Patient Education

Having Impacted Canine Surgery - Phoenix AZ

Having Impacted Canine Surgery

The canine teeth are what we commonly call the “eyeteeth.” They are aligned below the eyes and are often the strongest teeth in the mouth due to their long roots. For a great smile and a lifetime of optimum oral health, it is necessary for canine teeth to be fully in position. Sometimes these teeth are “impacted,” which means they fail to grow out from the gum and are trapped or blocked in the soft tissue of the mouth. When they are stuck in this manner, aside from detracting from your smile and general appearance, their absence from their proper position creates a non-optimum condition in the mouth. These teeth perform important functions which is why impacted canines sometimes require surgical procedures to make them emerge and be 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 they help guide the rest of your teeth into position. Because they are the last teeth at the front of your mouth to move into place, they also close any gaps in the rest of your upper teeth. For all of your teeth to be in alignment and to function properly, the canines need to emerge and be positioned into their proper place. Properly aligned canines contribute 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, on the upper dental arch which leave no room for the canines to emerge. Overcrowded teeth and misaligned upper teeth may block the canines from descending into their proper place. When the upper teeth are overcrowded, space is at a minimum. In rare cases, unusual growths in the soft tissue can also form a blockage which restricts and impacts these teeth.

Dental Surgery for Impacted Canines

Impacted canines are generally handled by an orthodontist and oral surgeon who often work together to create a treatment plan. The orthodontist’s role is to apply braces to the teeth to make room for the canines to emerge and to help align them into proper position. The oral surgeon’s role is to remove any obstructions that would prevent their emergence. In a surgical procedure, the oral surgeon can take out any extra teeth or growths. He will also lift the gum to reveal the impacted canines and attach a bracket on them which will pull them into place. A brace may also be used to help create the space needed for the canine tooth to move into. The gum is then sutured into place.

The surgical procedure generally takes about 45 minutes and is conducted under local anesthesia or a surgical IV (intravenous) sedation. The entire process of bringing the canine down and into position and aligning it may take several months.