Canines — or as some people call them, “eye teeth” and “cuspids” — are the pointed teeth that erupt on either side of your front four teeth. You have four in total, two on the upper arch and two on the lower.
But sometimes, canines/cuspids become impacted. That is, they’re stuck up inside of the bone in your jaw and don’t erupt through the gums and into the mouth. It could be because they’re pressing into the root of an adjacent tooth, there’s not enough room in the mouth, there are extra teeth, or premature tooth loss caused a normal eruption pattern to become obstructed.
Normally, canine teeth will come in when a child is around 12 or 13 years old (give or take.) Unfortunately, sometimes those teeth become lodged in a way where they can’t erupt.
When canines become impacted, your dentist or orthodontist may call on our oral surgery team to help.
Impacted cuspid treatment involves accessing the tooth and using special appliances to help bring it down into the mouth by exposing the crown (the portion of a tooth you normally see above the gums.) A bracket is usually attached to the side, allowing bands to gently pull the canine down into an anatomically-correct position. You may not actually “see” the full tooth for quite some time, but the orthodontic appliance will gradually move it into place.
Since canines have extremely long roots and are responsible for tearing/ripping foods, an impacted canine can significantly impact your diet and future oral health.
Does your child or teen have an impacted canine? Request a consultation with our Torrance oral surgeons.