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Impacted Canines

Humans have two upper (maxillary) canines and two lower (mandibular) canines. Canine teeth are sometimes referred to as cuspids, fangs, or “eye teeth” because of their direct positioning beneath the eyes. Canine teeth have thicker and more conical roots than incisors and thus have an especially firm connection to the jaw. Canine teeth often have the longest root of all teeth in the human mouth and the last to fully erupt and fall into place; often around age 13.

An impacted tooth essentially means that it is blocked, stuck, or unable to fully erupt and function properly. Third molars (wisdom teeth) most commonly fall victim to impaction, but the upper canine is the second most common tooth to become impacted. Wisdom teeth serve no important function in the mouth and are frequently removed; however, impacted canines are critical to the bite and require treatment for the following reasons:

  • Closing Gaps – Canines are the last of the front teeth to fall into place and therefore close any unsightly gaps between the other upper teeth.
  • First Touch – Canines play a vital role in the “biting” mechanism of the teeth. They touch first when the jaw closes, and guide the other teeth into position.
  • Proper Alignment & Function – Canine teeth are essential to the correct alignment and function of the other teeth on the dental arch. Missing or impacted canines can greatly affect the function and aesthetic appearance of the smile.

What causes canine teeth to become impacted?

There are several main causes for impacted canine teeth:

Extra Teeth – If extra teeth are present, the natural eruption of the canine teeth may be inhibited. The eruption progress of the canine may be directly blocked by an extra tooth or the subsequent overcrowding might leave no room on the dental arch for the canine.

Overcrowding – In some cases, poor alignment of the front teeth can lead to overcrowding. The existing teeth compete for space which means that the canines do not have sufficient room to become functional.

Unusual Growths – On rare occasions, unusual growths on the soft tissue of the gums can restrict the progress of canine teeth, which leads to later impaction.

Early and thorough examination of the teeth can pre-empt problems with impacted canines. It is important for the dentist to document the number teeth present when the patient is around 7 years of age in order to record the presence or absence of canine teeth. The older the patient becomes, the less likely it is that an impacted canine tooth will erupt naturally. If canine teeth are missing or very slow in fully erupting, the dentist can make recommendations for proper treatment.

Oral Examination

The dentist initially conducts a thorough visual examination of the teeth, accompanied by a panorex x-ray and/or individual x-rays. Once the cause of the impaction has been determined, there will be several treatment options available depending upon the age of the patient. The objective is to aid the eruption of the impacted canines, and this can be skillfully done by the dentist, an oral surgeon, or an orthodontist.

What does the treatment of impacted canines involve?

If your mouth is overcrowded for any reason, the dentist may recommend extraction of teeth. The extraction will generally be performed under local anesthetic by an oral surgeon. The un-erupted canine will then be exposed by lifting the gum, and guided into place using a special bracket.

In the case of younger patients, an orthodontic brace may be fitted to create a space on the dental arch for the impacted canine. Surgery for impacted canines usually does not require an overnight stay. Pain medication will be prescribed as necessary, and you’ll be given post treatment advice for your recovery.

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Dear Dr. Muduli ,

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the excellent care and attention given to me during my office visit. I really appreciate your kind consideration and review of my medical condition. The time taken to explain to me the various options and your expert opinion is greatly appreciated. You have demonstrated to me your wisdom and knowledge of the profession. Once again, thanks for helping me and giving me high quality care and attention.

Peter

Dear Dr. Muduli,
I will write to you with warm and sincere thanks for extracting my wisdom teeth. I must say that you exemplify a superior level of professionalism, proficiency and confidence when you work. I was initially very apprehensive at the start of the procedure. However you and your staff were able to relax and provide me reassurance. You performed outstandingly and for that I am very grateful.
Please know that I will proudly recommend you to anyone that I should encounter who may require your services. You exhibit truly iconic poise and are a model to be replicated. Despite this, I do sincerely hope I never have to see you again. Once more, my deepest thanks and best regards.

Christopher

Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity

“The quintessential professional in his field; Dr. Muduli's attention to detail, his superior skill, and unparalleled bedside manner make him a rare find in a competitive and sometimes confusing arena of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. My first experience with his professionalism and skill was when Dr. Muduli's comforting and professional approach put my son at ease while treating him for a difficult procedure to remove significantly impacted wisdom teeth. At the time his practice was local to me. The results were excellent. I was so pleased with how he cared for my son that when I needed extensive maxillofacial treatment I made the trip to his new office 23 miles from my home. A worthwhile trip I would readily do again. Bobby is a health professional I trust with my children and will gladly go out of my way in terms of travel for his services. I highly recommend him.” November 8, 2011

Francis

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