into the correct position. This is called an impacted canine tooth. Without treatment, these impacted teeth can cause problems such as improper eruption of nearby teeth, cyst formation, possible infection, or other negative changes in the jaw. Fortunately, visiting a team comprising an orthodontist and an oral surgeon can fix the impacted tooth and keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
Causes of Impacted Canine Teeth
The causes behind impacted canines can be a variety of reasons, which can include:
- Overcrowding of existing teeth
- Tooth growing incorrectly or in the wrong direction
- Cysts or abnormal growths found in the jaw bones
- Ankylosed teeth which is the fusion of the tooth to the encompassing bone
- Extra teeth found in the mouth impeding the eruption of the canine tooth
Usually, this kind of issue is spotted early with regular and frequent exams at the dentist and panoramic x-rays. Identifying the problem is key so that your dentist can then recommend action to be taken to correct the position and/or angulation of the impacted tooth.
Options and Treatment
In order to determine the correct treatment for you, your oral surgeon will examine your teeth and utilize radiographs to determine the position of the impacted tooth as well as the condition of your gums.
At Northwest Oral Surgery, the techniques involved to aid eruption can be applied to any impacted tooth in the upper or lower jaw, but most commonly they are applied to the maxillary canine (upper) tooth. Sixty percent of these impacted eye teeth are located on the palatal (roof of the mouth) side of the dental arch. The remaining impacted teeth are found in the middle of the supporting bone but stuck in an elevated position above the roots of the adjacent teeth or out to the facial side of the dental arch.
One of the treatment options is to surgically expose the tooth to guide it to the right position in your jaw. In many cases, you will need to have space created in your jaw through orthodontics prior to the surgical treatment. Often your orthodontist and oral surgeon work together to achieve results.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
Catching an impacted canine tooth problem early gives a patient the best possible outcome. Frequent dental visits and high-quality dentistry will find these issues with plenty of time to take corrective action that will benefit your smile.
To find out more about your child's teeth or a potentially impacted canine problem for yourself, the Board-Certified Surgeons at Northwest Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery can help you.