Impacted Canines

An impacted tooth simply means that it is stuck and cannot erupt into function. The maxillary cuspid (upper eyetooth) is the second most common tooth to become impacted. The cuspid tooth is a critical tooth in the dental arch and plays an important role in your bite. The cuspid teeth are very strong biting teeth and have the longest roots of any human teeth. They are designed to be the first teeth that touch when your jaws close together so they guide the rest of the teeth into the proper bite.

Normally, the maxillary cuspid teeth are the last of the front teeth to erupt into place. They usually begin to erupt around ages of 11to12. If a cuspid tooth gets impacted, every effort is made to get it to erupt into its proper position in the dental arch. The techniques involved to aid eruption can be applied to any impacted tooth in the upper or lower jaw, but most commonly they are applied to the maxillary cuspid (upper eye) teeth. Sixty percent of these impacted eyeteeth are located on the palatal (roof of the mouth) side of the dental arch. The remaining impacted eye teeth are found in the middle of the supporting bone but stuck in an elevated position above the roots of the adjacent teeth or out to the facial side of the dental arch. 3-dimensional imaging, referred to as CBCT, is often necessary to determine the position of the impacted tooth. With appropriate imaging and evaluation the surgical approach is planned and executed in the least invasive way possible.

What to expect during surgery?

The surgery to expose and bracket an impacted tooth is a common surgical procedure that is performed in our office. The procedure can be performed under local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia), intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia.

You can expect a limited amount of bleeding from the surgical sites after surgery. Although there will be some discomfort after surgery at the surgical sites, most patients find Tylenol or Advil to be more than adequate to manage any pain they may have.

Within 2-3 days after surgery there is usually little need for any medication at all. There may be some swelling which can be minimized by applying ice packs to the lip and cheek area after surgery. Bruising is not a common finding after these cases.

A soft diet is recommended at first, but you may resume your normal diet as soon as you feel comfortable chewing.

Exposure and bracketing of impacted teeth is done in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. We will collaborate with your orthodontist to ensure the best outcome possible.