The Patient’s Guide to Impacted Canines

An impacted tooth is a general term used by oral surgeons for any tooth that is blocked, stuck, or unable to function properly . Wisdom teeth are most likely to become impacted, and often require oral surgery in San Diego. While wisdom teeth serve no important function and are easily removed, upper canines are critical to the bite and require a different kind of treatment by an oral surgeon when they are impacted. While you should always consult with your oral surgeon directly to discuss your course of treatment, it may be helpful to review this guide as an introduction to impacted canines. Impacted Canine Teeth

How Do Canine Teeth Become Impacted?

Canine teeth often become impacted because extra teeth are present, leaving no room on the dental arch for the canine. In other cases, poor alignment of the front teeth causes overcrowding. When teeth are forced to compete for space, the canines can be left with insufficient room to function properly. Less commonly, unusual growths on the soft tissue of the gums can impede the development of canine teeth, which later leads to impaction.

Why Do Impacted Canine Teeth Require Treatment?

Impacted canine teeth must be treated because they are essential for biting and chewing. Because canine teeth are essential to the correct alignment and function of the other teeth on the dental arch, impacted canines can greatly affect both the function and aesthetic appearance of the smile. Canines also touch first when the jaw closes; this means these teeth are vital to the jaw’€™s biting mechanism, as they guide the other teeth into position. Finally, because canine teeth are the last front teeth to fall into place, they are often vital for closing any unsightly gaps.

What Does Treatment by an Oral Surgeon Involve?

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon may recommend extracting teeth through surgery to reduce overcrowding. Teeth extraction is usually performed under local anesthetic in your oral surgeon’€™s office. Another treatment option is to guide the impacted canine into place. First, the tooth will be exposed by lifting the gums. Next, the surgeon will guide the tooth into place with a special bracket. As with any oral surgery, your oral surgeon will discuss your treatment plan with you in detail and prescribe medications as necessary.