Impacted Canines

An impacted tooth is a tooth that is unable to erupt into the mouth. Wisdom teeth are a good example as they are the most problematic in terms of erupting correctly. The most commonly treated impacted teeth in children are the maxillary canines, often the result of infection or trauma to the baby tooth. If the protective follicle of the baby tooth is damaged by trauma, it may prevent the tooth from erupting correctly.

Impacted Canines

Upper canines also referred to as eye teeth, erupt around age 13. Approximately one percent of the population has impacted canines that do not come into the mouth. Your upper canines play an essential part in the function of your teeth; they are strong biting teeth and designed to shear food to aid chewing.

Reasons for Impacted Canines

Impacted canine teeth can occur for a variety of reasons:

  • Insufficient space in the jaw to erupt correctly
  • Genetics
  • Developmental anomaly
  • Head or neck syndromes
  • Peg teeth or missing lateral incisors
  • Retained baby teeth
  • Supernumerary (extra) teeth

Treatment for Impacted Canine Teeth

If you had an infection of a baby tooth and it was removed at an early age, the adult tooth can become impacted. Since a baby tooth guides the adult tooth into the mouth, its loss can cause the adult tooth to become stuck in the bone. If the protective follicle (the sac that protects the adult tooth) is damaged by trauma or infection that spreads from the baby tooth, it may prevent the tooth from erupting correctly as well.

The treatment we use to treat an impacted tooth is called Expose and Bond and is coordinated with your orthodontist because space must first be created into which the impacted tooth will emerge. The first step is to expose the tooth through the gum and bone. A gold chain is then attached to the tooth with temporary glue and connected to a bracket or wire.

About two weeks after surgery, your orthodontist will attach a rubber band to the gold chain and bracket or wire, and the impacted tooth is gradually pulled down into the mouth during a process that can take several months to complete.

Another Reason to Treat Impacted Canines

Impacted teeth that are pushed up against another root can cause resorption (or melting away) of the tooth that it is pushed up against. A common tooth that the impacted canine is touching is the lateral incisor. The lateral incisor is an important front tooth; it is one of the teeth that you see when you smile, and it plays a role in jaw development of young patients.

Diagnosing Impacted Canines

Our goal is to protect and preserve your existing tooth structure, so removal of the impacted tooth is usually always the last resort. The sooner an impacted canine is diagnosed, the better the odds for successful treatment.

If the impacted tooth is not treated at a young age, pulling the tooth into the mouth may not be successful, and removal of the tooth may be our only option.

Trust An Experienced Team

If you have been referred to Dr. Suzin Um and Lake Forest Oral Surgery for treatment of an impacted canine tooth, you can trust that you are in the hands of a highly trained oral surgeon. Not only is Dr. Um highly qualified, but she is also a doctor who cares about her patients and will work with you to develop a plan for treatment that is personalized for your needs.