Canine Substitution with Missing Lateral Incisors

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What is Canine Substitution with Missing Lateral Incisors?

Tooth loss is a very common condition in both adults and children. Teeth suffer all sorts of trauma, caused by a variety of dental and orthodontic issues. In cases where patients there are congenitally missing maxillary lateral incisors, it is very important to choose a treatment option wisely. Maxillary lateral incisors can oftentimes be missing in the mouth naturally. To treat these, there are three available solutions: canine substitution, a tooth-supported restoration, or a single-tooth implant.

Choosing the best treatment for you will depend on various factors. These include the type of the issue, space considerations, as well as the canine shapes. And while all of the aforementioned treatments are successful, the most popular remains canine substitution.

Today, let’s look into what canine substitution is, why it is necessary and how it’s done.

What Is a Canine Substitution?

A canine substitution is an aesthetic and dental process in which your orthodontist manages the canine teeth to fit your smile.

Canines can be missing in both adults and kids. However, a canine loss can be either natural or achieved by tooth extraction. Canine substitution for adults can be in the form of a single tooth implant, but these are not recommended for younger patients. This is mostly because their teeth are still developing and implants can interfere with the process. Canines are not problematic teeth, unless they are wider than usual. In canine substitution, canines assume the place of the missing lateral incisors and first premolars assume the place of the canines. This senatio is favorable in Class II molar occlusion.

To get a canine substitution, you will need to first see your orthodontist to reposition the canine in the most suitable place. From there, you will also have to see a restorative dentist so he could make a veneer or a crown to go over the canine. The veneer is adjusted in color and shape to match your canines and it achieves a practical, dental and visually beautiful impact.

Is Canine Substitution Suitable for Children?

Yes, as a matter of fact, it is. What’s more, canine substitution is a very successful treatment in children facing a loss of lateral incisors. However, with children, they first have to meet several criteria before undergoing canine substitution.

To learn what matters when it comes to canine substitution, read the detailed considerations below.

The Occlusal Aspect

Here, there are two suitable scenarios to deal with. The first is typically a Class II problem in patients who don’t suffer from mandibular crowding. In these patients, the molars will fall into the Class II malocclusions, but the premolar will be introduced the role of a canine. With this, the premolar will remain in a Class I bond with the lower canine.

The second scenario is a Class I problems, followed by mandibular anterior crowding. In this case, there is an extraction of the premolar in the lower arch.

The Patient Profile

Canine substitution is used in profiles which are flat or mildly convex. If the patient is not suffering from either of these, the treatment can still deliver the desired aesthetic appeal.

Shape and Color

Whatever your canine substitution may be, you will need to match the shape and color with the rest of your teeth. Canines are specific in color, which is why patients often choose their shade together with their orthodontist. In canines, what matters is the CEJ width, which cannot be diminished. If the tooth is wider at the CEJ, it will be much more difficult to make the teeth appear as lateral incisors.

All canines contain plenty of chroma, which determines their yellowish hue. The ideal canine substitution will have less chroma and a smaller shape.

Your Smile

Another important aspect to consider when looking into canine substitution is aesthetics. A smile speaks a thousand words, so making it perfect counts. If your smile line is high, the lip level might expose the canines.

If the lip is high, it will reveal the improper canines and will make the issue more visible. Because of that, if you or your child are missing maxillary lateral incisors, a canine substitution will be a great treatment option. Before any of this is decided, you should do a pre-treatment check up and see if you are a good candidate for canine substitution. An early appointment will also evaluate the treatment time and the expected results.


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What are the Benefits of a Canine Substitution?

As one of the most common treatments of its sort, canine substitution works great for patients of every age. With the treatment come the many benefits of undergoing a canine substitution treatment. One of the biggest benefits the treatment offers is the steadiness and efficiency of the final results.

When it comes to the maxillary lateral incisor, space is key, and a canine substitution can deliver quick and favorable results. As the canine moves, it also repositions the height of your alveolar bone. With this happening, patients avoid other after-treatments, such as wearing retainers or similar orthodontic appliances. Ultimately, this ends in a quick and clean treatment, with no additional hurdles to overcome.

The veneers used in canine substitution are super-thin, which delivers a sense of natural liberation in the mouth. It will only take a very short period of time for you to get used to the veneers and accept them as your own. If you prefer, the veneer can be attached directly onto an anterior tooth. In children, this is a practice that helps prevent long-term treatment following a canine substitution.  The porcelain does not interfere with the health of the other teeth, which is great for preventing additional complications.

Am I a Good Candidate for Canine Substitution?

If you are suffering issues with the lateral incisors, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist for further diagnosis. Your doctor can determine if canine substitution is a good alternative for your case, and if so, will proceed with treatment. However, as teeth age too, it is best to do this treatment sooner in life.

The treatment shows great success in children and adults, but feel free to contact your orthodontist’s office for detailed information and a check-up.

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