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Impacted Canines

Expose Impacted Teeth to Ensure Proper Function

There are four canine teeth in the mouth—two on either side of the four upper and bottom front teeth. These long, sharp teeth are important for biting and tearing food, and they have thick roots firmly connected to the jaw. If a canine tooth becomes impacted, or stuck beneath the gums, surgical intervention is necessary to expose the tooth and guide it into its place in the dental arch.

At Beacon Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, we treat impacted canine teeth at each of our offices in Gresham, The Dalles, Milwaukie, OR, and Camas, WA. If you have an impacted canine tooth, or have been told that your child has an impacted canine tooth, we encourage you to contact one of our offices to schedule an appointment.

What Causes a Canine Tooth Impaction?

Several factors can cause a tooth to become impacted. If there are extra teeth, a canine tooth may be unable to naturally erupt because it is blocked by another tooth. Poor alignment of the front teeth can lead to overcrowding, which leaves the canine tooth with inadequate space. In some cases, an oral growth or abnormality on the gums can block the tooth.

It is important to attend regular dental checkups with your dentist. At these visits, your dentist takes X-rays and performs exams to detect the presence of any oral health issue, such as an impacted canine. Once detected, your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon for treatment. The earlier an impacted canine tooth is treated, the better the impact on bite, smile, and overall health.

Why Treat an Impacted Tooth?

Leaving an impacted tooth untreated severely threatens overall oral health. If an impacted canine tooth is left untreated, it can push adjacent teeth out of position or cause damage to the point of tooth loss. Cysts or tumors may grow around the impacted tooth, which must be surgically removed. Without the canines to absorb bite impact, other teeth can become damaged as they have to make up for the improperly functioning canines.

Wisdom teeth can also become impacted. These molars are not necessary for proper oral function and dental professionals recommend simply having them extracted. Canine teeth, however, play a critical role in the ability to properly eat and speak, and every effort is made to save these natural teeth. If the canine tooth is unable to properly erupt, we may recommend extraction and replacing the tooth with a dental implant.

Expose and Bond Treatment for an Impacted Canine Tooth

Prior to determining the right course of action, you will meet with one of our oral surgeons at a consultation appointment. We will take 3D scans of your teeth to determine the exact size and location of the canine teeth. As oral surgeons, we offer many anesthesia and sedation options for your comfort during any type of procedure, and we will help you select the right option to ensure your comfort.

An expose and bond procedure involves an oral surgeon exposing the impacted tooth and attaching a bracket to it. Your orthodontist will use braces to help slowly guide the tooth into its proper place. This treatment involves the coordination of your oral surgeon, orthodontist, and dentist to ensure the tooth achieves full functionality and aligns with your other teeth. This procedure takes about one hour to complete, although the full duration of treatment can take several months to a year for the tooth to fully erupt.

In some cases, your oral surgeon may only expose the tooth and allow it to erupt on its own. When a path is made, some canine teeth are able to follow the path into normal eruption. Most cases, however, will require the use of both oral surgery and orthodontics.

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