Impacted teeth are teeth that are unable to move into the mouth. The most commonly impacted teeth are wisdom teeth followed by maxillary (upper) canines. Maxillary canines are the most commonly treated impacted teeth in children. Failures of teeth to erupt (come into the mouth) can be due to an obstruction, genetic changes, and/or head and neck syndromes. Supernumerary teeth (extra teeth) and tumors can cause an obstruction or blockage in the pathway for the tooth to move down to the mouth. Inadequate space can also cause impactions.

Upper incisors are frequently impacted because of trauma or infection of the baby tooth, or early loss of the baby tooth. The follicle is a protective shell for the impacted tooth. The traumatic events can damage the follicle and stop the development and or eruption of the impacted tooth.

Facts about maxillary canines:

  • Upper or Maxillary canines erupt around age 13.
  • They are the last anterior upper tooth to erupt.
  • Impacted Maxillary canines are present in 1% of the general population.
  • Maxillary canine are frequently oriented upside down.

What can cause the impaction of maxillary canines?

  • Not enough space for eruption
  • If you have Peg-shaped or missing maxillary lateral incisors, you are more likely to have impacted canines
  • Retained deciduous (baby) teeth and permanent supernumerary teeth (extra teeth) that are blocking the canines to erupt
  • Palatally inclined teeth (teeth that are facing the roof of the mouth) have difficulty erupting even though there is enough space.

What is expose and bond?

The impacted tooth is exposed through the gum. After finding the tooth, a gold chain is attached with temporary glue. The chain is attached to the bracket or wire. You will have some stitches that are dissolvable. The chain is activated by your orthodontist about 2 weeks after surgery. A rubber band is attached to the gold chain and the wire and the impacted canine is slowly pulled down into the mouth over several months.

Early recognition is important for a successful treatment. If the impaction is not treated at an early age pulling the tooth into the mouth may not be successful. The tooth can be ankylosed or stuck to the bone if treated later on in life. At this point the only option maybe to remove the impacted tooth and filling the space with either a dental implant or a fixed bridge.

Our dental specialists at Dental Implants & Oral Surgery of San Francisco are experts in treating impacted teeth. Please contact us for a consultation.