The canine teeth, also known as cuspids, are very important for biting and tearing food. They have some of the longest and strongest roots of any human teeth. Canines are also important to the development of your overall bite and the alignment of your other teeth. As a child grows, the permanent teeth erupt at different ages. It is important to make sure normal eruption occurs for incisors, canines, premolars, and molars.
Unfortunately, canines are more likely to become impacted than other teeth. Impacted teeth are trapped partially or fully beneath the gums, either due to structures blocking the growth track or other problems. Impacted teeth have a higher risk of causing infection, and if not treated promptly, they can become stuck in the gums. Luckily, oral surgeons and orthodontists can help prevent and treat impacted teeth.
Why do teeth become impacted?
There are a few reasons that teeth can become impacted. Some of the reasons teeth become unable to erupt are
- Overcrowding or a lack of adequate space for teeth to grow in
- Cysts, growths, or other unusual structures blocking the tooth’s path
- Baby teeth not falling out in time for secondary teeth to come in
Regular dental exams are the best way to ensure none of these problems are developing with your child.
Early Detection and Prevention
An exam with your dentist or oral surgeon can help you determine whether your teeth are impacted. In fact, having regular dental exams before adult teeth grow in (between ages 7 and 10) can help prevent them from becoming impacted. An oral exam tracking the progress of canine teeth beneath the gums must involve a panoramic X-ray or 3D scan to determine the exact location of the teeth. If the growth track is blocked and the teeth cannot erupt naturally, your dentist, orthodontist, and/or oral surgeon will help you find treatment, depending on your needs.
Treating Impacted Teeth
The right treatment for impacted teeth will depend on the reason the canines won’t emerge and the developmental stage of your teeth. Below, we’ve outlined a few of the different treatments available depending on your situation:
- If adjacent teeth are blocking the path of the teeth, sometimes orthodontia alone (such as braces) can clear the path for growth. When the surrounding teeth are out of the way, sometimes the teeth will come through on their own.
- When overdue baby teeth are keeping the adult teeth from erupting normally, extracting the baby teeth and exposing the adult teeth can allow them to grow in.
- If your adult teeth have been trapped behind the gums for too long (past age 11 or 12), they probably will not grow in on their own, even if the growth track is cleared. As the roots of the teeth develop, they start to fuse with the bone, creating a more secure hold. In these cases, exposure and bonding may be able to save the teeth. Your oral surgeon will expose the impacted tooth from beneath the gums and attach a tiny bracket and chain to each tooth. Then, your orthodontist will use the tiny chain with your existing braces to gently pull the tooth into position.
- If impacted canine teeth go untreated well into the teen years and early adulthood, the roots of the teeth will develop fully while trapped beneath the gums, making it impossible for the teeth to emerge. If this is the case, the impacted teeth can be extracted by an oral surgeon and replaced with dental implants. Our oral surgeons are experts at dental implant placement, and we will do everything possible to save your natural teeth before discussing other treatment options.
Treatment for Impacted Teeth in New Brunswick, NJ, East Brunswick, NJ, and Middlesex, NJ
Oral Surgery Group is happy to help you or your child treat impacted teeth. Our oral surgeons work with patients of all ages, whether you need a simple extraction, full exposure and bonding treatment, or dental implants. Our surgeons are happy to work with you, your orthodontist, and your dentist to find a treatment plan that meets your needs. Contact one of our offices for more information or to schedule an appointment today.