Reviewed by Dr. Kerri Font, DDS

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Your canine teeth – also known as eye teeth or maxillary cuspids – play a critical role in your dental arch. They are essential for tearing food and maintaining proper occlusion (bite). However, for some people, canine teeth don’t erupt correctly, leading to a condition known as canine impaction.

So, what are impacted canines, and how can they be treated?

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the causes, symptoms, and available treatment options at Highlands Ranch Periodontics and Implant Center.

Table of Contents

What are Impacted Canines?

Canine impaction occurs when the canine tooth doesn’t erupt into the dental arch due to the lack of space, the presence of extra teeth, over-retained baby teeth, or improper alignment of adjacent teeth

This prevents the tooth from reaching its proper position in the mouth, causing it to remain embedded in the gum tissue or jawbone, which can lead to various oral health issues.

Did you know? The eye teeth erupt between the ages of 11-13, and they are the second most common teeth to become impacted after wisdom teeth.

Key Takeaway

Impacted canines refer to the condition where canine teeth fail to erupt properly, often leading to oral health issues like damage to adjacent teeth, infection, and discomfort. Treatment typically involves a multi-stage process, including evaluation, exposure and bracketing, activation, and final positioning of the tooth.

Risks and Symptoms

When a canine tooth remains impacted, it can cause damage to the adjacent teeth and cause infections and cysts to develop. Additionally, an impacted canine may lead to bite problems and difficulties with speech or eating.

Signs of impacted canines include:

  • Failure of the tooth to erupt by age 13
  • Crowding or misalignment of surrounding teeth
  • Pain or discomfort in the affected area
  • Swelling or inflammation in the gums

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s essential to visit a dental professional for a thorough evaluation.

Treatments for Impacted Canines

At Highlands Ranch Periodontics and Implant Center, our skilled periodontists, Dr. Mike Norouzinia and Dr. Kerri Font, work with an orthodontist to expose and guide impacted canines into their correct position. 

The steps of the procedure are as follows:

  1. Evaluation: We will conduct a detailed examination of your mouth and take X-rays to determine the location and position of the impacted canine.
  2. Exposure and bracketing:  In the first stage of treatment, you will see an orthodontist who will insert a temporary wire in the upper arch. The second stage of treatment involves a simple surgery where an incision will be made in the gum tissue to expose the impacted tooth. If a baby tooth is present, it will be removed at this time. Once the tooth is exposed, a bracket will be placed on the tooth. The bracket has a small chain that attaches to the wire the orthodontist inserted. 
  3. Activation: You will return to your orthodontist within the first 3 weeks to activate the tooth eruption process.
  4. Final stage: Once the tooth has moved to its final position, the bracket and wire are removed, and you will be given a retainer to wear at night.

In some cases, if there is not enough space in the mouth to accommodate an impacted canine, extraction may be necessary. However, this is typically a last resort and only recommended if the tooth poses a severe risk to oral health.

Recovery After Surgery

We will provide you with post-operative instructions to ensure a smooth and comfortable recovery, but here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Take any prescribed pain medication as directed.
  • Apply a cold compress to the affected area for 10-20 minutes at a time to reduce swelling. Do this several times a day for 24 hours.
  • Eat soft foods and avoid chewing near the treated area for the first few days.
  • Carefully brush your teeth after every meal and rinse with a saltwater solution to keep the area clean.

Importance of Good Oral Hygiene During Treatment

After you have recovered from surgery, don’t forget to maintain good oral hygiene practices. The bracket and chain attached to the impacted tooth can collect food particles and bacteria, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. 

We recommend brushing after meals or at least twice a day, paying extra attention to the bracket area. Remember to floss daily to keep the spaces between your teeth clean. If flossing around the bracket is difficult, you can try using interdental brushes or water flossers.

Don’t Ignore Impacted Canines!

Ignoring impacted canines can lead to serious oral health problems, such as infections, cysts, and damage to adjacent teeth. Impacted canines can cause discomfort and affect your ability to chew or speak properly. Don’t wait to seek treatment if you suspect you have an impacted canine.

At Highlands Ranch Periodontics and Implant Center, our experienced team is dedicated to providing quality care and helping you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. Contact us today for a consultation!

If you are searching for a periodontist in Highlands Ranch, we can help! Call (303) 683-1144 to book an appointment or complete the online booking form.

We hope this blog post has answered your questions about impacted canines. But just in case you have a few lingering questions, we’ve included a few FAQs below.

FAQs About Impacted Canines

Are impacted canines common?

Only about 2% of the population will experience an impacted canine, and it is more common in females than males.

Is the treatment for impacted canines painful?

The procedure is typically done under local anesthesia, so you should not experience any discomfort during the surgery. However, some mild discomfort and swelling may be present after the procedure, which can be managed with pain medication and cold compresses.

Is it necessary to see a specialist for treatment of impacted canines?

It is recommended to see a periodontist or oral surgeon for the treatment of impacted canines, as they have specialized training and experience in these types of procedures.

Categories: Periodontics