If the growth path of a tooth is blocked or too narrow, the tooth can become trapped beneath the gums or impacted. The teeth that are most likely to become impacted are wisdom teeth and canine teeth, both of which have very deep roots beneath the gum tissue. Impacted wisdom teeth can be treated by simple extraction because wisdom teeth are not necessary for the rest of your mouth to function. Canine teeth, on the other hand, are crucial for tearing food and guiding the alignment of the rest of your teeth. At our office in Amarillo, treatment for impacted canines involves clearing the growth path and guiding the teeth into alignment, which is usually a joint effort between an oral surgeon and an orthodontist.
Why treat impacted canines early?
Having regular dental exams, even before there are signs of problems, can prevent many of the issues that impacted teeth cause. If impacted teeth go untreated for too long, serious oral health problems can occur:
- Infections. Impacted teeth create pockets in the gums where bad bacteria can grow. These infections can become so serious that additional dental work or even extraction of the infected teeth becomes necessary.
- Permanent Bone Damage. If impacted teeth are left untreated for too long, they will eventually fuse with the bone beneath the gums, becoming permanently trapped in the gums. Once this occurs, extraction is the only option for treatment. Our practice offers dental implants to permanently replace teeth in such cases.
- Pain and Discomfort. The issues caused by impacted teeth can cause serious oral pain and discomfort, as well as difficulty eating and speaking normally. Treating impacted canines as soon as possible is the best way to prevent discomfort for you or your child.
- Tooth Alignment Problems. The canine teeth help to guide the alignment of all the other teeth in the mouth, so if the canines do not grow in normally, it can negatively affect the entire bite and cause alignment problems.
Prevention and Treatment for Impacted Canines
In some cases, it is impossible to prevent a child’s canine teeth from becoming impacted—for example, if there is an irregular growth blocking the tooth’s path or if the baby teeth do not fall out in time for the adult teeth to grow in. In other cases, the teeth surrounding the canines can crowd the growth path, making it impossible for the canines to grow in normally. If crowded or misaligned teeth are caught early enough, an orthodontist can often correct the bite using braces before the canine teeth grow in. Regular dental exams are crucial to detecting tooth alignment issues early. If the canines are already trapped beneath the gums, exposure and bonding treatment may be used to free the canines.
Exposure and Bonding Treatment
The exposure and bonding treatment involves both your oral surgeon and your orthodontist. First, your orthodontist will use braces to make space for the canines to grow in. Next, your oral surgeon will expose the canines by lifting the gums and removing any obstructions in the growth track. The oral surgeon will then attach a small bracket and chain to the newly exposed tooth. After the procedure is over and the surgical sites have healed, your orthodontist will use these chains to gently pull the canines into their natural positions.
Contact our office to schedule a full oral examination and consultation to begin your impacted canine treatment process.