Most people have two maxillary (upper) and two mandibular (lower) canines. Canine teeth are referred to as eye teeth, fangs or cuspids. The canines play a critical role in the dental arch and in your "bite". The canines guide the rest of your bite and are the second most common teeth to become impacted. They usually erupt around the age of 13.
An impacted tooth essentially means that that it is stuck or unable to fully erupt and function properly.
Early Recognition of Impacted Canines
It is recommended that a panorex screening x-ray, along with a dental examination, be performed on all patients around the age of seven to count the teeth and determine whether all the adult teeth are present. This exam is usually performed by your general dentist and you will then be referred to an orthodontist or an Oral Surgeon should there be a concern regarding eruption.
Treatment of Impacted Canine
In cases where the canine tooth will not erupt spontaneously, the orthodontist and oral surgeon will work together to get the erupted tooth where it should be. Each patient is evaluated on an individual basis. The most common scenario will call for the orthodontist to place the braces on the teeth. A space will be created to provide room for the impacted tooth to be moved into it's proper position in the dental arch. Our Board Certified Oral Surgeon will perform a procedure in the office, in which the gum above the impacted tooth will be lifted up to expose the impacted canine. Once the tooth is exposed, our oral surgeon will bond an orthodontic bracket to the exposed tooth. The bracket will have a chain that will attach the impacted canine.
Shortly after surgery (1-14 days) the patient will return to the orthodontist to complete the attachment.