An impacted tooth is a tooth that is unable to erupt through its natural growth path. Sometimes dental crowding, structures blocking the growth track, or other issues can cause teeth to become impacted. The canines, which sit on either side of your upper four front teeth, are some of the most likely to become impacted. Our oral surgeons, Dr. Robert Wood, Dr. Nicholas Coles, and Dr. Negin Saghafi offer evaluation and treatment for impacted canines in conjunction with care from your dentist or orthodontist at our offices in Tucson, AZ, and Oro Valley, AZ.
Early Detection and Treatment
Sometimes orthodontic treatments, such as braces, can prevent impacted canines. Having regular dental exams throughout childhood is an important part of preventing impaction and other oral health problems. The canines usually don’t grow in until about age 13-12, but most dental professionals recommend having a checkup with panoramic X-rays around age 7. This allows your dentist and/or orthodontist to make sure there will be enough space for the canines to come in.
If necessary, your orthodontist can sometimes clear the path with braces. If there are retained baby teeth or other structures blocking the growth track, you may be referred to an oral surgeon to expose the impacted tooth. As long as the canines have room to grow in by age 11 or 12, they will probably erupt on their own.
Treating Impacted Canines
When the canines do not have a clear eruption path before age 12 or so, the roots can begin to develop above the teeth. If the roots become too developed beneath the gums, the teeth won’t be able to erupt on their own, even if the path is cleared. In these cases, an oral surgeon may be called in to perform an exposure and bonding treatment.
Exposure and bonding is a team effort between the orthodontist and oral surgeon. Once your teeth have been prepared with braces, you will come in for the surgery procedure. After administering the appropriate anesthetic, your oral surgeon will expose the tooth that is trapped beneath the gums. Once exposed, a small bracket and chain will be attached to the tooth. After the procedure is over and the surgical sites have healed, your orthodontist will use this tiny chain along with your braces to gently pull the canines into their proper positions.
If impacted canines go untreated for many years (into adulthood), they may never be able to erupt into position. For these patients, oral surgeons can extract the impacted teeth and use dental implants to replace the canines as if they were never missing.
Impacted Canine Treatment at Arizona Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons
If you or your child needs treatment for impacted canines, our highly-trained surgical staff is here to help. Our oral surgeons have years of experience treating patients of all ages for impacted molars and canines. To learn more about your treatment options, contact one of our offices in Tucson, AZ, or Oro Valley, AZ, for more information. One of our staff members will be happy to assist you.