Understanding the Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments of Impacted Canines

An impacted tooth is one that has not properly erupted from the gum line. Usually, impaction affects wisdom teeth. Since there is generally no need for wisdom teeth, the typical course of treatment is to have an oral surgeon remove them. However, treating impacted canines is more challenging because these play a crucial role in daily functioning. If you or your child has been diagnosed with an impacted canine in the San Diego area, an oral surgeon will attempt to coax the tooth to erupt normally, rather than simply extract it.


Possible Signs and Symptoms

The canines are the teeth located between the incisors and the premolars. Your two front teeth are the central incisors. The teeth adjacent to these are the lateral incisors. The canines are the teeth right next to the lateral incisors. Canines, which are also known as cuspid teeth, may be found to be impacted when a dentist takes x-rays on patients as young as seven years old. When an impacted canine fails to exert pressure on the adjacent teeth, patients may not necessarily complain of symptoms. If a partially erupted canine does push against the adjacent teeth, this can force the other teeth out of their proper positions. Additionally, impacted teeth increase the risk of tooth decay. Some patients may experience tooth pain, including pain while chewing.

Potential Causes and Risk Factors

An impacted canine tooth is more likely to be diagnosed in patients with a family history of this problem. It is also possible to experience impacted canine teeth due to the overcrowding of the front teeth, which prohibits the canines from having sufficient space to erupt properly. Other issues that can interfere with proper eruption include the presence of extra teeth or unusual growths on the gums.

Effective Treatment Options

Treating impacted canines generally requires a collaborative effort from both an oral surgeon and an orthodontist. The oral surgeon can expose the impacted canines and bracket the teeth. Any baby teeth that still remain there can be removed at the same time. Once the impacted teeth are bracketed, a very tiny gold chain is attached to each bracket. The chain is attached to the arch wire. In most cases, the oral surgeon then sutures the gum tissue closed, leaving only the exit path of the gold chain. The orthodontic appliance can help guide the tooth into the proper place as it erupts.