If your dentist suspects that you may have impacted canines, he will examine your teeth and take x-rays in order to find out how the tooth is lying in the gum. If his investigation confirms that the tooth is impacted, he will have to decide on which surgical procedure to go forward with. He may choose to expose the tooth and then gently push it into the correct position, once space has been created in your jaw. There are a few ways that you dentist can do this
- Expose the tooth and let it continue to push through by itself, after which it can be aligned with braces.
- Expose the tooth and then attach an orthodontic bracket to it so that it is guided into position correctly.
However, if the canine is close to the outer, facial side of the upper jaw, the process will be different:
- He may choose to expose the tooth and reposition your gums, attaching an orthodontic bracket to the tooth so that it is guided into the correct location.
- He may use a closed technique; expose the tooth, attach the bracket and then put your gum back in place. You will still see the wire of the bracket while your tooth is being guided into position.
- Your dentist may create a ‘window’ in the gum to allow him to access the tooth, at which point he will attach an orthodontic bracket to guide the tooth into the correct location.
Depending upon which treatment is used, he may need to place a gum graft over the tooth to replace any gum tissue that is missing.
What are the benefits?
By having your impacted canine exposed and then aligned, the tooth will be placed correctly in the gum and further damage will be prevented. Not only will your appearance be improved but you will be able to bite and chew without discomfort.
Who should consider having this treatment?
Any dental patient with a tooth that does not emerge through the gum may have an impacted tooth. This occurs most of the time with canine teeth. If this is the case, the impacted canine should be treated. Failure to do so may affect teeth nearby and cysts or infections may occur.