When you are faced with impacted canines or any other teeth that have not completely erupted below the gum line into your mouth, you need the services of an oral surgeon.
What happens when teeth become impacted is that they get stuck in the jaw and cannot properly come into place. While wisdom teeth are the most likely candidates to become impacted, the maxillary canine teeth, also called the cuspid or upper eyeteeth, are the second most likely ones to become impacted.
Having the canine teeth in the proper place is important for your bite, as these teeth are strong biting teeth that are prepared for their role with long roots. When your jaws close together, they are the first teeth that touch, so they guide your other teeth into the proper position for biting. This makes them critical teeth in the dental arch. They are essential for gripping and tearing your food.
Detecting Impacted Canines
Most canines erupt by age 13, and after that happens, any spaces left between the other upper front teeth close together. Starting about age 7, the dentist will x-ray a young patient’s teeth to predict problems with the eruption of adult teeth, especially the canines; if there is a problem, he might even recommend braces or surgical extraction of baby teeth if he judges that they will block normal eruption of the canines.
After such procedures, which clear the “eruption path” for the canines, the canine or eyeteeth will develop properly and come into place without additional help. By age 13 or 14, if the canine has not erupted, the dentist may need to extract the tooth and replace it with the crown on a dental implant or a fixed bridge.
Bracketing Impacted Teeth
First, however, an oral surgeon works together with an orthodontist to try to help the canines erupt. Your orthodontist often will put braces on the upper teeth to get them into the proper position for the canine tooth to move into place in the dental arch. If a baby canine has not fallen out, it will be left in place until the adult canine is ready once the space is ready to accept the adult tooth, and the orthodontist will send the patient to an oral surgeon so that the impacted canine can be exposed and bracketed.
What this means is that the oral surgeon will lift up the gum on top of the impact to expose it. He will remove the baby tooth, if still present, and bond an orthodontic bracket to the exposed adult tooth. The bracket will have a tiny gold chain attached to it, which the surgeon will guide back to the orthodontic arch to which it will be temporarily attached. He will then move the gum back into place and suture it.
Bringing Down the Tooth
After this procedure, within 1 to 14 days, the patient will return to the orthodontist for a series of procedures that may take a year to complete. The orthodontist will attach a rubber band chain that was inserted and gently pull on it and attempt to move the tooth downward into place. Through this careful process, the tooth will come into place. Once the tooth is in the right position, the orthodontist will evaluate it to make sure that it is strong and healthy enough to perform its function of chewing.
The purpose of this procedure is to develop a strong tooth, rather than having to extract it. It is used on virtually all impacted teeth, except wisdom teeth, which are considered expendable. If you or your kids have impacted canines, get the repositioning started now at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.