Expose Impacted Canines for a Healthier, More Attractive Smile

The upper canine teeth play an important role in your bite. Not only are the canines very strong biting teeth but they also help guide other teeth into place when you close your jaw. However, in rare cases, the canine teeth become impacted, or stuck, and fail to erupt properly. At Park City Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center, we can provide treatment for impacted canine teeth. Dr. Lifferth is a skilled oral surgeon in Park City, UT, who can perform a simple surgical procedure to expose impacted teeth. Then he can place brackets to create sufficient room in your smile and guide the canine into place.

When canine teeth fail to erupt properly, it can impact the health of your entire smile.

The Important Role of Canine Teeth

Unlike impacted wisdom teeth, which serve no real purpose and can be extracted, the canines are very important for the proper alignment of your bite. Missing or impacted canine teeth can significantly affect the overall function and appearance of your smile. These teeth touch first when the jaw closes, helping to facilitate healthy bite alignment. As the last teeth to erupt, the canines often close gaps and create a more symmetrical, aesthetic smile.

Why Canines Become Impacted

The upper canine, also known as the maxillary cuspid, is the second most common tooth to become impacted, after the wisdom teeth. Normally, maxillary cuspids erupt around age 13 and close the space between the upper front teeth for a proper bite. There are several common causes for impacted canine teeth, including:

  • Overcrowding: When teeth are out of alignment, they can crowd together in the front of the jaw, filling the space the canines need to erupt.
  • Extra teeth: In some cases, baby teeth do not fall out in time for the canines to emerge or a condition known as hyperdontia causes extra teeth to develop in the jaw. Both situations can block the eruption of canine teeth.
  • Unusual growths: In very rare cases, unusual growths form in the soft tissue of the gums and restrict the natural progression of canine teeth.

In many cases, early treatment can remove potential causes of impaction so the canines erupt normally. Your dentist may be able to identify issues with the canines as young as age seven. Regardless of the specifics, when canine teeth cannot erupt on their own, intervention is necessary.

How to Treat Impacted Canines

If your general dentist notices an issue with your canines, they may refer you to our office for treatment. We can coordinate with your dentist or orthodontist, if necessary. The simple procedure to expose impacted canines can be performed at our in-office surgical center.

Dr. Lifferth can perform a simple, outpatient procedure to improve the appearance and function of your child’s smile.

During treatment, Dr. Lifferth will carefully lift the gums to expose the impacted tooth. If there is still a baby tooth in place, he can remove it at the same time. Once the tooth is exposed, Dr. Lifferth will bond an orthodontic bracket to its surface. He can also bracket the surrounding teeth and place an archwire. Then, he will run a small chain from the bracket on the canine to the archwire. The final step is closing the incision with sutures. The special bracket and chain will slowly guide the impacted canine into proper alignment.

A Simple Procedure with Dramatic Results

Left untreated, impacted teeth can cause a range of problems, from bite issues to infection. If you or your child has impacted canines, contact our office online or call (435) 222-0450 to schedule a consultation and find out more about our oral surgery services.