Impacted teeth are commonly thought to be an issue that only affects the wisdom teeth. While the wisdom teeth are the most common to be impacted, they are not the only ones that can face this issue. Impacted teeth are those that cannot properly erupt, or cannot erupt at all, though the gums. Your upper canines, also called maxillary canines or upper eyeteeth, are the second most likely to be faced with this issue. However, unlike the wisdom teeth, your canines play an integral role in your mouth. They have their unique roles beyond the roles played by your other teeth. If you are faced with impacted canines, Susquehanna Oral and Facial Surgery and Dental Implant Center can help.
Why are Canines So Important?
All of your teeth play many important roles in your mouth. Your maxillary canines have their unique responsibilities, including:
- Guiding your jaw into proper alignment when you bite down. The canines are the first to touch down when you bite, which helps your jawline up properly.
- Keeping your other teeth in proper alignment.
- Completing your smile. Your maxillary canines are the last of the adult teeth, except the wisdom teeth, to erupt. They typically erupt around the age of 13. Once they come in, your beautiful smile is completed.
What Causes Impacted Canines?
There are a few different reasons why the canines become impacted. These include:
- Overcrowding. Teeth often become overcrowded due to poor tooth alignment. When your mouth is overcrowded, there may not be enough room in your mouth for your canines to erupt.
- Extra teeth in the upper jaw. If you have extra teeth in your jaw, they can take up the space meant for your canines, preventing their eruption.
- Growths in your gum tissue. While rare, these growths can prevent the canines from coming in.
How are Impacted Canines Diagnosed?
Typically, it is recommended for a child to have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. This evaluation is performed to determine the presence, and predict the likelihood, of orthodontic issues, including impacted canines. The evaluation involves a visual exam and dental X-rays. X-rays are also essential in determining the presence of impacted canines in patients who are older. Once we have diagnosed impacted canines, we can create a customized treatment plan.
Exposing Impacted Canines
The way in which your canines are exposed depends upon your specific situation. For younger patients, canines can often be exposed without the need for surgery. Often, a special brace is placed that encourages the canines to erupt on their own. If surgery is needed, it is often because a tooth requires extraction.
The older you are, the less likely it becomes that your canines will come in on their own. As a result, surgery is needed to help expose them. Incisions are made in the gums to provide access to the impacted teeth. Next, a special bracket with a chain is affixed to their surfaces. The chain is then attached to existing orthodontic work, and a rubber band is used to apply pressure. The chain is periodically tightened, which helps to pull the impacted canines through the gums and into proper alignment.
By exposing your impacted canines, we not only help to complete your beautiful smile, but we also help to improve the functions of your mouth and your quality of life. Call Susquehanna Oral and Facial Surgery and Dental Implant Center at (570) 323-1900 today to schedule your consultation.