Peninsula Oral and Facial Surgery is the premier center for interdisciplinary surgical management of complex dental problems in San Mateo and throughout the Peninsula. We accept patient referrals and will work closely with your dentist or orthodontist to ensure that your dental problems are correctly diagnosed and treated to provide ideal long-term outcomes. Impacted canines are an example where an interdisciplinary approach is essential.
Our surgeons can work with your family dentist and orthodontist to ensure that you or your child get effective treatment for impacted canines. Learn more about impacted canines and how our expert surgical team can help your orthodontist guide impacted canines into a healthy position in the mouth for a lifelong smile as part of your orthodontic treatment.
Canine teeth are the “pointy” teeth that should erupt between the front and premolars teeth. They are used for gripping and tearing food. They are also a fundamental component of an aesthetic smile.
For a healthy and beautiful smile, teeth should erupt into and align into their natural positions. Teeth that become “impacted” are stuck, and unable to erupt correctly. Impacted canines (sometimes referred to as K9 teeth) occur when the canine teeth fail to emerge into the mouth.
Impacted canines can cause problems with the alignment and development of other teeth. This could affect occlusion (the way that your teeth come together). This could make it difficult to speak, bite, and chew. A misdirected impacted canine tooth can even damage other healthy adult teeth as it attempts to erupt through one of these adult teeth. This can irreversibly damage other adult teeth.
Impacted canines are often noticed by your family dentist on Xray or when they fail to erupt into the mouth on time. If there is a concern for an impacted canine, a referral will be made to your orthodontist.
Often times your family dentist or orthodontist may only have access to traditional, 2-D X-ray imaging. While this imaging is ideal for screening, it is often limited in guiding a definitive treatment plan. Understanding the position of the impacted canine tooth in 3 space relative to the other developing and erupted adult teeth is paramount to anticipating and avoiding imminent damage to adult teeth and correctly determining treatment options. Fortunately, at Peninsula Oral and Facial Surgery we offer the convenience of in house 3-D X-ray imaging to help your treatment team make the most accurate treatment plan for your unique situation.
If your orthodontists needs additional imaging or feels that the assistance of a surgeon is needed to help access or re-direct one of these canine teeth then we will work with your orthodontist to make sure we can redirect the impacted canine into its correct position. The corrective procedure for impacted canines is interdisciplinary, meaning that there will be a surgical and orthodontic approach to treatment.
You can arrange a referral through your dentist or orthodontist in San Mateo or elsewhere in the Peninsula. If you need assistance or have already been diagnosed with an impacted canine tooth, you can call Peninsula Oral and Facial Surgery to learn more about the treatment and begin treatment planning.
In the following sections, we’ll cover why early detection is important for an impacted canine tooth, and how the treatment is performed.
Early Detection of an Impacted Canine Tooth
The older you are, the more likely it is that an impacted canine tooth will not erupt on its own. This is true even if there is space for it in the dental arch.
Regular dental examinations with your family dentist are important to detect problems like an impacted canine tooth or teeth. When adult teeth start to come through between the ages of 7 and 12, an X-Ray can be taken to identify any problems with tooth development, tooth alignment, or the presence of extra teeth.
If a problem is discovered by your family dentist early, sometimes orthodontics alone is enough to correct the impaction and successfully manage the eruption of an impacted canine tooth. Often an impacted canine tooth becomes “stuck” because there is not enough space in the dental arch. As such the first step when this problem is detected early is often creating additional space for the canine. Sometimes this alone is enough to successful redirect the canine tooth into an appropriate path for normal eruption and surgical management can be avoided.
In older patients where an impacted canine tooth wasn’t discovered, the K9 will likely fuse into position. If this is the case, successfully guiding this tooth into position may be difficult or impossible. When this occurs, the K9 tooth can be removed and other solutions such as substitution with a premolar tooth or replacement of a dental implant can be considered with guidance from your orthodontist on a case by case basis.
However, if the canine tooth remains impacted even after space is created or if it is badly misaligned but your orthodontist still believes it is correctable then they will often enlist the assistance of a surgeon to help them guide the tooth into position.
Erupting Impacted Canine Teeth with Surgery and Orthodontics
If it’s possible to guide the eruption of impacted canine teeth, orthodontic treatment will come first. Your orthodontist will place braces on your teeth. This creates room for impacted canine teeth (or a single tooth) to come through.
When the space is adequate, your orthodontist will refer you to an oral surgeon.
In surgery, the gum covering the impacted tooth will be lifted, exposing the tooth underneath. An orthodontic bracket will be bonded to the tooth and attached to a chain which will be secured to your braces. Once connected, the gum may be closed or left open depending on the exact position of the impacted canine tooth. The specifics for treating impacted canine teeth will depend on your unique case.
After the surgery, you will return to your orthodontist. The chain will allow your orthodontist to carefully guide the tooth into the appropriate position in the dental arch. The chains bonded to K9 teeth can be adjusted with tension on the guide wire to gradually move them into position. Some patients have two impacted canine teeth. The treatment is largely the same for one or two teeth. For two, it is performed on both sides of the mouth.
Orthodontic treatment for K9 teeth usually finalizes the whole process. There are some cases where follow-up surgery will be needed to treat and augment the gums. This can be performed by the surgical team at Peninsula Oral and Facial Surgery.
Oral Surgery for Impacted Canine Teeth in San Mateo and The Peninsula
We accept referrals from family dentists and orthodontists for a range of cases. Peninsula Oral and Facial Surgery is the ideal choice for your or your child seeking the best surgical outcomes when treating impacted canines. The unknowns of management of an impacted canine tooth can be stressful. When detected early, most canine teeth can safely re-directed back into the dental arch to create a healthy smile. These teeth are extremely value to the long term health and esthetics of your smile. If you have questions about your treatment options please give us a call at 650-342-0213 and schedule a consultation.