Your canine teeth are the sharp, pointed teeth that are used to tear food. You have four of these teeth total, two on the upper jaw and two on the lower jaw. They are typically the sixth tooth on either side of your mouth when you count from the back molars forward. They are also considered the transition teeth that separate the front teeth from the back ones. They have very strong roots, unique shapes, and are the first teeth to touch together when you close your mouth. Unfortunately, canines can become impacted, and this can cause a number of issues. Our team at Jason Widner DMD Family Dentistry is familiar with treating impacted canines and can assist you in correcting this issue.
What Happens When a Canine Tooth is Impacted?
When we say that a tooth is impacted, we mean that it failed to break through the gum line. The tooth remains trapped under the gums in your alveolar bone, a bony ridge that holds your tooth sockets. Without the ability to burst out of the gums, the impacted tooth can end up erupting sideways or may never erupt at all.
What Causes Impacted Canines?
There are a number of different things that can cause a canine tooth to fail to erupt correctly. If your teeth are too crowded together, there may be no space for the canines to erupt. This can happen when you have a jaw that is simply too small to accommodate all of your teeth. It is also possible to have extra teeth that can lead to overcrowding. Another cause of impacted canines is abnormal growths on the gums. These growths can be caused by misaligned teeth, the early loss of a baby tooth, or genetics.
What Happens if Impacted Canines Are Not Treated?
If you do not deal with an impacted canine, the tooth remains under the gum and can begin to cause discomfort or pain. It can also damage the teeth next to it and may even destroy part of its root. This could result in tooth loss. An impacted tooth may also leave too much space between the adjacent teeth, causing them to shift out of position due to the lack of support.
How Are Impacted Canines Treated?
Impacted canines can be treated in a few different ways. We may be able to expose the canine, allowing it to come in correctly. We may need to extract one of the teeth next to it, especially if your mouth is overcrowded. In that case, you may need braces to align the canine and other teeth correctly. You may have to wear these braces for a year or more in order for your teeth to properly align.
If exposing the canine is not an option, we may have to extract it completely. We usually only do this if the tooth is embedded in such a way that it is not possible for it to erupt and be successfully aligned with your other teeth.
Do you suspect you have an impacted canine? If so, contact Jason Widner DMD Family Dentistry at 425-868-0123 to make an appointment for an exam.