What is Impacted Canine

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What is Impacted Canine?

If a tooth does not come through the gum correctly, it is considered to be impacted. Wisdom teeth often do not come through at all, while others come partly through. When this happens, it is not just the impacted tooth that is affected, as others can appear different than they should. It is not always the case that there will be treatment if there are no problems being caused, and you should be told of any benefits before you go ahead. Sometimes there can be issues and the teeth will need to be treated as infection and decay could set in. Your dental team should be looking out for this.

Canine Teeth

Each adult should have 4 canines – two upper and two lower – and these are the teeth that look like fangs. We have them for a reason and dentists like to make sure these important teeth are in the correct location. By the time you are 14, any problems with the eruption of canine teeth should have been noticed. There are a number of reasons why the canines do not erupt correctly, and this can be the size of the mouth, soft tissue issues and sometimes when baby teeth are lost early there is loss of space. You will know you have a problem canine if there are gaps around it or it is the reason other teeth are not coming through correctly.


Treatment will depend on the severity of the misplacement as well as the position of other teeth. There are a few options, but often it will be advised that surgery is the best one for you. If you decide against treatment there are a number of scenarios that can unfold.

  • There may not be any problems and you are hardly aware of the impacted tooth.
  • The tooth may continue to try and get out and cause damage to other permanent teeth and their roots.
  • Once the baby canine has gone you could have a gap where the adult one should be.
  • Cysts can appear, and this will damage other permanent teeth.

Sometimes you will be advised that there is no need for surgery.  If you do need treatment, it is likely that an orthodontist will carry it out rather than your normal dentist.

First step will be to make space for it. Some times when there is enough space the tooth come down by itself.

Second step will be a surgery to put a chain on the tooth and to try to bring it into the arch. If the tooth has started to come through, removal may not be needed. There will however be the requirement to wear an appliance for a couple of years to ensure it comes through in the correct position. This may require other teeth to be removed to make room for it, but they will normally be towards the back of the mouth, so will not have such an impact on the smile and appearance of the teeth.

Third step if the tooth does not move will be to extract it. The tooth will be removed and while this will require an operation, there is the chance it can happen under local anesthetic rather than general. Once out, there is the chance to have an implant placed or a bridge constructed to fill the gap. Whatever is decided, there will be an improvement to the problems that were being faced.

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