When a tooth is impacted, that means it’s “stuck” and unable to erupt into its true position. The cuspid, or “canine” is one of the most important teeth along the arch. It’s crucial for a proper bite and boasts the longest roots of any other tooth in your mouth.
The role of the canine is to guide all other teeth into a correct bite. Usually, the “maxillary cuspid teeth” are the very last front teeth to erupt, normally making an appearance when a person is around 13 years old. However, with impacted canines, it’s paramount to help it get into the right position.
Impacted Canines Require Early Treatment
The older a patient is, the higher the odds that impacted canines won’t erupt naturally. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, a panorex screening X-ray in conjunction with a full exam should be done on all patients who are seven years old. Teeth should be counted and any eruption issues with adult teeth can be uncovered. Most general or pediatric dentists can perform this exam. If impacted canines are found, an orthodontist referral is then made.
Treating impacted canines at a young age might include braces to prompt good eruption of adult teeth. Otherwise, oral surgery might be a better option to extract baby teeth or certain adult teeth which are blocking canine teeth from emerging. Extra teeth, or “supernumerary teeth,” which might be blocking canines can also be extracted. Once a path is made for impacted canines to erupt, nature might be able to take over.
It’s not rare for both maxillary cuspids to become impacted—and in these cases, spaces along the arch will be prepped at the same time. Once the orthodontist has prepared the area, the dental surgeon exposes and brackets both the impacted canines in one visit (which means only one surgery).
Anterior teeth, such as the cuspids and incisors, as well as the bicuspid teeth are all smaller and only have one root. This means they’re simpler to erupt in case they’re impacted as opposed to posterior molar teeth. The molars are a lot bigger and boast many roots, which means they’re challenging to move. Orthodontic approaches to move impacted molars can be complex due to their location in the back of the mouth, too.
According to recent studies, identifying early impacted canines (or any teeth excepting wisdom teeth) means treatment starts at a young age. When a possible eruption issue is identified, it’s best to get an immediate referral to an orthodontist to get an early evaluation. Sometimes oral surgery is recommended prior to braces. This surgeon can extract extra teeth or any other obstructions, like growths, which might be standing in the way of adult tooth eruption.
This is a much simpler surgery, and helps to prompt natural eruption—assuming the tooth isn’t fully impacted yet. When a patient is old enough for braces, the impacted canines will have hopefully erupted to such a degree that it can be bonded and bracketed to push it into place without a forced eruption. This saves a lot of time in braces, which is also a bonus.
What to Expect from Impacted Canine Surgery
A surgery aimed to expose and bracket an impacted canine is pretty simple. It’s done in-office and local anesthesia along with “laughing gas” are commonly used. Sometimes, IV sedation is best, which means the patient is asleep—however, that’s rarely necessary. All of the surgical details are gone over prior to surgery and during the consultation. Patients are also given surgical and preoperative instructions, available online as well, in order to prepare.
If impacted canines are giving you or your children trouble, please contact us for a free consultation.