When a patient has impacted canines, it presents a special problem with respect to orthodontic care. However, it is not a problem that we cannot solve. You just need to know what to expect if this applies to you. At Rendon Orthodontics, we have the latest tools and imaging devices to help us handle a variety of orthodontic problems.
What Are Impacted Canines and How Can They Be Managed?
Your four canine teeth sit between the incisors and premolars. Two canines normally emerge at the top of the mouth (maxilla) and two at the bottom (mandible). The canine teeth are the pointy or “fang” teeth used for tearing food. While impacted wisdom teeth or third molars are not necessary and usually can be removed, the same cannot be said about the canines. If these teeth are impacted, they can throw your teeth and jaws off balance.
Usually, the lower canines come in first when a patient is about 9 years old. The upper canines follow at around 12 years old. To encourage the teeth to grow, we may have to expose them so they can come into the proper alignment.
Why Are the Canine Teeth Essential?
The upper canine teeth, in particular, serve several important functions. As noted, they help properly align the rest of the teeth and add symmetry to the smile. If they do not emerge, a dental patient can experience uneven tooth wear and teeth grinding. This may also increase his or her risk of developing tooth decay and gingivitis.
As the maxillary canines are the teeth that first touch when you bite down, they are needed to direct the rest of the mouth into position. The maxillary canines also fill in any gaps, complete your dentition, and improve your facial profile.
What Leads to Impacted Canines?
Impacted canines may happen for several reasons. If the teeth are crooked or overcrowded, the canines may not have enough room to appear. Also, an additional tooth may block a canine from erupting. While it is rare, a growth on the gum may prevent a canine from coming in as well. That is why we recommend early detection to address the problem. For younger patients, we may place a brace at the site of the impaction. This is done so enough space can be made for the canine to erupt. In some cases, we may need to remove an adult or baby tooth to allow the canine to emerge through the gum.
The older a patient gets, the less likely the canines will show. Therefore, we may create an incision in the patient’s gum to expose the canine. To guide the tooth into alignment, we bond a bracket onto the tooth and use a metal chain to affix the bracket to the braces. Afterward, we place a rubber band on the chain, thereby applying gentle pressure on the canine and pulling it through the gum. This type of treatment may take a year before the canines are fully exposed.
If you or your children have special orthodontic needs or cares, we are always ready to help. Why not give Rendon Orthodontics a call at 469-956-5022 to schedule an appointment today? Whether you want your teeth straightened or your child needs to have his or her smile realigned, we have the technology and know-how to help you realize any teeth-straightening goals.