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Having Impacted Canine Surgery - Phoenix AZ

Having Impacted Canine Surgery

The canine teeth are also sometimes referred to as the “eyeteeth.” They are aligned in the middle of the dental arch and are frequently the strongest teeth in the jaws due to their long roots. For a great smile and optimum oral health, it is necessary for canine teeth to be well positioned. Sometimes these teeth may be “impacted,” which means they fail to grow out from the gumline and may be trapped within the jaws. When they are impacted in this manner, aside from detracting from your smile and general appearance, their absence from their proper position may create a risk for gum disease or other pathological problems. This is why impacted canines sometimes require surgical procedures to help them erupt and become properly aligned.

Functions of the Canines

The canines play an important role in your bite. They are the teeth which initially touch when you close your mouth and thus are important to guide the rest of your teeth into position. Because they are the last teeth at the front of your mouth to erupt and move into place, they also help close any gaps that may exist within your bite. For all of your teeth to be well aligned and to function properly, the canines need to emerge and erupt into their proper place. Properly aligned canines are critical contributers to a beautiful smile.

How Canines Become Impacted

Your canines can become impacted due to several causes. You may have extra teeth, such as baby teeth, which leave no room for the canines to emerge. Overcrowded and misaligned existing upper teeth may also block the canines from descending into their proper place. When the upper teeth are crowded, space to accomodate all the teeth may not exist.  In rare cases, unusual growths or lesions in the soft tissue can also form obstacles which restrict or impact these teeth.

Dental Surgery for Impacted Canines

Impacted canines are generally managed by an orthodontist and oral and facial surgeon who will work together to create a treatment plan. The orthodontist’s role is to move the teeth to make room for the canines to emerge and to help align the bite into the proper position. The surgeon’s role is to remove any obstructions that would prevent their emergence.  The oral and facial surgeon will frequently remove any impacted or extra teeth or growths to accomplish this goal. He may also expose and secure the soft tissues to reveal the impacted canines and attach special brackets to the teeth which will help pull them into place. 

The surgical procedure generally takes about 45 minutes and is conducted under local anesthesia or IV (intravenous) sedation. The process of orthodontically moving the impacted tooth into the correct position for proper alignment may take several months.