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Impacted Canines


Impacted Canines

An impacted tooth simply means that it is “stuck” and cannot erupt into function.  The maxillary cuspid (upper Canine) is the second most common tooth to become impacted. The cuspid tooth is a critical tooth in the dental arch and plays an important role in your “bite”. The cuspid teeth are very strong biting teeth and have the longest roots of any human teeth. They are designed to be the first teeth that touch when your jaws close together so they guide the rest of the teeth into the proper bite.
Normally, the maxillary cuspid teeth are the last of the “front” teeth to erupt into place. They usually come into place around age 13 and cause any space left between the upper front teeth to close tighter together. If a cuspid tooth gets impacted, every effort is made to get it to erupt into its proper position in the dental arch. The techniques involved to aid eruption can be applied to any impacted tooth in the upper or lower jaw, but most commonly they are applied to the maxillary cuspid (upper eye) teeth. We routinely we obtained 3D X rays to localize exactly where the impacted Canine to help plan our surgery.


The Procedure

It is a simple surgical procedure performed in the office, the gum on top of the impacted tooth will be lifted up to expose the hidden tooth underneath. If there is a baby tooth present it will be removed at the same time. Once the tooth is exposed, we will bond an orthodontic bracket to the exposed tooth. The bracket will have a miniature gold chain attached to it and will be attached to the orthodontic arch wire temporarily. Sometimes we will leave the exposed and impacted tooth completely uncovered by suturing the gum up high above the tooth, or making a window in the gum covering the tooth. Most of the time the gum will be returned to its original location and sutured back with only the chain remaining visible as it exits a small hole in the gum.  Overtime the tooth will be slowly moved
This is a carefully controlled, slow process that may take up to a full year to complete. Remember, the goal is to erupt the impacted tooth and not to extract it. Once the tooth has moved into the arch in its final position, the gum around it will be evaluated to make sure it is sufficiently strong and healthy to last for a lifetime of chewing and tooth brushing. In some circumstances, especially those where the tooth had to be moved a long distance, there may be some minor “gum surgery” required to add bulk to the gum tissue over the relocated tooth so that it remains healthy during normal function. Your dentist or orthodontist will explain this procedure to you if it applies to your specific situation.


Exposure of Impacted Teeth

Why do we need to expose impacted teeth?

Under certain circumstances, a tooth can have trouble erupting and remains trapped under the gum or jaw bone. This is known as an impacted tooth. This often occurs with canine teeth located in the roof of the mouth, although other teeth can also be trapped.

How can impacted teeth be treated?

Your Dentist or Orthodontist may suggest a surgical procedure called an exposure and bond of the tooth. This involves uncovering (exposing) the tooth and attaching a small chain (bonding) to the tooth which can attached to braces to slowly pull the tooth into the correct position. The surgery is often performed when younger.

Where is the Surgery Undertaken?

Although surgery for the exposure of impacted teeth can be undertaken awake (Local Anaesthetic),  it is often more comfortable when asleep (General Anaesthetic).

What happens after the Surgery?

After your check up with your Surgeon, you will need to return to your dentist or orthodontist to keep an eye on the tooth as it moves into the correct position.
To enquire about treatments for impacted teeth please contact us at Wood Street Specialists Newcastle.