Impacted Canines


A man with Impacted Canines in a lot of pain at Westlake Village, CA Your maxillary canines, also often referred to as the upper eyeteeth or maxillary cuspids, play an important role in your mouth. These teeth are necessary for biting and tearing the foods you eat. They are also critical for guiding your jaw into proper alignment when you bite down. While essential, the maxillary canines are one of the most common teeth to become impacted, second only to the wisdom teeth. Impacted teeth are those that do not properly erupt through the gums. When the wisdom teeth are impacted, they can simply be removed with no impact to the rest of your mouth. The maxillary canines, however, are essential. At Westlake Oral and Plastic Surgery, we can help to expose impacted canines, aligning them so that they can perform their necessary functions.

The Importance of Your Canines


Your wisdom teeth do not play any important roles in your mouth. If these teeth become impacted, they can be removed with no impact on your overall oral health. Your canines, on the other hand, play several essential functions, including:
•  The proper alignment of the rest of your teeth.
•  The proper alignment of your jaw. The maxillary canines are the first teeth that touch down when you close your mouth and help to guide your jaw into place.
•  The adult maxillary canines are the last to erupt, coming in around the age of 13. With these teeth in place, you have a full, beautiful smile.

What Causes Impacted Canines?


There are several different causes for impacted canines. These causes include:
•  Overcrowding. Overcrowding is often caused by misalignment. If your front teeth are overcrowded, there may not be sufficient space for your maxillary canines to erupt.
•  You have extra teeth. If you have extra teeth in your mouth, these teeth can prevent the proper eruption of the canines.
•  You have a growth on your gum tissue. This is rare, but when it happens, your canines may be blocked.

Diagnosing and Treating Impacted Canines


It is recommended that young children have an orthodontic evaluation, including x-rays, by the age of 7. This evaluation helps to determine the likelihood for orthodontic issues, including impacted canines, early. By spotting potential issues before they happen, proper measures can be taken to prevent later issues with the eruption of the permanent canines. Younger patients may be able to have a specialized brace placed that will help the canines to erupt on their own. Surgery is not always required for younger patients unless tooth extraction or growth removal is necessary.

Impacted canines are less likely to erupt the older you become. In this case, surgery becomes necessary to expose the impacted tooth and guide it into proper alignment. Surgery starts with the removal of any teeth that may be blocking the impacted tooth. We then make an incision in the gums, which provides us with access to the canine. A bracket, with a metal chain attached to it, is affixed to the impacted tooth. The chain is attached to your orthodontic work. A rubber band is attached to the metal chain. This rubber band applies light pressure to your canine, helping to coax it through the gums and into proper alignment. The entire process can take up to about one year.

Bringing impacted canines into proper alignment can help to improve your oral health and overall quality of life. For more information, or to schedule your consultation, contact Westlake Oral Surgery at (805) 267-9766 today.
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