When your teeth line up properly, your bite will function properly. Misaligned teeth cause several problems, including forming areas that are hard to brush and more conducive to bacterial growth.
One cause of misaligned teeth (also known as malocclusion) is impacted canines. If a tooth becomes impacted, and fails to erupt into the mouth, this will negatively affect its function along with the appearance of your smile.
What Is an Impacted Canine?
One or both of your canine teeth can fail to come in properly and remain inside the alveolar bone, which is the ridge of bone that contains tooth sockets. Canine teeth that exist this way are referred to as impacted.
Causes of Impacted Canines
Impacted canines occur for many different reasons, including genetics, early loss or removal of baby teeth, problems with the number and alignment of your teeth, and the presence of teeth of different sizes and shapes. If you have extra teeth, they can hinder the natural growth of your canines and even block them from erupting. Overcrowding leads to poorly aligned teeth that can also interfere with normal canine eruption.
Treating Impacted Canines
When you have impacted canines, they can put undue pressure on the adjacent teeth, causing damage by undermining their structure.
In some cases, we can opt to do nothing if there's a strong probability that the impacted tooth will stay buried and not cause any more problems. Alternatively, the impacted tooth could keep growing behind your other teeth looking for a path to erupt, damaging other teeth in the process. Impacted canines can also resorb (melt) away adjacent tooth roots. In some cases, impacted teeth can also have cysts grow around the crown, which shifts nearby teeth out of place.
In many circumstances, if an adult canine is showing signs of becoming impacted, extracting the baby canines early is a very good solution that increases the chances of the permanent canine to grow in, by providing the path of least resistance.
Uncovering and Repositioning the Impacted Tooth
If we decide it is best to expose the buried tooth and move it into its proper position, we will refer you to a specialist for this procedure. This involves making a small incision in your palate or gum tissue to expose the impacted tooth's crown to place a brace on it. It can then be guided into place with your orthodontic appliances.
Extracting the Impacted Tooth
If an impacted tooth is stuck in a position that would make it very difficult to realign and it's causing problems for nearby teeth, it may have to be removed. This procedure is usually performed by a specialist with anesthesia. Afterward, the appropriate measures would be taken to fill the space or close it with orthodontic appliances.
For more information about impacted canines or other treatments, please contact our office: 215-800-0015.