Call (610) 435-6161
1251 S. Cedar Crest Blvd. #311
Allentown, PA 18103
Call (610) 435-6161
800 Main St #105
Hellertown, PA 18055

Lehigh Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

(610) 435-6161
1251 S. Cedar Crest Blvd. #311
Allentown, PA 18103
800 Main St #105
Hellertown, PA 18055

Impacted Canines


a young man smiling after his impacted canine surgery at Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
The upper canines commonly called the maxillary cuspids or upper eyeteeth, play an important role in your mouth. These teeth have their unique roles, including tearing foods and guiding your jaw into proper alignment when you bite down. The upper canines are also some of the most common teeth to become impacted, second only to the wisdom teeth. However, where the wisdom teeth are not necessary, you need your canines. If your canines are impacted, Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery can help.

The Importance of Your Canines

While all of your teeth are important, the canines have their unique responsibilities. They are important for some different reasons, including:
•  Guiding your mouth into proper alignment. When you bite down, your canines are the first teeth to touch down, and aid in guiding your mouth, and jaw, into proper alignment.
•  The canines help to keep the rest of your teeth in proper alignment.
•  The adult upper canines are the last of your teeth, aside from the wisdom teeth, to come in, often erupting around the age of 13. When these teeth come in, they complete your smile.

How Do Canines Become Impacted?

The canines can become impacted for many different reasons. Common causes of impacted canines include:
•  Overcrowding. Overcrowding often occurs when the teeth are misaligned. This situation can lead to insufficient space for your adult canines to erupt properly.
•  You have extra teeth present in your upper jaw. Extra teeth can take up the space designated for your upper canines, preventing them from coming in.
•  In rarer cases, growth in the gum tissue can sometimes prevent canines from erupting.

Diagnosing Impacted Canines

Impacted canines can often be predicted in early childhood. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. This evaluation is done to determine, or predict, the presence of orthodontic issues, including impacted canines. X-rays can help. X-ray images can also be helpful in determining the presence of impacted canines in older patients. Once we have diagnosed impacted canines, we are then able to formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

Exposing Impacted Canines

The way that impacted canines are exposed varies based on your specific situation. Younger patients with impacted canines can often be treated without surgery. A special brace can often be used that can help the canines to erupt all on their own. If surgery is needed for younger patients, it is often because tooth extractions are required.

The older you get, the less likely it becomes that the canines will be able to erupt by themselves. If your canines do not erupt on their own, surgery becomes necessary. Small incisions are made in the gum tissue and anything is blocking the canines is removed. A special bracket is then attached to the canines. A chain attached to the bracket is then attached to existing orthodontic work. A rubber band is used to tighten the chain, applying gentle pressure to help coax the canines into alignment. It generally takes about a full year to complete treatment.

Exposing your impacted canines helps to not only improve the functions of your mouth but also improves your oral health and the quality of your smile. Call Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at (610) 435-6161 today to schedule your consultation.

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Allentown Office
1251 S. Cedar Crest Blvd. #311
Allentown, PA 18103

Call (610) 435-6161
Hellertown Office
800 Main St #105
Hellertown, PA 18055

Call (610) 435-6161
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