Our mouths are well equipped to carry out a variety of functions, most of which we take for granted. But in fact, each tooth plays a valuable role in activities like eating and speaking. Take the canines, for example. The canines are strong and stable teeth in the corners of your mouth. They have a pointed appearance, and are used to hold, grasp, and tear food.
But sometimes, the canine teeth simply don’t develop properly. For example, the maxillary canine tooth is one that frequently becomes impacted; in other words, it becomes “stuck” and cannot erupt properly. Because canines play such an important role in the mouth, it is often advisable to correct their position when possible.
What Can Go Wrong
If left untreated, it’s possible that an impacted canine won’t cause any further problems. In other cases, however, an impacted canine may be responsible for any of the following:
- As the canine continues to grow behind your other teeth, it interferes with the roots of the normal teeth.
- Depending on its position, the impacted tooth will appear irregular or abnormal.
- A cyst forms around the impacted canine, pushing the other teeth out of position.
- The overall function of the mouth and teeth is affected, causing other teeth to wear prematurely.
What Can Be Done
Your dentist will conduct a thorough examination to determine the exact position and potential consequences of the impacted canine. He may recommend one of the following options for treatment.
Orthodontic treatment: It may be possible to use an orthodontic device (such as braces) to move the tooth into correct alignment. This treatment may take up to two years.
Additionally, a small operation may be necessary in order to expose the tooth. Your dentist will remove a small amount of gum and bone, therefore exposing the crown of the tooth. In some cases, another tooth may need to be extracted to make room for the canine.
Removal: If orthodontic realignment is not possible, your dentist may recommend surgery to remove it. An implant, bridge, or denture may be used to fill the resulting gap.
Transplantation: If the deciduous or “baby” tooth if still present, the oral surgeon will extract it. He or she will then surgically remove the canine, carefully replacing it in the proper position.
Impacted canines may be troublesome, but they don’t have to be. At the Case Dental Group, we’ll work together with you to properly diagnose your specific situation and develop a treatment plan that will produce the best results.