Dr. James McAndrews Dr. Dennis-Duke Yamashita Dr. Ian Woo
10601 Paramount Boulevard
Downey, California 90241
(562) 923-7257

impacted canines

An impacted tooth has been prevented from erupting into its normal functional position by bone, tooth or soft tissue. The maxillary cuspid (upper canine) is the second most common tooth to become impacted, second to impacted third molars, or wisdom teeth. The cuspid tooth is a critical tooth in the dental arch and plays an important role in your “bite” and smile.

The canines, or eye teeth, normally erupt into the mouth between the ages of 11 and 13. They are the last of the front teeth to erupt and are therefore more likely to become impacted. Sometimes, one or both canines develop in the wrong position and become impacted. The majority impact towards the roof of the mouth (palate) behind the front teeth, but some impact on the cheek side.

The key to treating impacted canines is early detection via a clinical and radiographic (x-ray) examination. If canine teeth are missing or very slow in fully erupting, the dentist can make recommendations for proper treatment. The first step of treatment begins with determining what has caused the canines to become impacted, such as extra teeth, lack of space due to crowding, a growth, or in some cases there is a family history. The older the patient becomes, the less likely it is that an impacted canine tooth will erupt naturally. These teeth can become directly fused to the bone or ankylosed. Early diagnosis and referral to the orthodontist and surgeon is vital.

Treatment Options

  • Exposure & bonding of the tooth to bring it into the correct position. This may not be possible if the tooth is in a difficult position or ankylosed.
  • Leave the impacted canine as it is and accept the appearance. There is a small chance that the canine could cause problems in the future by damaging the neighboring teeth or by formation of a cyst.
  • Surgical removal of the impacted tooth.

Your surgeon and/or orthodontist will advise you on the best treatment option.