Does Your Child Have Impacted Canines?

Impacted canines — cuspid teeth that are unable to properly erupt — typically require the attention of an oral surgeon.

You’ve probably heard of impacted wisdom teeth, and maybe you were unfortunate enough to experience the problem firsthand. The canines, also known as the eye teeth, can also become stuck in the gums. But unlike the wisdom teeth, extraction is not the solution.

impacted canines

Your child’s dentist can tell you if their canines are impacted. If that happens, it’s time to give our office a call.

The Role of the Canine Teeth

The cuspids play a crucial role in bite and tooth alignment, so dental professionals make every effort to help impacted canines grow in properly.

The canines are the last of the front teeth to erupt, usually coming in at about 13 years. They serve to close the gaps and guide the other front teeth into alignment, and they play a large role in biting and tearing food.

Consequently, healthy canine teeth are fundamental to your child’s dental arch.

Why Impacted Canines Need Treatment

Having the canines in the proper position is essential for a strong bite.

So if impacted canines become stuck in the middle of the bone or pushed to the front or back of the dental arch, treatment is necessary to expose and move the cuspids into their proper positions.

Without treatment, patients can experience problems with other teeth, as well as difficulties biting and chewing food. In addition, without the canines in place, the balance of the patient’s smile is affected — which, for many children, can lead to peer teasing and self-consciousness.

How Are Impacted Canines Treated?

Treatment for impacted canine teeth is typically a team effort, potentially involving a dentist, an oral surgeon and an orthodontist.

Many patients begin with a visit to the orthodontist. Braces on the upper teeth may be required to keep teeth correctly positioned, and to leave room for the canines to emerge properly.

If overcrowding is an issue, the oral surgeon may need to extract some teeth to make room in the dental arch. And if the canines are fully encased in the gums, oral surgery may be needed to create an opening in the gum tissues for the teeth to emerge.

Once the adult canines are exposed — which may require removal of the baby teeth — orthodontic brackets are bonded to the teeth. Then orthodontia can continue as necessary. Over the next several months, the impacted canines are gradually guided into their proper position.

The combined efforts of an oral surgeon and an orthodontist can give your child a beautiful, perfectly aligned smile. Don’t put off treatment, as delays can result in complications. If your child has impacted teeth, schedule a consultation with the experienced professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to learn more about treating your child’s impacted canines.