If your permanent teeth are going to perform properly, they must erupt into your mouth properly. If a tooth gets impacted, it can push other teeth out of position, negatively impact your smile, cause pain, create an area that’s harder to brush where bacteria can form more easily, and a number of other problems, resulting in the need for oral surgery. Here’s what you need to know.
How do Impacted Canines Occur?
A canine tooth can become impacted when it doesn’t erupt into the mouth properly. An impacted tooth remains stuck in an abnormal position in the alveolar bone, which is the ridge that contains the tooth sockets.
Impacted canine teeth have many different causes, including genetics, overcrowding of the front teeth, early loss or removal of the baby teeth, or adjacent teeth with different shapes and sizes. Other causes include improperly aligned teeth and extra teeth that prevent the canines from growing naturally. Abnormal growths on the soft tissue of the gums can also block the eruption of teeth, but this is rare.
Treating Impacted Canines
Impacted canines put undue stress on adjacent nerves and teeth, which is painful and harms the mouth’s structure. Oral surgery is one way of dealing with this, but non-surgical options are available. One option is not treating them at all.
If we opt not to treat them, the canines could stay buried and may not cause further problems. Keep in mind, though, that the canines may keep growing behind other teeth and damage them. An impacted canine can also wear away at a nearby tooth root.
When a baby canine tooth is lost, and the adult one remains impacted, we can fill the gap with a denture, bridge, or prosthetic tooth. We also need to watch out for cysts, which can form around the impacted tooth’s crown and move other teeth out of position.
Extracting the Canine
If an impacted canine is stuck in a position where we can only realign it with difficulty and it causes problems for the nearby teeth, we’ll likely need to extract it. We would then extract the tooth via oral surgery under local or general anesthesia. If a gap remains after extracting the tooth, we’ll cover it with a denture or bridge.
Uncovering the Canine
Another option is exposing the tooth to reposition it. This method of oral surgery is also done under general anesthesia. Dr. Steve J. Huang will make a slight incision in your palate to expose the tooth’s crown. Depending on how much space the tooth has left to grow, we may need to take out the nearby teeth and put in an orthodontic device.
Transplanting the Canine to the Correct Position
If using oral surgery to expose the tooth is implausible, and the patient has adequate space between their teeth, we may opt to transplant the canine. Dr. Steve J. Huang will first remove the baby canine and the impacted permanent canine. He will then place the permanent canine in the correct position. It is common to brace the transplanted canine for 2 to 3 weeks so it can stabilize.