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Impacted Canines/Attachments

Denville Maxillofacial Surgery - Impacted Canines/Attachments - Cheryl L. Moccio DMD

Humans have two upper (maxillary) canines and two lower (mandibular) canines. Canine teeth are sometimes referred to as cuspids,, or “eye teeth” because of their direct positioning beneath the eyes.

An impacted tooth essentially means that it is blocked, stuck, or unable to fully erupt and function properly. Third molars (wisdom teeth) most commonly fall victim to impaction, but the upper canine is the second most common tooth to become impacted. Wisdom teeth serve no important function in the mouth and are frequently removed; however, impacted canines are a critical condition and require treatment for the following reasons:

  • Closing Gaps – Canines are the last of the front teeth to fall into place and therefore close any unsightly gaps between the other upper teeth.
  • First Touch – Canines play a vital role in the “biting” mechanism of the teeth. They touch first when the jaw closes, and guide the other teeth into position.
  • Proper Alignment & Function – Canine teeth are essential to the correct alignment and function of the other teeth on the dental arch. Missing or impacted canines can greatly affect the function and aesthetic appearance of the smile.

What causes canine teeth to become impacted?

There are several main causes for impacted canine teeth:

Extra Teeth – If extra teeth are present, the natural eruption of the canine teeth may be inhibited. The eruption progress of the canine may be directly blocked by an extra tooth or the subsequent overcrowding might leave no room on the dental arch for the canine.

Overcrowding – In some cases, poor alignment of the front teeth can lead to overcrowding. The existing teeth compete for space which means that the canines do not have sufficient room to become functional.

Unusual Growths – On rare occasions, unusual growths on the soft tissue of the gums can restrict the progress of canine teeth, which leads to later impaction.

                                                  X-Ray of Impacted Canine Teeth

What does the treatment of impacted canines involve?

The procedure usually recommended by the orthodontist is called 'exposure of canine tooth with attachment'.The exposure will generally be performed under oral conscious sedation by an oral surgeon. The un-erupted canine will then be exposed by lifting the gum and bone is removed to expose the tooth. A gold chain and attachment are bonded to the impacted tooth and used by the orthodontist to guide the canine into place.

                                                                Treatment of Impacted Canines

 

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