When a tooth is stuck beneath the gums, it is said to be impacted and must be treated so that it can emerge successfully in the mouth.
If an impacted tooth is a wisdom tooth, extraction is often the best treatment. However, when canine teeth become impacted, the course of treatment is different. Canine teeth are especially important for the bite and are not removed but rather treated orthodontically or surgically so that they can emerge successfully.
The longer canines stay trapped under the gums, the more time their roots have to develop and fuse with the jawbone, so it’s very important to treat them as soon as possible. We recommend that your child see an Orthodontist by age 7 for an examination to determine if there are problems with the eruption of any of the adult teeth.
What causes canine impaction?
The canines are the last permanent teeth to erupt, emerging at about the age of 11 or 12. Canine teeth may become impacted due to
- Baby teeth that have not fallen out in time
- Unusual growths that block the route of the tooth
- Dental crowding
If an impacted canine is diagnosed, your child’s dentist will recommend further treatment as soon as possible so that the tooth has the best chance to grow into the dental arch on its own. Depending on the growth stage of the affected tooth, an oral surgeon may be required to help the canine tooth erupt into its proper position, or they will work closely with an orthodontist to complete a procedure called exposure and bonding. If the canines have remained impacted into adulthood, they may have become fused with the bone beneath the gums, making it unlikely that they will ever emerge. In such cases, dental implants or other tooth replacement options can restore the patient’s smile.